Facebook Page

Friends of Amtrak

Archived News 2002


FRIENDS OF AMTRAK HOME PAGE--For the latest and most recent news on Amtrak and legislation affecting Amtrak please go to the Friends of Amtrak home page. CLICK HERE.

AMTRAK CEO WRITES TO CONGRESS - December 21, 2002. Amtrak President David Gunn wrote to Congressional appropriators on December 16, restating Amtrak's need for $1.2 billion in the current fiscal year, 2003. That's the amount the Senate Appropriations Committee approved, though the House Appropriations Committee approved only $762 million. The Bush Administration approves only of $521 million. Gunn wrote that "there are no easy options to any of us if the funding level falls below $1.2 billion."

For more information see the NARP Hotline.

HOUSE CHAIRMAN OFFERS NOTHING FOR AMTRAK -- December 19, 2002. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Don Young (R-AK) has a plan for the next highway/transit reauthorization -- a six-year bill with the gasoline tax increasing two cents a year (plus inflation indexing) for a likely total of 15 cents by the sixth year. By that time, he envisions a $60 billion a year highway program plus $12 billion for transit (which means a reduced transit share compared with today) As currently envisioned, there would be nothing for intercity passenger rail.

PENNSYLVANIAN WILL BE CUT BACK - December 19, 2002. Amtrak's Pennsylvanian will be cut west of Pittsburgh with the January 27th timetable change, according to news reports. The train will operate as a New York-Pittsburgh service, as it did before being converted to a Philadelphia-Chicago, express-oriented service in 1998. The train was scheduled for the express, but the result was a passenger-unfriendly schedule with unattractive hours and lack of good connections at both endpoints. With express going away, Amtrak had three choices -- which is 1) a New York-Chicago train on a schedule roughly opposite that of the Three Rivers (i.e., running overnight east of Pittsburgh); 2) which is to return the train to a passenger-friendly New York-Pittsburgh pattern; or 3) discontinuance. Amtrak has opted for second choice. It is hoped that Amtrak might consider extending the train to Cleveland or Toledo (where there is space to store the train overnight).

TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION TELLS AIR TRAVELERS NOT TO LOCK CHECKED LUGGAGE - December 19, 2002. As part of the TSA's new bag-screening policy, security agents will sometimes do hand searches of bags that trigger alarms without the owner being present.

The TSA is asking airline passengers to close their bags with the plastic ties typically used to ensure that garbage bags don't spill their contents. Loy estimated the cost of setting up the program nationwide at $2 billion to $2.5 billion.

In cases where suspect luggage is locked, "we'll open it," said TSA Spokesman Brian Turmail. If, in doing so, the bag is damaged, "we are not liable," he said.


Amtrak Guest Rewards members to earn free travel faster than ever

WASHINGTON - Kicking off the third year of Acela Express, Amtrak today launched an exciting "Buy Two, Get One Free" offer for travel on Acela Express and Metroliner services.

Beginning December 2, 2002, Amtrak Guest Rewards members will earn a free roundtrip to any Acela Express destination when they take two qualifying roundtrips (or four one-way tickets) between the cities of Boston, New York, and Washington. Amtrak will provide members with a free, same-class travel certificate, which may be redeemed April 22 through August 28, 2003.

The free travel certificates may be redeemed or transferred to friends or family members. And best of all, there is no limit on the number of certificates travelers may earn. Qualifying travel must be completed by February 28, 2003, aboard Acela Express and Metroliner services only.

"Acela Express is the most comfortable and enjoyable way to travel in the Northeast, and we're delighted to launch our third year of service with this exciting offer," said Barbara J. Richardson, Vice President of Marketing and Sales. "We are very pleased to see more and more people are making Acela Express their travel choice in the Northeast because of the train's superior amenities and comfort."

Acela Express has transformed business travel in the Northeast, developing a strong customer base of travelers who appreciate the trains' onboard amenities: power outlets at every seat, conference tables with seating for four, adjustable head- and footrests, bistro-style café cars offering draught beer on tap, and brightly-lit oversized restrooms.

Acela Express offers convenient downtown-to-downtown service between Boston and New York with nine roundtrips each weekday. Amtrak offers 18 roundtrips each weekday between Washington and New York aboard Acela Express and Metroliner services.

To take advantage of the Buy Two, Get One Free offer, passengers must be enrolled in the Amtrak Guest Rewards program, widely regarded as the most flexible frequent traveler program in the industry. Amtrak Guest Rewards members already earn generous rewards, including free travel on Amtrak, free hotel stays and car rentals, airline miles, and retail gift certificates. Currently, members earn 1,000 points for each qualifying roundtrip taken in Business Class and 1,500 points for travel in First Class.

Becoming a member of Amtrak Guest Rewards is simple, fast and free. Passengers may sign up by logging on to and clicking on "Frequent Travelers." Enrollment applications are also available at most Amtrak stations in the Northeast.

For reservations on Acela Express, Metroliner, or any other Amtrak service, visit or call 1-800-USA-RAIL.

 AMTRAK N E W S   R E L E A S E  - December 2, 2002. LOG ONTO EBAY AND BID TO WIN AMTRAK TRAVEL: Starting bids available up to 95 percent off full fares

WASHINGTON &endash; Amtrak is pleased to announce that rail travel is now available for bidding on eBay ( on routes from coast-to-coast.  As part of a three-month trial, Amtrak will make a limited number of tickets on a variety of routes available for bidding at starting prices that are very affordable.  Some opening bid prices are up to 95 percent off full fares. 

Amtrak's store (, will list all current listings and include a search feature to find auctions for travel to and from many of the 500 destinations served by Amtrak.  Sample deals include travel from Chicago to Detroit, Oakland to Los Angeles, and Lorton, Va. to Sanford, Fla. on board the Auto Train.

"We are thrilled at the opportunity to team up with eBay to offer Amtrak travel through this unique medium," said Barbara J. Richardson, Amtrak's vice president of marketing and sales.  "By offering rail travel through eBay, we hope to persuade travelers who may not be regular Amtrak riders to give the train a try."

Tickets are available for adult coach class, one-way and round-trip travel.  Each listing will include the train route, available travel dates, restrictions, links to schedules, as well as the latest bid on the trip.  An Amtrak customer service representative will contact the winner within three business days after the close of the auction to finalize the travel itinerary and accept payment.  Tickets must be purchased using a credit card, and there is a $4.95 handling charge that includes first-class mail.  Overnight delivery within the U.S. is available for an additional $9 charge.  Amtrak accepts all major credit cards.  Winning bids may be used to purchase additional tickets, if seats are available (contact for details).  Once purchased, a travel itinerary may not be changed.

If an auction includes travel on Amtrak's Auto Train, the offer will include rail and auto fares, but not sleeping accommodations.  Auction tickets are not eligible for upgrade prior to travel or on board trains.  This offer may not be combined with any other discounts or promotions, and winners are not eligible to earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points.  Tickets are non-refundable, and non-transferable. 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM NARP - December 1, 2002. The federal government is funded through January 11 under the latest continuing resolution. It is possible that Ted Stevens (R-AK), incoming chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, C. W. Bill Young (R-FL), his House counterpart, OMB Director Mitch Daniels and President Bush will hammer out an agreement on spending for the rest of Fiscal 2003 in the next few weeks, with enactment possible by late January. (That would mean another short continuing resolution.)

