Thanks, Joe Boardman, and Good Night

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jebr

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The results are in, and Amtrak has increased ridership over the past eight years. Amtrak's operating loss has went down over his tenure as well. A quick search revealed this graph:



I will grant that in FY 2015 the operating loss was $306.5 million, which is higher than FY 2014 but lower than the other years listed. Currently the projected FY2016 operating loss is roughly $250m, which is still a bit higher that 2014 but overall lower (and continuing a decreasing operating loss path.)

He's increased ridership and decreased the subsidy required for Amtrak, all without cutting overall train miles (as far as I'm aware.) I consider that, in and of itself, a fairly big win. The numbers don't lie, and they paint an overall pretty positive picture.
 

JayPea

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All you people just have to spoil a perfectly good irrational rant with all those pesky facts, don't you???? :lol:
 

bmjhagen9426

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He's increased ridership and decreased the subsidy required for Amtrak, all without cutting overall train miles (as far as I'm aware.) I consider that, in and of itself, a fairly big win. The numbers don't lie, and they paint an overall pretty positive picture.
That is correct, as no Amtrak route other than Hoosier State (the Hoosier State name still exists, although Iowa Pacific runs the cars of the Hoosier's cars, depending on how you look at it) was dropped during the Boardman era.
 

AlanB

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My understanding is that the main reason NTD was dropped wasn't the cost, but rather the huge demand on resources. Namely, equipment and Amtrak employees who volunteered for the events.
 

Ryan

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An employee is any business is judged by their RESULTS.
And has been demonstrated here, those results have been positive. Since you've joined here 7 years ago, you've done nothing but whine and complain about increasing costs and predicting that Amtrak is going to chase riders away. Yet over the majority of that time period, we've seen ridership increases. We also still keep on seeing trip reports from you, so despite your claims that the high costs are going to chase you away from Amtrak, you still seem to find your way onto more LD trains.

Rather than going line by line and providing a rebuttal to your comments
Because even you can't argue with the facts.

In closing i will say that I do not judge anyone personally. I just gave a critical opinion on Joe's business performance.
Right. Because "useless unprincipled political hack without a backbone, that never hesitated to lick the boots of the anti-passenger rail group in congress" isn't personal at all. Nope.
If you're going to insult someone personally, at least own up to it, don't cower behind a lame "I didn't mean it personally" excuse. Typical bully, it's easy to talk tough about someone when they're not there to defend themselves, but when someone does stand up for them, all that bravado disappears. If you truly wanted to give a "critical opinion on someones business performance", then do that. Professionally. Without calling them names.
 

jis

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He's increased ridership and decreased the subsidy required for Amtrak, all without cutting overall train miles (as far as I'm aware.) I consider that, in and of itself, a fairly big win. The numbers don't lie, and they paint an overall pretty positive picture.
That is correct, as no Amtrak route other than Hoosier State (the Hoosier State name still exists, although Iowa Pacific runs the cars of the Hoosier's cars, depending on how you look at it) was dropped during the Boardman era.
Since fare collection and operation is still Amtrak's responsibility, and the State has not required it to be removed from Amtrak timetable, arguably, it is still an Amtrak train.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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An employee is any business is judged by their RESULTS.
And has been demonstrated here, those results have been positive. Since you've joined here 7 years ago, you've done nothing but whine and complain about increasing costs and predicting that Amtrak is going to chase riders away. Yet over the majority of that time period, we've seen ridership increases. We also still keep on seeing trip reports from you, so despite your claims that the high costs are going to chase you away from Amtrak, you still seem to find your way onto more LD trains.
I think this once again shows my claim that Amtrak is a monopoly. Service gets worse but people (especially people who like the overall experience of trains so much they spend time on this board) still ride them. Everyone knows my personal complaint about Amtrak but I have never threatened to stop riding. The day I stop riding Amtrak is when I find a better alternative. And what would that alternative be? I don't want to fly and I don't want to drive that long a distance so what other choice do I have? Greyhound? Amtrak really has no incentive to improve your experience whether it comes to more trains, fewer connections, or onboard experience because you don't have any other train choice. I'm never going to be convinced Amtrak is better than a system of companies competing with each other for customers. You can tell me LD travel isn't profitable for private companies but if it was you can't tell me it wouldn't be better if PRR and NYC and IC were still fighting for our dollars. PRR better give you that steak if NYC does. But now? And this is assuming Congress cares if Amtrak is a success.
 

keelhauled

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I think this once again shows my claim that Amtrak is a monopoly. Service gets worse but people (especially people who like the overall experience of trains so much they spend time on this board) still ride them. Everyone knows my personal complaint about Amtrak but I have never threatened to stop riding. The day I stop riding Amtrak is when I find a better alternative. And what would that alternative be? I don't want to fly and I don't want to drive that long a distance so what other choice do I have? Greyhound? Amtrak really has no incentive to improve your experience whether it comes to more trains, fewer connections, or onboard experience because you don't have any other train choice. I'm never going to be convinced Amtrak is better than a system of companies competing with each other for customers. You can tell me LD travel isn't profitable for private companies but if it was you can't tell me it wouldn't be better if PRR and NYC and IC were still fighting for our dollars. PRR better give you that steak if NYC does. But now? And this is assuming Congress cares if Amtrak is a success.
The fact that Amtrak has increased ridership without significantly increasing service seems to me to be fairly conclusive evidence that their product has become more attractive...either by making existing riders more inclined to travel when they previously wouldn't, or more likely by capturing new customers who would otherwise use a different form of transport. Whether Amtrak keeps these new customers is the key, and I think by and large they have, since ridership has not plummeted to early 2000s levels even as gas prices fall and some travelers have apparently returned to driving.
 

