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Long-Distance GM named

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Trogdor

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Doug Varn has been named General Manager for long-distance services.

He has previously served as chief of product planning, general manager for the Auto Train, and vice president of planning in the old Intercity business unit.
 

MrFSS

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Doug Varn has been named General Manager for long-distance services.

He has previously served as chief of product planning, general manager for the Auto Train, and vice president of planning in the old Intercity business unit.
Robert - is this a good thing for Amtrak LD trains?
 

Steve4031

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The auto train is usually regarded as one of Amtrak's better performers. The big issue for this manager is achieving more uniformity in on onboard service so that there will be a more consistent experience for passengers.
 

BNSFboy

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I wonder what he will do anything different for LD train operation or if the operations will just go on as the past years.
 

Blackwolf

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Does anyone know of the best way to send Mr. Varn a letter? I am looking for a physical mailing address. Somehow, I don't feel 60 Massachusetts is the right one.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Why would it be the wrong address?

Douglas Varn

Amtrak General Manager

Long Distance Services

60 Massachusetts Avenue, NE

Washington, DC 20002
 
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afigg

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Why would it be the wrong address?
The Amtrak press release says Mr. Varn will be based in Chicago. I'm not sure what sending him a letter would accomplish, but why not? Won't be an easy job. If he can improve the cost recovery and overall customer service experience of the LD trains, that would be a big step. Having 130 new single level cars on the way is going to help.

Content of the press release:

WASHINGTON – Amtrak has named Doug Varn to the new position of General Manager, Long Distance Services. He will be based in Chicago and have accountability for safety, customer satisfaction, ridership, on-time performance, and financial results for the Long Distance business line. Mr. Varn is currently chief of product planning and financial analysis for the Amtrak Marketing Department and he began working at Amtrak in 1973. The business line structure is part of the Amtrak Strategic Plan that will help America’s Railroad® focus on performance improvements customers, partners and employees can measure and take pride in. It includes the functions of the Transportation, Mechanical, and Engineering departments within a common business line for the 15 long distance services on a national network of overnight routes ranging in length from 764 to 2,438 miles.

"Doug’s Amtrak professional experience crosses a full range of functional areas, including serving as vice president of planning and finance for the former Intercity business unit," said Vice President of Operations DJ Stadtler. "He will leverage his deep experience to bring operational, financial and organizational excellence to Amtrak long-distance services."

As general manager of the Auto Train, Mr. Varn achieved a break-even financial performance and garnered leading customer satisfaction scores. He will use this experience and work closely with other general managers to lead business planning and implement service improvements and productivity enhancements.
 

haolerider

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Why would it be the wrong address?

Douglas Varn

Amtrak General Manager

Long Distance Services

60 Massachusetts Avenue, NE

Washington, DC 20002
That address will be sufficient, since they will forward it to the new Chicago address. I am sure he is not leaving immediately.

Doug is a seasoned Amtrak veteran, who is a no nonsense achiever. I had the pleasure of working with him on several projects and he will do an outstanding job.....although there will have to be some head-banging along the way!
 
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zephyr17

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Anybody know what he plans to do?
Well, since his entire job is tied to LD services, presumably he is going to try support and improve them...I like this reorg because it provides a management focus on LD, which there has not been in the past.

BTW-Does anyone know if Brian Rosenwald was in the running for this position?
 
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Swadian Hardcore

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Anybody know what he plans to do?
Well, since his entire job is tied to LD services, presumably he is going to try support and improve them...I like this reorg because it provides a management focus on LD, which there has not been in the past.

BTW-Does anyone know if Brian Rosenwald was in the running for this position?
Well, I don't know this guy but I hope he does good. Time will tell.
 

Steve4031

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Having his office is a good start, since some of Amtrak's most inconsistent customer service is on trains originating out of Chicago.
 

Swadian Hardcore

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Having his office is a good start, since some of Amtrak's most inconsistent customer service is on trains originating out of Chicago.
Considering the number of LD trains CHI has, I'm not surprised. Do take note that some train out of CHI don't have CHI service crews. Though in my expierience, most crews on any train at least get their job done, the Crescent was an exception.
 