However, Bush, in a meeting last week with Stevens and Young, reportedly "shot down" their request for an additional $10 billion in spending (for the overall government). The Washington Post says Bush's insistence on a $750 billion cap for all 13 appropriations bills means a total of $385 million for the 11 non-military bills that Congress has yet to pass. (The only two regular FY03 appropriations bills that have been enacted--defense and military construction--contain a total of $365.5 billion.)

For now, Amtrak continues to be funded at $1.039 billion, and to maintain that it needs $1.2 billion.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS KILL AMTRAK FUNDING INCREASE - September 27, 2002. All 35 Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee voted to kill an amendment that would have increased funding levels for Amtrak for fiscal year 2003 from $762 million to $1.2 billion. The Senate committee has already approved the $1.2 billion funding measure. The vote on the amendment was 35 - 25 along strict party lines with all Democrats voting in support of Amtrak. The committee did revise a provision in its earlier bill to end service on routes with a per-passenger loss over $200, and replaced it with a $150 million cap on total long-distance operating grants. The newer language does not mention any specific routes but, if left unchanged, will be a crippling blow to long distance rail travel in America. According to NARP, "The fundamental problem is that the House's total funding level--$762 million--will not support the entire system, and Amtrak cannot slim down to a lower grant level by cutting routes."

HOUSE LEGISLATION - From NARP - September 25, 2002. The House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider a fiscal 2003 transportation appropriations bill tomorrow which has only $762 million for Amtrak, $438 million short of Amtrak's $1.2 billion request. That request is the minimum Amtrak needs. Amtrak President David Gunn, who inherited the $1.2 billion figure, has called it too low.

In addition, the House committee takes aim at the six routes the General Accounting Office says lost more than $200 per passenger in 2001. They are:

--Sunset Limited
--Texas Eagle
--Three Rivers
--Southwest Chief
--Kentucky Cardinal

The committee would terminate federal funding for those lines if support above the $200 loss is not received (presumably from states) by July 1, 2003. NARP generally argues that the existing system is so skeletal that removal of any major route eliminates service to entire states and to major cities, and that many fixed costs will simply be shifted to surviving routes, helping set them up as the next targets.

We also urge that Union Pacific not be rewarded for its atrocious handling of the Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited; UP has not earned any Amtrak incentive payments for on-time performance in the past two years.

Because of severance payment requirements, route discontinuances generally do not produce net savings the first year, so these cuts would not help Amtrak deal with an inadequate funding level.

Finally, even if one accepted the concept of a threshold, "subsidy per passenger" is not a logical choice because it does not parallel economic viability. For example, according to figures on page 96 of the final Amtrak Reform Council report, the Southwest Chief has the fifth best operating ratio among long-distance routes. However, because it carries a relatively small number of people relatively long distances, it has the fifth WORST loss per passenger. (Operating ratio is costs divided by revenues; the lower the figure, the better the performance.)

Also, the Southwest Chief and the Three Rivers are linchpins in Amtrak's mail business, which Gunn says is profitable and which he wants to keep.

It is important to note that, although this bill is going straight to full committee -- skipping the usual subcommittee consideration -- the threshold language is the work of Subcommittee Chairman Harold Rogers (R.-Ky.), not Full Committee Chairman C. W. "Bill" Young (R.-Fla.).

Please urge your representative to work for and vote for any amendment aimed at increasing Amtrak's funding, and/or eliminating the $200 threshold. Below are links to two articles about this situation. The Washington Post story includes this: "Political insiders expressed surprise that the Republicans would take such an action before the November elections. The six trains pass through the districts of several key Republicans who are in tight races."

AMTRAK TRAIN DELAYS ON THE UNION PACIFIC RIGHT OF WAY - September 16, 2002. Friends of Amtrak has learned of some rather alarming statistics regarding delays of Amtrak trains on Union Pacific tracks.

In August 2002, UP-attributable delay to Trains 21 and 22 totalled 20,381 minutes, or an approximate average of 339.7 minutes per train; that's an astounding 5.5 hours of UP-attributable delay for each and every Train 21 and 22.

Not to be outdone, the UP delayed Trains 1 and 2 for a total of 10,687 minutes. With the tri-weekly operation, that comes out to approximately 6.9 hours of UP-attributable delays to each UP-handled Train 1 and 2.


Dear Amtrak Co-Workers,

Let me take a moment to tell you the latest on Acela Express.

We have gradually increased the number of trainsets in operation to the point that we have 12 in daily revenue service, where we used to have 15. This means we are covering 40 of the 50 usual Acela departures from Boston, New York and Washington on the weekdays, and most of the other 10 departures are being filled in with Metroliner equipment.

I hope that we'll continue to maintain this level of service, but we'll see how it goes day by day. We are also continuing to work with Bombardier on a permanent fix, and I will let you know of any developments as they happen on that front.

As you could bet, having a lot of these trains out of service in August hurt our revenue. The net impact was that we earned about $9 million less than we would have, had nothing ever happened. Our ridership loss from Acela, as a result of the problems, was about 76,000 for the month. (Our year-to-date ridership is off one-half percent from last year at 21.7 million, and our ticket revenue is up 9 percent at $1.2 billion).

We still have a lot of work to do, but I'm proud of the way everyone, including Bombardier, is working together to get the job done. Thank you.


David L. Gunn


Amtrak passengers will be able to board trains for the first time at the new Rensselaer station on Sunday, Sept. 22, according to a report in the Times Capital District Transportation Authority officials reached a lease agreement with Amtrak that cleared the way for the opening of the $53.1 million facility. CDTA officials had said the train station could be open within two weeks of a signed occupancy agreement with Amtrak.

AMTRAK SECURITY - FROM NARP -- September 11, 2002.

(1) For "homeland security" purposes, Amtrak is considered a federal agency, and--effective yesterday--adopted the same alert scale as the federal government uses. Thus, today, Amtrak is at level 4 "orange; high", up from level 3 "yellow; elevated." [The "highest" alert level is 5 "red".] It is possible that Amtrak (and the federal government) could go back to level 3 as early as sometime tomorrow.

Normally, the Amtrak alert level will be the same as federal government's, but there may be times when a location- or industry-specific threat will result in a difference.

(2) As part of level 4, Amtrak is not accepting checked parcels at New York City...In addition, in order to check bags on a train leaving New York, one must present a ticket valid for travel today, as well as photo ID. This is a temporary restriction.

(3) Amtrak has postponed implementation of random, on-board identification checks. As the Associated Press reported last night in a 7:19 PM Eastern Time story, "Amtrak had announced plans to enforce tighter identification requirements ˜ including random ID checks of passengers on trains ˜ beginning Tuesday. But a spokesman said that plan was announced prematurely and is still under consideration."

[From the same article: Today, Amtrak is putting "additional police officers in train stations and on platforms, spokeswoman Karina Van Veen said. She said other enhanced security measures will not be disclosed to the public."]

--Ross B. Capon,

NARP Executive Director

AMTRAK MOMENT OF SILENCE - September 10, 2002. To all NARP members, September 9, 2002

As a way to remember the terrible suffering caused by the terror attacks a year ago, Amtrak is planning a moment of silence on Wednesday. Amtrak train conductors and station personnel will make an announcement about this shortly before 8:46 am (Eastern), encouraging passengers and station visitors to participate. Locomotive horns also will be sounded just before the moment of silence.