Gulfwind2

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Joe Boardman shouldn't be remembered as a CEO who ruined the value of Amtrak's business model by cutting his way to efficiency, nor should he be remembered as a savior of the company's balance sheets or an undisputed champion for passenger rail in DC. Boardman was no Claytor but he also wasn't as ineffective as the likes of "Boxcar George" Warrington. He held the job of CEO for many years and so naturally he had a mixed record, but the general consensus here is that Amtrak is a stronger company today than it was at the time Kummant left (I hear he works overseas now).

Now that Boardman is behind us, and we know that Amtrak has survived another period of hostile attitudes in Congress, let's focus on the new opportunities which have yet to come under the leadership of Wick Moorman. It's important to note that Claytor was a lawyer before his time at Southern, whereas Wick has spent just about his entire working life in a railroad. One thing which will also define some of the changes we might see in the future is that Boardman had no private sector business management experience prior to becoming the federal railroad Administrator, again drawing a contrast with Moorman. But in looking back, let's be grateful that Amtrak has managed to undergo a phase of growth despite more hostilities from the lovely lawmakers *cringe* in DC.
 

zephyr17

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I agree.

I think of Joe Boardman as having fought a rearguard action with some success. He kept what there is of the LD network intact and, despite the "promise" to eliminate food service losses, the diners have pretty much survived though diminished. I do not lay the blame on that promise on Joe Boardman, even though he made it, it was under duress from the likes of Mica and the congresscritters.

He did a decent job playing a bad hand. Yes, he could have done better, but he could also done a lot worse (Downs, Warrington). Given has background and who appointed him, I had really low expectations. As it is, Amtrak survives and is somewhat better financial shape to boot. Not that Amtrak is ever in good financial shape.
 

jis

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The biggest complaint that most people have about Boardman is the alleged neglect of LD trains in favor of Acela. And yet, it is the Acelas that have caused significant ridership and revenue growth and has made it possible to both be able to order the Viewliners and convince the FRA to give RRIF loan to order more Acelas. Remember that in the first round of Acelas it was a Canadian government loan that made it possible and FRA sat that one out, well other than to create an impossible safety standard which took perfectly reasonable train sets and made them into something that is known the world over as "Pigs".

The other biggie is his alleged caving in to Congress and Mica. I have explained the situation before and Thirdrail has tried to do so too. If the choice was between getting LD's defunded vs. taking a hit on food service and keeping the trains rolling, I know which one I would have picked. I distinctly remember those discussions and the stakes were,shall wee say, rather high. That was the atmosphere in which the PRIIA 2009 authorization was negotiated and one of the choices put forth by the Republicans was indeed zeroing out LD funding. So Boardman turned out to be a lightning rod for something that was the best of a horrible situation.
 

neroden

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I think it's worth remembering that under Boardman:

-- Amtrak acquired dispatching control of Poughkeepsie-Albany and Kalamazoo-West Detroit Junction (with the states acquiring the underlying track by long-term lease or purchase);

-- Amtrak opened a new service to Norfolk, and a second frequency to Lynchburg, for an incremental profit;

-- Amtrak refurbished the historic portion of Chicago Union Station and started using it for its intended purpose;

-- Amtrak started taking the ADA seriously, for the first time, and made significant progress in station improvements nationwide.
 

neroden

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I should also mention finally getting the Texas Eagle onto the TRE line.
 

bmjhagen9426

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What about the Chicago Blue Ribbon Panel meant to remove bottlenecks (such as Belt Junction and Grand Crossing)? They were organized and planned under Boardman.
 

neroden

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Well, I'm only giving him credit for things which are actually finished. :unsure: Maybe we'll be able to give him some more credit later if some more of his initiatives finish.
 

George K

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WoodyinNYC

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... don't know enough of the particulars ... found it interesting. Looks like the author is just some random blogger, however.

https://ntbraymer.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/a-less-than-fond-look-back-on-the-last-8-years-of-amtrak/

If you click on his page, you'll find a bunch of articles about Amtrak. I was too tired lazy to read through them all (sounds like a bunch of rants), so take it for what it's worth.
Andrew Selden, well, well. Didn't he used to be part of the United Rail Passengers Alliance? That org seemed to have died, and I assumed that some of its major figures were not doing well at all.

Anyway, struggling to think of a word to describe Andrew Selden, known only from his rants, I kept coming up with sourpuss, but finally hit on provocative. Let's say he can be provocative.

But I also have to say, when he get on the subjects of Joe Boardman and LD trains vs the NEC and other corridor trains, well, how provocative can anyone be with endlessly repeated sourness?
 

Thirdrail7

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His half truths are pretty entertaining. I particularly like how he call Mr. Boardman the America's worst business man...then, according to Mr. Selden, he describes how Mr. Boardman got people to pay for the things that Amtrak should have paid for...so that they may use the moner for other things that Amtrak needs.

That sounds pretty good for me.
 
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