Not a Good Week for Amtrak.
Criticism Keeps Coming
Andrew Selden is a bonafide authority on passenger rail and his thoughts on Amtrak’s still-rather-new management team are presented in a column featured in the July issue of Railway Age magazine. This is the link. I will not spoil it for you by quoting from Andy’s column. Suffice it to say the title of his column is “No Way to Run a Passenger Railroad” and in the column, the policies of Amtrak president and CEO Richard Anderson are pretty thoroughly criticized.
A “Not Wanted” Poster
Anderson is taking his lumps on Facebook and elsewhere throughout the social media. Also from large sign that has appeared on a building near Philadelphia. I’m told the sign is clearly visible from Amtrak trains passing nearby.
Problems Compounded and Squared
One of the eastbound Zephyr’s locomotives crapped out near Winnemucca, NV, last week and things snowballed from there. The borrowed locomotive helped, but held their speed down. The replacement Amtrak engine arrived when they were sitting on a long stretch of single track; then the engineers “went dead” and there was a long delay in getting a replacement crew; once moving again, they hit a car at a grade crossing. Net result: they were eleven hour late and still several hours from Chicago.
Losing the Faithful
And finally, the cold boxed meals are not sitting well with veteran Amtrak travelers. One such person posted a critical review of his most recent trip aboard the Lake Shore Limited and concluded as follows: “From my first ride in 1953 through this past June 2018, I’ve put in what seems like a million miles by rail, but I won’t be riding many more trains from this point on ─ no long trips anyway.”
Sure seems like he ought to be getting the message by now that he is not welcome here. Mr. Coscia should certainly know that his CEO has been the least favored one since 1971. A no-brainer would be to have a railroad-experienced head of Amtrak and one that has an interest in passenger train service. Seems like many of their upper management only knows and wants travel by air whenever they want to get somewhere and probably have no idea why anyone would want to use Amtrak coast-to-coast. What a crazy way to run a railroad. I hope Anderson’s popularity ratings are further undersored by increasing Congressional pressure. I happened to see on a message board about a week ago that the Philadelphia signs pictured here were covered up! The Amtrak legal team behind it?