This moment of silence is being planned to coincide with one planned in New York City, at the same time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center last year.


MOST ACELAS GO BACK TO WORK - August 19, 2002.

AMTRAK TO RESTORE MAJORITY OF ACELA EXPRESS SERVICE ON MONDAY WASHINGTON - Amtrak will restore 30 Acela Express departures on Monday, August 19, as federally-approved repairs have been completed on one-half of the18 trainset fleet. On Saturday and today, 11 departures featured Acela Express trains, introduced without public notice to passengers who were expecting slower, regional trains. The trains incurred no problems on their runs.

For Acela Express service on Monday, Amtrak has scheduled 17 departures between Washington and New York out of a standard 32 departures, and 13 departures between New York and Boston out of a standard 18. Together, these 30 departures represent a 60 percent return to a full Acela Express schedule. (On the 15 Acela Express departures not running between and New York and Washington Monday, five of these will be covered with Metroliner equipment.)

On Saturday and today, Amtrak successfully used Acela Express equipment on 11 scheduled regional trains. Passengers enjoyed the premium service while paying lower priced fares. (Passengers purchasing tickets tomorrow for the Monday Acela Express services will pay regular fares.)

The Acela Express trains will be used primarily in peak periods to accommodate the greatest number of passengers. These include (partial schedule):

a.. Southbound from Boston at 6:15 a.m., 8:15 a.m., 3:15 p.m., 4:15, 5:15 p.m.

b.. Northbound from New York at 7:03 a.m., 8:03 a.m., 9:03 a.m., 10:03 a.m., 5:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

c.. Southbound from New York at 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m.

d.. Northbound from Washington at 5:00 a.m., 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

This past weekend's schedule offered 92 departures between Washington and New York to accommodate passengers inconvenienced by the suspension of Acela Express service earlier this week. Hourly service was available on Saturday and Sunday at most major stations throughout the Northeast Corridor.

On Thursday, Amtrak and federal rail safety officials accepted a temporary remedy of the yaw damper bracket problem presented by Bombardier and Alstom, manufacturers of the Acela Express trainsets. Installation of this remedy - a thicker version of the bracket in most cases, or the grinding out of superficial cracks in less serious cases began Friday at Amtrak maintenance facilities in Washington, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.

Passengers are encouraged to check departures by logging onto or calling 1-800-USA-RAIL for further information.


 N E W S   R E L E A S E  
08/15/02 - Update on Acela Express Service  
National Railroad Passenger Corporation
60 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC  20002
Contact: Media Relations, 202 906-3860
August 15, 2002

WASHINGTON &endash; Earlier this morning, after an additional inspection to an Acela Express trainset had been conducted and found cracks not previously detected in the yaw damper bracket, it was decided not to return to service a total of five trainsets as had been planned for today (Thursday). 

Despite this change, Amtrak will continue to accommodate passengers with at-least hourly train departures today during peak periods of the morning and afternoon at most major stations in the Northeast. 

or today, this change reduces by 10 the number of departures between Washington and Boston announced late yesterday, but preserves more than 100 departures throughout the day as previously scheduled. All other services, such as Metroliners and regional trains, will continue to operate throughout the Northeast.   

Today's action is the result of an enhanced inspection protocol that revealed additional cracks on one trainset. The Acela Express fleet is being inspected with that protocol now, while the train's manufacturer, Bombardier-Alstom, reviews its plans for a temporary remedy it was presenting to Amtrak and federal rail safety officials for approval yesterday.  Consequently, no timetable for the full return of  Acela Express service has yet been determined.   

Amtrak will continue to offer passengers who hold Acela Express tickets and who travel instead on Metroliner or other train service a credit for the difference between the fares.  Passengers are encouraged to check departures by logging onto or calling 1-800-USA-RAIL for further information. 

AMTRAK SUSPENDS MOST ACELA EXPRESS SERVICE - August 13, 2002. Amtrak suspended most of its high-speed Acela Express service today so it could inspect the trains for cracks in shock absorbers beneath their locomotive cars. Amtrak found the cracks below three Acela Express locomotives. Two trains that passed the inspection Monday night were expected to be in service, however, spokesman Bill Schulz said.

Inspections were continuing on Amtrak's 13 additional Acela Express trains. "We're bringing as much equipment as we can into service to make up for the shortfall,'' Schulz said.

Amtrak pledged to credit passengers for the difference in ticket prices between Acela Express and the trains they take.

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE APPROVES $1.2 BILLION FOR AMTRAK - July 25, 2002. The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved a Fiscal Year 2003 transportation bill with $1.2 billion for Amtrak, following similar action yesterday by the Subcommittee on Transportation. Floor action is expected after Labor Day. The entire House process, starting with subcommittee markup, also is expected after Labor Day.

SENATE PANEL APPROVES $1.2 BILLION FOR AMTRAK NEXT YEAR - July 25, 2002. The transportation subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday to defy President Bush and provide $1.2 billion for Amtrak next year, more than doubling the amount the White House wants for the financially ailing passenger railroad. Bush has proposed providing $521 million for Amtrak for the federal budget year starting Oct. 1.

But the top Republican on the Committee, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) said that he believes the measure "goes too far in throwing money at Amtrak."

HOUSE APPROVES $205 FOR AMTRAK - July 24, 2002. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed an all encompassing supplemental appropriations bill that will provide $205 million for Amtrak so that the railroad can continue operating through the end of this fiscal year in September. Now the Senate is expected to pass the measure before it is signed by the President.

HOLLINGS WARNS BUSH ADMINISTRATION ON AMTRAK - July 18, 2002. Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC), the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, issued a warning today to the Bush administration to drop its current Amtrak reform plans and work with him on a passenger rail bill already approved by his committee. Hollings fired off the letter to Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta clearly spelling out his intention to obstruct attempts to change Amtrak through different channels.

"Let me be clear, I will resist all efforts to have long-term proposals regarding Amtrak considered as part of the one-year appropriations process," Hollings wrote.

Hollings' bill would provide $4.6 billion annually for the next five years to support current high-speed rail service and development of future corridors. The legislation that also includes $1.3 billion for rail security upgrades was overwhelmingly approved by the Commerce Committee in April.


To all NARP members, July 18, 2002--

(1) The House-Senate conference committee on the supplemental appropriations bill reached final agreement, and the agreement includes $205 million for Amtrak. This reflects in part your efforts to tell legislators that Amtrak is important! Thank you.

(2) The next big hurdle is to secure a $1.2 billion Amtrak appropriation for Fiscal 2003, without (to use the words in the New York Times editorial) "reforms that are impractical in the foreseeable future." Please urge your senators to support and work for that $1.2 billion.

Congressional Quarterly reports that Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) has set a tentative July 23 date to begin considering the FY 2003 Transportation bill. CQ reports that Amtrak and "the controversial Transportation Security Administration" created last fall in the aviation security bill "will be at the top of the agenda." [Incidentally, Secretary Mineta today announced that he had accepted the resignation of John Magaw, the TSA's first head (since January 28)."


To NARP Members--July 12, 2002: The supplemental appropriations bill has passed both houses. The Senate bill included $55 million for Amtrak; the House had nothing.