Steve4031

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Iirc the LSL and swc are the only Chicago trains with crews from other cities. The cz and Texas eagle have Chicago based crews and constantly, there are complaints on here about on board service on these trains. Plus those reports (forgot the name) indicated that customer service was an issue on these trains.
 

Trogdor

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Empire Builder OBS crews (except the Portland section) are Seattle-based.

Lake Shore's Boston section is Chicago based.

Cardinal is New York-based.

I don't recall offhand if the City of New Orleans crews are Chicago- or New Orleans-based.
 

Swadian Hardcore

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Empire Builder OBS crews (except the Portland section) are Seattle-based.

Lake Shore's Boston section is Chicago based.

Cardinal is New York-based.

I don't recall offhand if the City of New Orleans crews are Chicago- or New Orleans-based.
I remember the CONO is CHI-based.

Iirc the LSL and swc are the only Chicago trains with crews from other cities. The cz and Texas eagle have Chicago based crews and constantly, there are complaints on here about on board service on these trains. Plus those reports (forgot the name) indicated that customer service was an issue on these trains.
What's the problem?
 

zephyr17

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Empire Builder OBS crews (except the Portland section) are Seattle-based.

Lake Shore's Boston section is Chicago based.

Cardinal is New York-based.

I don't recall offhand if the City of New Orleans crews are Chicago- or New Orleans-based.
The one time I rode it, the sleeping car attendant said he was based in New Orleans.
 

Swadian Hardcore

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Empire Builder OBS crews (except the Portland section) are Seattle-based.

Lake Shore's Boston section is Chicago based.

Cardinal is New York-based.

I don't recall offhand if the City of New Orleans crews are Chicago- or New Orleans-based.
The one time I rode it, the sleeping car attendant said he was based in New Orleans.
He is?! Not what my attendant said! This is confusing. I thought all attendants for a train would be based from the same station.
 

zephyr17

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Empire Builder OBS crews (except the Portland section) are Seattle-based.

Lake Shore's Boston section is Chicago based.

Cardinal is New York-based.

I don't recall offhand if the City of New Orleans crews are Chicago- or New Orleans-based.
The one time I rode it, the sleeping car attendant said he was based in New Orleans.
He is?! Not what my attendant said! This is confusing. I thought all attendants for a train would be based from the same station.
They do (usually). I could have misunderstood him, as I recall it was in context of him talking about having worked the Crescent (we were discussing working Superliners versus Viewliners).
 

Swadian Hardcore

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Empire Builder OBS crews (except the Portland section) are Seattle-based.

Lake Shore's Boston section is Chicago based.

Cardinal is New York-based.

I don't recall offhand if the City of New Orleans crews are Chicago- or New Orleans-based.
The one time I rode it, the sleeping car attendant said he was based in New Orleans.
He is?! Not what my attendant said! This is confusing. I thought all attendants for a train would be based from the same station.
They do (usually). I could have misunderstood him, as I recall it was in context of him talking about having worked the Crescent (we were discussing working Superliners versus Viewliners).
Hmm, this is interesting.....and confusing.
 

zephyr17

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Empire Builder OBS crews (except the Portland section) are Seattle-based.

Lake Shore's Boston section is Chicago based.

Cardinal is New York-based.

I don't recall offhand if the City of New Orleans crews are Chicago- or New Orleans-based.
The one time I rode it, the sleeping car attendant said he was based in New Orleans.
He is?! Not what my attendant said! This is confusing. I thought all attendants for a train would be based from the same station.
They do (usually). I could have misunderstood him, as I recall it was in context of him talking about having worked the Crescent (we were discussing working Superliners versus Viewliners).
Hmm, this is interesting.....and confusing.
He could have been working out of Chicago at the time of my trip on the CONO, but transferred there from NOL at some point in the past. I didn't go into it that deeply with him. I think I probably assumed he was based out of NOL because he was talking about working the Crescent.
 

Eric S

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FWIW, on one of my CoNO trips in the last few years, one of the crew members made an announcement as we approached NOL saying something like "On behalf of your New Orleans-based crew, welcome to New Orleans, home of the (then-) Super Bowl Champion Saints."
 
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