What? Another New Amtrak President??

Maybe Washington insiders were aware this was going to happen, but the first reaction to the news that, effective yesterday (December 1st) the Amtrak board of directors has appointed a new president for the railroad. The move came as a surprise, if not a shock.

First reaction: Does this mean that Flynn is out and a new regime is coming in?

Well, no . . . and no.  

It turns out the new guy is Stephen Gardner, who isn’t really a “new guy” at all. He joined Amtrak in 2009 with the title of Senior Executive Vice President, so he has a decade of experience with the railroad.

But wait . . . there’s more! 

Before that, he worked for a Congressional subcommittee with jurisdiction over infrastructure and operations for several specific areas of transportation . . . including railroads. Before that, he actually worked for a couple of railroads.

So we now have a new guy at the top who, unlike his immediate three predecessors, knows Amtrak. Furthermore, he also knows the drill on Capitol Hill. And let us not forget that on January 20 the president of the United States will be “Amtrak Joe” Biden.

The Rail Passengers Association has issued a statement welcoming Gardner. And we can all be sure that RPA President Jim Mathews will be all over Gardner, as a pal of mine is wont to say, like flies on a cow pie.

Me? I’m optimistic . . . but we all need to stay in touch through RPA and be prepared to get on the horn with the members of our Congressional delegations and raise hell if Gardner turns out to be another disappointment.

And we’re good at that.