However, in light of Amtrak's recent funding crisis and a general desire not to increase Amtrak's debt load, a bipartisan consensus in favor of $205 million for Amtrak had developed on the House-Senate conference committee handling the bill.

Today, in an effort to reduce the cost of the bill, the White House asked conferees--in deleting spending--to choose from a list of several items, one of which is $100 million of the Amtrak money. The list apparently was designed to make it hard for members to keep the Amtrak money in; other items on the list included general defense; foreign military financing; Pentagon renovations; $80 million for embassy security; $219 million for the Transportation Security Administration.

You may wish to tell the White House your opinion of this gambit. Something like this (using your own words wherever possible): I strongly favor including $205 million for Amtrak in the supplemental appropriations bill and I understand there is bipartisan support for this among conference committee members. I am appalled that the White House seems to be fighting this effort.

The White House comment phone number (business hours) is 202/456-1111; or e-mail <>.

--Ross B. Capon,

NARP Executive Director

LESS THAN THREE WEEKS LEFT TO FUND AMTRAK - July 10, 2002. The NARP Hotline reports that Congress now has less than three weeks to come up with the $100 million or more needed to keep Amtrak running through this fiscal year (September 30). For more info go to:

Congress can include an emergency grant to Amtrak in a supplemental appropriation bill, H.R. 4775, that is now being considered by a conference committee or it can direct the Secretary of Transportation to provide another loan to Amtrak. The Bush administration's partial loan only kept the trains running through the end of July. The balance of the funds required by Amtrak must now be provided by Congress. Otherwise the United States from becoming the only major industrialized nation in the world without a national passenger railroad.

DOWNEASTER ADDS SERVICE - July 3, 2002. As planned Amtrak's Downeaster, from Boston to Portland, Maine will add Old Orchard Beach, Maine to its schedule of stops July 12. Old Orchard Beach is a seasonal station where trains will stop through Columbus Day and possibly into November, depending on ridership. Southbound trains are scheduled to depart Old Orchard Beach at 6:21 a.m., 9:01 a.m., 2:16 p.m. and 4:16 p.m. Northbound trains will be at 12:01 p.m., 2:23 p.m., 8:38 p.m. and 1:22 a.m.

Transportation Secretary Announces Grant to Amtrak For New York Rail Tunnel Improvements - July 3, 2002.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta and Federal Railroad Administrator Allan Rutter today announced the award of a grant totaling $76,748,000 to Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, to fund improvements to the Amtrak-owned New York City tunnels.
"Securing critical transportation infrastructure is one of President Bush's highest priorities," Secretary Mineta said. "These funds will aid Amtrak in safeguarding their passengers and provide travelers in the greater New York area a significantly enhanced level of safety and security."
New York Gov. George Pataki added, "This funding is an essential step in addressing the pressing fire and life-safety issues in the aging tunnels leading to and from Penn Station. I want to commend Secretary Mineta for recognizing the federal commitment to this issue and for providing funding to enhance the safety and security of these densely traveled tunnels. Although these tunnels are owned by Amtrak, over 300,000 New York and New Jersey commuters use them each day. The federal funds being released today will augment the investment New York has been making to the East River tunnels and I look forward to working with the Secretary to ensure that the federal commitment to these tunnels remains robust."
The grant funds will be used to cover the costs of fire and life safety improvements including: structural rehabilitation; installation of modernized tunnel ventilation and communication systems; and improvements for emergency access and egress. The grant agreement provides for reimbursement to Amtrak of actual costs incurred in making the improvements.
"These enhancements will help ensure the reliability and integrity of these crucial rail gateways to and from the greater New York City area," said Administrator Rutter. "I'm pleased that FRA is able to help Amtrak in achieving these significant safety improvements."
Funding for the grant was authorized through a $100 million appropriation contained in the FY 2002 Department of Defense and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Recovery From and Response to Terrorist Acts on the United States Act. The amount of the grant covers Amtrak's planned capital expenditures on the New York tunnels during the current fiscal year. The remaining $23.25 million will be made available to Amtrak for its tunnel improvement program in FY 2003 through an amendment to the grant agreement announced today.
Source: US DOT

AMTRAK AVERTS SHUTDOWN - FOR NOW - June 30, 2002. After a weeklong series of testimony, hearings, meetings and last minute negotiations, Amtrak has averted a shutdown of the entire passenger rail system. For rail passengers, 60,000 a day on Amtrak alone, this was a nightmare waiting to happen. But the worst is not over and we are far from being out of the woods. The "deal" that was brokered with the White House only provides for half of what Amtrak requested to keep the trains running, and that was in the form of a loan guarantee rather than an outright grant, a loan that will have to be repaid by November 22nd from Amtrak's 2003 FY appropriation. It is also contingent upon an appropriation or loan of another $100 million by Congress. But the last minute action by the White House comes with a price, although CEO David Gunn, backed by his board, stood firm against any deal that would break up the railroad. Gunn is to be commended for his principled resolve in the face of dangerous who-blinks-first political brinksmanship.

Nonetheless, Amtrak supporters must now gear up for a prolonged battle over the railroad's survival. The future battle for Amtrak's survival is tainted by a clearly political and ideological power struggle. Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC) called the near death experience of this past week "a Karl Rove Special" -- a little melodrama staged by the president's political guru so he could say, "We rescued Amtrak." Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) called it "unthinkable" to have Amtrak shutdown. Indeed, at a Senate committee hearing Transportation Secretary Mineta, when pressed by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to spell out the details of how an Amtrak shutdown would be avoided, was at a loss to explain. With administration aides buzzing back and forth into his ear, Mineta gave contradictory statements in testimony.

The major battle will not only be with the administration, which at the last minute backed off it's demand to have Amtrak "restructured" along the lines of the ARC's (Amtrak Reform Council) draconian report, but with some House Republican leaders as well. While Amtrak has always enjoyed a measure of bipartisan support, indeed it's board Chairman, John Robert Smith, hails from the Grand Old Party, the leadership of the House as represented by Dick Armey (R-TX) and Dennis Hastert (R-IL), has taken a hard line approach insisting upon the fantasy that Amtrak become financially self sufficient. The struggle ahead is not the least bit dissimilar from that waged five years ago when the Gingrich led Congress swept into office with promises of cutting back on government spending on everything "from Amtrak to zoos." Somehow they missed AIRLINE and HIGHWAY subsidies in their zeal to cut the budget. It was that Congress that created the ideologically bent Amtrak Reform Council, which despite a few positive recommendations, came to insist on self sufficiency, despite the fact that no passenger railroad in the world has survived without subsidies, let alone all the other forms of transportation in this country. And thus, five years later, we find ourselves in the very same mess facing the same flawed ideology lacking in vision and will.

In exchange for the $100 million loan guarantee that the White House brokered, Amtrak had to agree to about a dozen conditions including no expenditures on any new routes and stricter accounting provisions similar to ones that Amtrak CEO David Gunn had already initiated on his own. And Amtrak board Chairman Smith said the crisis raised public awareness of Amtrak and "forever dispelled the question of Amtrak's relevance to the nation's infrastructure."

The paradox in transportation picture is striking. In the wake of the September 11 attacks our government pumped an immediate $15 million into the "private" airline industry. Amtrak, meanwhile, was told to come up with a plan for its own liquidation. As Stephen B. Goddard, the author of "Getting There, The Epic Struggle Between Road and Rail in the American Century " said, the terrorist attacks have now laid bare America's "soft underbelly of vulnerability in the lack of an integrated transportation system."

What You Can Do

In our support of a balanced national transportation program and a first class passenger rail system that serves the entire country we must be extraordinarily vigilant in the months ahead. As voters and taxpayers, rather than high paid lobbyists, we must call upon our elected representatives both in Washington and at home to exercise leadership in representing a pro-passenger rail agenda. Mayors and Governors throughout the country should be contacted and recontacted in the weeks ahead. They can and will let the pols on Capitol Hill know what the folks back home are saying. Letters can be written to local newpapers. Those who choose to exercise a more active presence should consider mobilizing rail passengers by leafleting railroad stations.

To download the NARP ACTION LEAFLET go to: If you cannot download the leaflet and want some please contact NARP directly and ask for their action leaflets.


The following was conveyed to Amtrak employees nationwide in a special advisory from Amtrak President and CEO David L. Gunn on June 28, 2002.

Dear Amtrak Co-workers:

After much work, we reached a final agreement with the Department of Transportation tonight that resolves our short-term financial problem. As I told you Wednesday when the tentative agreement was reached, we will get an immediate loan of about $100 million and then we will together ask for Congressional action on the balance of what we need.

The conditions I mentioned on Wednesday have all been worked out, and I can assure you that none are onerous. You know I've already committed myself to improved efficiency, better financial accountability and transparency, and monthly financial reporting to Congress and the DOT. I believe that with hard work and your help we will succeed. I'll share the rest of the conditions with you on Monday, when I'll go back to doing what I like best - running the railroad.

As I said the other day, thank you for staying focused on your work and keeping safety as your top priority. 


David L. Gunn


T E S T I M O N Y  

6/20/02 - Testimony of David Gunn Before Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Related Agencies  

The following testimony was given by Amtrak President and CEO David L. Gunn before the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Related Agencies on June 20, 2002.

Madame Chairwoman and members of the Subcommittee, I thank you for the opportunity to appear here today.  My name is David Gunn and I have been Amtrak's President for the past five weeks. I want you to know that when I accepted the position, I did so with both eyes open knowing that the company had some very significant and immediate problems.  The company had lost credibility on many fronts and its management structure was ineffectual.  The company made bad decisions while pursuing an impossible goal of self-sufficiency mandated by Congress.  Despite these problems, Amtrak and the service it provides are well worth saving.  How it has conducted its business over the last few years is something that must be changed immediately if we are to survive.

I have been in one form or another in railroading all my adult life and I firmly believe that rail service and public transit in general must assume a greater role in our lives if we wish to avoid gradual loss of personal mobility.  I have run larger organizations than Amtrak, but I do not recall in nearly 40 years of service taking the reins of a company with such immediate and significant problems.  Let me tell you exactly where we are in getting through the immediate cash flow crisis and then I want to spend a few short moments outlining what I plan to do over the next 12 months.

As many of you know, we have been working since the beginning of the year with our auditors to close the books for 2001 and receive an audit opinion that will allow us to have access to short-term borrowing.  At this time, we have come to closure on Amtrak's FY01 financial statements with the auditors.  However, we have not come to closure with the auditors on a final opinion.  This fact plus the fundamentals of our business means that our ability to obtain a short-term loan is in serious jeopardy.

We are pursuing other options at this time before the company runs out of cash.  Since time is of the essence, we notified the Administration that securing a loan guarantee is the only real option available to us to obtain short-term financing.  On Monday, we took a proposal for a loan guarantee to the Federal Railroad Administration and, since then, we have been working closely with them to hammer out the details of this proposal.  If the Administration were unable, or unwilling, to give us a loan guarantee, then the only other options would be for Congress to direct the Secretary of Transportation to guarantee a loan or, as a last resort, to step in with short-term bridge funding for the balance of the fiscal year.  The window for fixing this problem in this way is short.  Unless we are able to secure access to these funds either through a loan guarantee or another form of funding, I will have no choice but to announce a shutdown of the entire system.  We are in the process of contingency planning and hope that it does not come to that.  However, I have to reinforce that our cash will run out in July and we have but the next few days to find a resolution to this short-term problem.

Senator Murray and members of the Subcommittee, my home is on Cape Breton Island.  I do get the newspapers out of Halifax and Toronto and even with just that source of information, I knew last summer that Amtrak was in deep trouble.  When you have to mortgage your busiest station just to make payroll, you are only a step or two before the precipice.  The announcement in February threatening to cut long-haul services was not based on reality, since Amtrak's problems will not be solved by such an action.

My approach to running Amtrak hinges on the fact that I cannot imagine a country such as ours without a national passenger railroad system.  That means, I would expect that Amtrak will be around for a while.  Second, the basic Amtrak model can and should work.  Third, no passenger system in the world operates without some form of governmental subsidy.  That means that Amtrak will never (a) be profitable, and (b) will always need, just like every other mode of transportation, some form of public investment, or subsidy.  Lastly, no amount of councils, commissions, study groups, panels, or symposiums will find a painless answer to what to do about Amtrak.  Recent proposals to privatize or restructure are exercises in problem avoidance.  The federal government must decide what role rail should play just as it does with highways and air, even waterways.

Now about Amtrak.  I am what most people would call a traditional manager.  I believe in a small technically competent management staff with clear lines of authority and accountability.

Amtrak can be a good operator of rail passenger service.  I have gotten around a bit and have found the employees to be friendly and dedicated, but very concerned about the railroad and their future.  Despite years of equipment and infrastructure maintenance deferral, our employees have persevered.

Unfortunately, the plant and equipment, for the most part, suffers from neglect.  Deferrals of maintenance and elimination of heavy overhauls have resulted in a multitude of problems.  In addition, we have nearly 100 cars and locomotives in wreck repair status, the majority of which are cars used on long distance trains.  With a fleet of 1500 cars, that is about 1 in 15 cars out of service, some of which have been so since the early 1990s.  This will change.

Also, we have begun to reduce the number of consultants on the payroll.  I have never been a fan of using consultants.  My approach has been to build a strong management team that can solve and work through its own problems.

I will streamline the organization and establish clear lines of authority and responsibility.  The first thing I asked for when I arrived were organization charts.  I found we had nearly 85 people with titles of vice-president.  Many of these titles had adjectives like senior, executive, or regional in front of the word vice-president.  This is changing.

I found a budget process not based on the actual needs of the operation and inefficient as a way to enforce discipline throughout the company.   Rather the budget was a document based on unrealistic assumptions regarding revenue and expenses.  There was inadequate control over staffing.  Next year, we will take a different approach by building the budget from the ground up, a zero-based approach.  It will be detailed, based upon authorized positions and planned activities.  If we are going to rebuild track, we will want to know where and when.  You may choose not to fund everything we ask for, but you will know what is needed and what you are funding.

Driving the budget process, we will look at every route and service to improve efficiencies and cost recovery.  Most of our trains lose money and they always will, but we can run them more efficiently.  That is an achievable goal.  Pursuing self-sufficiency was not.  We will share our budget with you and we will report monthly on our progress.

I have found in life that anything worthwhile comes about through realistic goals, dedication, initiative and loyalty, not by wishing it so.  In pursuing Congressionally-mandated self-sufficiency, the company tried too many initiatives simultaneously and pursued an array of financing arrangements to make up for budget shortfalls.  The debt the company now carries is just under $4 billion and is unsustainable. Obviously, we cannot rewrite history.  What we can do is learn from our mistakes, get back to basics, and move forward.  I will return Amtrak to the basics of running a railroad.

Finally, while all of our focus has been to resolve the immediate short-term budget crisis, we have begun to plan for the fiscal year 2003 budget process.  To that end, I cannot emphasize how important it is for Congress to fully fund Amtrak's $1.2 billion request for fiscal year 2003. This level of funding should allow us to begin the work that I have outlined in this testimony and start to rebuild the railroad.  I also believe that during this time period Congress, the Administration and Amtrak will grapple with and hopefully come to closure on some of the larger fundamental issues that we need to resolve about the level of service and the way that it is paid for.  Unless or until that occurs, we will always be living on the edge.  Therefore, I reiterate the importance of our budget request of $1.2 billion for next year and to begin the work to resolve these larger fundamental questions.

It is my hope that you will see significant positive change in the months ahead -- better equipment, investment in infrastructure, a leaner organization and an open straightforward approach. Our budget requests will be transparent, realistic and understandable. We will build a better railroad and leave the politics to you.

I will stop here because I know you have a number of questions you want to ask. Thank you for your attention.

DAVID GUNN'S MESSAGE TO AMTRAK EMPLOYEES - June 21, 2002. Refreshing straight talk from Amtrak's CEO

A Message from Amtrak President David Gunn about Amtrak's Loan Status/June 21, 2002.

Dear Co-Workers,

This is a report on our financial problems. We have not obtained a loan as of this date. We are working very hard on three options:

1: Dept. of Transportation (DOT) loan guarantee.
2: Congressional action authorizing DOT to issue a loan guarantee.
3: A bridge appropriation of $200 million.

Time is running out. When Congress adjourns next week, options two and three will disappear.

You will hear mention of bankruptcy and cessation of service. These are real possibilities. I still believe wisdom will prevail and we will be allowed to operate and put together a FY03 budget. But as I said, time is running out.

It is imperative that Amtrak be perceived as an efficient, cost-conscious company. As I said previously, we are not viewed in that light today, but given a chance we will be.

From the time a Red Cap greets a passenger to the on-board personnel, you all have a role to play. How you treat the passenger is critical. Behind the scenes, giving your best is also important, whether you are doing track inspections, selling tickets in the call center or stations, or working the night shift at Wilmington or at the Bear shops.

We obviously have a lot of friends, but we also have those who think we are a waste of money. How each of us behaves is important. Individuals who do their best are doing their part to preserve Amtrak and our jobs. Non-performers are risking not only their own jobs, but all of our jobs.

I have made a commitment to run an efficient, effective service. I have made a commitment to fight to maintain the existing system. I will not deviate from those principles.

I need and appreciate your help.


Amtrak President David Gunn said he will have no choice but to begin an orderly shutdown of rail passenger service nationwide "in the middle of next week" unless the Bush administration approves a $200 million loan guarantee or Congress is near passage of a direct appropriation or loan guarantee. At the same time, he said, he will take Amtrak into bankruptcy proceedings and place the passenger train corporation's assets under a court-appointed trustee.

Federal Railroad Administrator Alan Rutter said the FRA will be unable to give Gunn an answer on his loan guarantee request before early next week. And Rutter and other administration officials also appeared to be playing hard-ball with Congress over whether to give Amtrak a direct $200 million appropriation as part of a supplemental appropriations bill on homeland security, now making its way through Congress, that President Bush has threatened to veto.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee seemed ready to approve the funding. "The urgency of this is enormous," Gunn told Chairwoman. Patty Murray (D-WA) "We are near the point of no return." Murray said that if the Bush administration fails to ask for enough money to prevent an Amtrak shutdown, "the administration can explain why it would allow intercity rail passenger service to die when many of us in Congress are ready and willing to fund it."

Speaking of the administration's draconian proposals to break up Amtrak, ARC member Gil Carmichael said, "I'm thrilled to death." Longtime Amtrak foe Senator John McCain (R-AZ) praised the Bush administration telling Mineta, "I fully agree that we cannot afford simply to throw billions of additional federal dollars at Amtrak and hope its problems will disappear,"


The following is the preliminary reaction of the National Association of Railroad Passengers to the Bush Administration's "Amtrak plan" as reported in the media:

" Ending operating grants is tantamount to ending all service, because not even the Northeast Corridor breaks even when below-the-rail costs are considered. It is absurd on its face to simultaneously talk of "eliminating federal operating grants" and "putting Amtrak on a sound economic footing."

" The states long have been waiting for the federal government to become a funding partner on capital projects to improve running times on corridors across the country. Had the federal government stepped up to the plate on this issue in a timely fashion, trains today would be running faster and the need for operating grants would be much reduced.

" We strongly oppose any suggestion that states should be solely responsible for funding new high-speed service; such a policy would be a total abdication of federal responsibility.

" Existing Amtrak services merit continuation and the present network should be the foundation for improvement and expansion of intercity passenger rail in the U.S. We see no possibility of state support for the long-distance network. Short term, even in corridor services, we are not optimistic, given states' current financial conditions and the fact that operating grants would largely be payments for the failure of federal policies to date.

" We agree that, because of the huge funding needs (particularly those associated with facilities like the Hudson River tunnels where only about 10% of the passengers are on Amtrak trains), ownership of the Northeast Corridor and other Amtrak infrastructure should be transferred. However, the transfer should be to the Federal government,

" not to some unspecified "partnership" among many states, commuter lines and corridor users. Also, Amtrak should continue to be responsible for dispatching trains and for managing capital investment.

" Clearly, elements of competition could help improve service quality, but in a context of quickly disappearing federal support, it would be next to impossible to secure the requisite cooperation of the freight railroads who own most of the tracks Amtrak uses or the unions who perform the work. Private track ownership sets U.S. passenger rail apart from most foreign nations.

" Amtrak's highly regarded, new President & CEO David L. Gunn should have the time and resources to demonstrate the same "turnaround artist" abilities he has shown at various transit agencies.


Developments on Capitol Hill are happening at such a rapid pace that it is difficult to make any definitive statements given the volatile nature of the political discourse. First off, Amtrak's newly appointed CEO, David Gunn, has let Congress know that he will commence an orderly shutdown of the entire Amtrak system on July 1 if Amtrak does not receive an immediate infusion of $200 million in the form of direct funding, loan guarantees, etc... Gunn has quickly earned a reputation as a straight spoken operative, even winning the praise of Amtrak's most ardent critic, Senator John McCain (R-AZ). The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation will hold a hearing on Amtrak's cash situation today at 1:30 pm.

Meanwhile the Bush administration has endorsed many elements of the Amtrak Reform Council's extreme anti-Amtrak recommendations including a break up of Amtrak. Among the very disturbing recommendations offered by U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta in a speech this morning to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are turning over Amtrak's control over the Northeast Corridor trackage to an unspecified "public partnership", advocating privatized competition in the passenger rail transportation picture by "franchising out" some routes, eliminating all federal operating subsidies, creating a "partnership" of rail providers and users to run the Northeast Corridor, contracting out services such as reservations, food service and equipment maintenance and requiring states to pay an increasing share of passenger train costs.

But the administration has yet to tell Congress what it should do to keep Amtrak afloat and avoid the July 1 shutdown. Mineta made it clear, however, that the White House would NOT support any long term subsidies for Amtrak and that any emergency aid package would have to include significant changes in how the company operates, adding that "reforms" could mean route cuts.

For the text of Mineta's statement go to:

Amtrak CEO David Gunn had this to say, "No amount of councils, commissions, study groups or symposiums will find a painless answer to what to do about Amtrak...Recent proposals to privatize or restructure are exercises in problem avoidance. The federal government must decide what role rail should play just as it does with highways and air, even waterways."

HEARTLAND FLYER IS A GO - June 14, 2002. Oklahoma's Heartland Flyer will continue through May 31, 2004 under a new contract signed by Amtrak and Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, the Kentucky Cardinal again this summer will have no sleeping car. The last trips are Saturday, June 15 from Chicago and Sunday, June 16 from Louisville.


The number of Senate signers of the pro-Amtrak letter to Senate Appropriations leaders is now reached the target number of 51

Below is an updated list

The Capitol Hill switchboard is 202/224-3121; the Senate directory is at <>. The Senate directory has e-mail addresses and web sites (where, in many cases, fax numbers will be listed). Please include your full, regular address whatever means of communication you use. Send thanks and urge your Senator, who may not be on the list, to sign on now!


Excerpts...On Amtrak's Funding Crisis:

DAVID GUNN: Oh, what that is, if you do a cash flow for Amtrak, the revenues minus expenses, we have a negative cash flow for July, August and September. And we need to borrow $200 million in order to sustain operations through the rest of the fiscal year. And that is... and that's not a threat; that's just the way that...

JIM LEHRER: The reality?

DAVID GUNN: The reality of the situation.

JIM LEHRER: Do you have it yet?

DAVID GUNN: No, sir, we don't.

JIM LEHRER: Where are you going to find it?

DAVID GUNN: Well, we're negotiating with banks. We have a credit facility, we've had one and we have borrowed before. But obviously, times are a little tougher right now, and we're trying to get a loan from our bankers.

JIM LEHRER: Well, how serious... how serious is this threat? I mean how...

DAVID GUNN: It's not a threat. This is not a threat. And I guess...

JIM LEHRER: Well, let me -- how serious is the potential reality of Amtrak closing down on July 1?

DAVID GUNN: Well, I alternate between being optimistic and pessimistic. You know it depends on the moment.


DAVID GUNN: But I think we probably have a 50-50 chance of getting the loan.

JIM LEHRER: But you're serious?

DAVID GUNN: I'm dead serious.

JIM LEHRER: ...That if you don't have the money, all the trains are going to stop.

DAVID GUNN: What will happen, if we don't have the cash, is we will have to say we're going to close down and do it in an orderly fashion. I mean that's what'll happen.

On the breakdown of Amtrak's business

JIM LEHRER: All right. How did Amtrak come to this?

DAVID GUNN: Well, this is a result, I think, of... there's two people... or two groups that can accept responsibility for this. One is Congress -- the politicians. They created Amtrak, and they put Amtrak on this fanciful search for self-sufficiency. There's not a rail passenger system in the world that doesn't require government subsidy for some either capital or operating or both. Now, that's the first thing they did. The next thing that happened is management attempted to do what the law required, which was to achieve self-sufficiency. And I think they tried far too long. They should have cried "uncle" request can a long time ago.

JIM LEHRER: And said forget, this isn't possible?

DAVID GUNN: Well, they should have said,"this is going to fail," because what's happened now is we have a company that has run out of cash and that has... it has incurred enormous amounts of debt on its balance sheet. We now have $3.7 billion of debt on our balance sheet. We added $700 million last year alone, last fiscal year. We have undertaken a number of initiatives, which have not proven successful. And so we have... and we've deferred a large amount of maintenance in trying to keep going under this mandate of self-sufficiency.

JIM LEHRER: So you can't... you don't have the power, even you don't have the power to eliminate the mandate, so what are you going to do about it?

On Resolving the financial crisis

DAVID GUNN: Well, I can't eliminate the mandate, but I can clearly tell people what's going to happen. And hopefully, you know, sanity will prevail and the...

JIM LEHRER: Where? Where does it need to prevail?

DAVID GUNN: Well, at this point, it is either... either we convince our bankers to loan us the money, and I think they should, by the way, because we'll be able to pay them back in the fall. I mean we will.

JIM LEHRER: Because you will have brought in enough money through the summertime...

DAVID GUNN: Well, no. We will get next year's appropriation -

JIM LEHRER: Oh, I see.

DAVID GUNN: -- and we can pay them back. So I mean in a sense, it's a sure deal. But the thing that should actually happen is, I think that the administration and Congress should at least, they should... and we've had a lot of support from Congress, actually. We've been getting a lot of support on several appropriations, which would... it wouldn't solve the problem, but it would keep us going for a good period into the next year. And we've had support from a lot of... 160-plus congressman have signed a letter supporting us, 40, almost 50 Senators have signed a letter. The administration so far has been silent in terms of what they want to do with this. But we need, at this point, we... we don't expect them to say that they have a long-term faith in Amtrak in all cases, but at least say they want us to make it into the fall.

JIM LEHRER: All right. Let's say there's somebody watching you right this moment who hasn't been on... lives some place where there are no Amtrak trains. You know, they're mostly on the East Coast and on the West Coast and then about every three days through some place in the middle.

DAVID GUNN: No. A little more frequent.

JIM LEHRER: But basically the middle part of the country, there are not very many trains.

DAVID GUNN: No, that's right.

JIM LEHRER: It's not an integral part of people's transportation lives for the most part in large parts of this country.

DAVID GUNN: Yeah, that's true.

JIM LEHRER: So, why should their tax money go to subsidize the federal...

DAVID GUNN: Well, we provide - we provide an essential service in certain areas. I mean I think if you start on the West Coast, for example, like between Los Angeles and San Diego, we have a fairly frequent service there and move a lot of people. We operate commuter services in that area, for example, a peninsula commuter service. We operate the service to Sacramento, which is a pretty heavy and growing service, and we operate a service in the Northwest, an inner city service from Portland to Seattle, that corridor. We operate three transcontinentals, transcontinental trains, which actually provide... in some areas it is a totally different sort of service, but it does provide mobility to some areas that don't have a lot of options. So you can ask the question: Does... when you go into a small town in Montana, you have a four-lane interstate even though there's only a few people there. Government has a role, I think, to provide mobility generally. But then when you get to the East Coast, I mean if you lose the Northeast corridor, I think all of a sudden Amtrak will mean something to an awful lot of people because we are the dominant carrier between Washington and New York and a big carrier north to Boston. And we operate the commuter service in Boston, the New Jersey transit operates over our tracks and into Penn Station, which we used to own until we mortgaged it to try to stay afloat. Geez, that's another thing they did. But so I mean I think...


DAVID GUNN: I think there's a real role. Plus, the potential is there for rail passenger service, I think.

JIM LEHRER: Is the need there?

DAVID GUNN: Yes. Well, I think... I believe in this thing. I didn't come from Nova Scotia to Washington to... because I...

JIM LEHRER: You were in kind of retirement, right?

DAVID GUNN: Yes, I was.

JIM LEHRER: Not kind of. You were.


JIM LEHRER: Okay. Well, is there... when you look at the long-range... I mean what you call inner city passenger service, particularly the transcontinental, I read something today that they only haul 18 percent of your passengers, but account for 75 percent of your loss?

DAVID GUNN: No. You've got to be very careful. There's a lot of mythology about Amtrak's economics. Everything loses money. In other words, people will say it's the long-distance trains, and if you got rid of them, the corridor would be a profitable company. Not so. The passenger movement or transportation market in the United States is thoroughly subsidized, whether it's highway airlines or rail. And what's happened, like the basic structure of Amtrak is the northeast corridor covers most of its operating costs, the costs of the train crews and maintenance of the cars and so forth, but it does not cover its capital expenses. And we have an enormous deficit in that area. Long distance trains have little capital needs, but they have big operating subsidy.

Proposal to sell Amtrak?

JIM LEHRER: Finally, what do you think of this idea of breaking up Amtrak?

DAVID GUNN: I think it's absolutely... you want to buy it?

JIM LEHRER: No. No. (laughing)

DAVID GUNN: I'm authorized to give you a real good deal.

JIM LEHRER: A real good deal. But that's all right. I'll tell you, I'll get back to you on that.

DAVID GUNN: And I also have a bridge. (laughing)

JIM LEHRER: Okay. No. Is that just really a bad idea, from your point of view?

DAVID GUNN: It makes no sense. What that is, is people who won't... who are avoiding the basic issue, and that is: Do you want passenger rail service? I mean what we should do, and we haven't done a great job of it, is run the most efficient system and network that we can, and then the question is: Look, USAir wants $1 billion just to keep afloat, right, just for operating subsidy. What you have to do is decide: Do you want... how do you want to move passengers in these various markets, particularly the Northeast Corridor.

JIM LEHRER: Mr. Gunn, good luck to you, and if you'll leave your card here, I'll get back to you.

DAVID GUNN: You'll get back to me. Good.

JIM LEHRER: Yes, sir.

DAVID GUNN: I'll give you a good price.

JIM LEHRER: All right. Thank you very much.

SLEEPER RETURNS TO TWILIGHT SHORELINER - June 14, 2002. On June 21 Amtrak's Twilight Shoreliner will see the return of its Viewliner sleeping car. A Viewliner sleeper will be added to the Twilight Shoreliner originating in Boston on June 21, and in Newport News on June 22, Amtrak said. Cars will come from the Kentucky Cardinal. The shift is reportedly being made because sleeping car ridership and revenue are higher on the Twilight Shoreliner.


NARP reports the following: "An effort is underway to increase the number of sponsors for S.1991, the "pro-Amtrak" Amtrak authorization bill passed on a 20-3 vote by the Senate Commerce Committee. The goal is to get Senate floor time. Please contact your senators who have not yet signed on, and urge those who HAVE signed on to ask their leader (Daschle or Lott) to make sure the bill does get floor time. The Capitol Hill switchboard is 202/224-3121; the Senate directory is at <>.

The Senate directory has e-mail addresses and web sites (where, in many cases, fax numbers will be listed). Please include your full, regular address whatever means of communication you use.

Sponsors so far:

Senator Party State

1 Stevens, Ted R AK
2 Boxer, Barbara D CA
3 Feinstein, Dianne D CA
4 Dodd, Christopher J. D CT
5 Lieberman, Joseph I. D CT
6 Biden, Jospeh R. D DE
7 Carper, Tom D DE
8 Cleland, Max D GA
9 Miller, Zell D GA
10 Inouye, Daniel K. D HI
11 Durbin, Richard J. D IL
12 Breaux, John B D LA
13 Kennedy, Edward M. D MA
14 Kerry, John F. D MA
15 Mikulski, Barbara A. D MD
16 Sarbanes, Paul D MD
17 Collins, Susan R ME
18 Snowe, Olympia R ME
19 Dayton, Mark D MN
20 Cochran, Thad R MS
21 Baucus, Max D MT
22 Burns, Conrad R MT
23 Dorgan, Byron L. D ND
24 Nelson, Ben D NE
25 Corzine, Jon D NJ
26 Torricelli, Robert G. D NJ
27 Reid, Harry D NV
28 Clinton, Hillary D NY
29 Schumer, Charles E. D NY
30 Specter, Arlen R PA
31 Chafee, Lincoln R RI
32 Hollings, Ernest F. D SC
33 Hutchinson, Kay Bailey R TX
34 Jeffords, James M. I VT
35 Leahy, Patrick J. D VT
36 Rockefeller, John D. IV D WV

SUPPORT FOR H.R. 2950 - Rail Infrastructure Development and Expansion Act - UPDATED May 20, 2002. This bill is similar to H.R.2329 except that bill allows Amtrak to sell the bonds.

An altered version of this bill was approved by the Railroads Subcommittee on May 8.


AMTRAK CEO TO AMTRAK EMPLOYEES ON REORGANIZATION PLAN - June 10, 2002. The following is a letter from Amtrak CEO David Gunn to Amtrak employees:

A letter on reorganization from Amtrak President David Gunn

Dear Co-workers,

The purpose of this report is to bring you up to date on our plans to return to a traditional railroad structure.

On Thursday, June 6, the Board of Directors approved a significant reorganization of Amtrak. While it is impossible to communicate all the details in a notice such as this, I can give you the basic thrust of the reorganization.

The strategic business units will be abolished over the next few months. There will be four major system, line departments reporting to Chief Operating Officer Stan Bagley. They are:

* Vice President Operations: Responsible for train movement and on-board services, as well as Mail and Express
* Chief Mechanical Officer: Responsible for car and locomotive fleets
* Chief Engineer: Responsible for maintenance and capital projects involving the fixed plant, track, signals, etc., B&B, etc.
* Chief of Police: Responsible for the police and safety

Reporting directly to Mr. Bagley will be several support departments. For example, Operations Planning, which will be responsible for:

* schedules
* car utilization
* consists
* crewing
* capital project scheduling and coordination

The purpose of this reorganization is to streamline decision-making and clearly assign authority and responsibility for various aspects of the company. For example, the following positions currently have responsibility and authority over cars and locomotives:

1 president
1 executive vice president Operations
5 senior vice presidents
2 vice presidents
3 regional vice presidents
1 chief mechanical officer
3 senior directors
Total 16

The new organization will establish the chain of command for cars and locomotives as follows:

1 president
1 chief operating officer
1 chief mechanical officer
1 assistant chief mechanical officer,
1 assistant chief mechanical officer,
Total 5

We also intend to deal with title inflation for a variety of reasons. We have ended up with over 80 people with vice president in their title. Many of these jobs are important, but misnamed. In the future, the title vice president will be used sparingly and with fewer adjectives such as executive, senior, corporate, regional, etc.

As of Friday, June 7, my direct reports are:

* Vice President Business Diversity: Gerri Mason Hall
* Vice President Government Affairs and Policy: Joseph McHugh
* Vice President Human Resources:Lorraine Green
* Vice President Labor Relations: Joseph Bress
* Vice President Marketing and Sales: Barbara Richardson
* Chief Operating Officer: Stan Bagley
* Chief Financial Officer: Arlene Friner
* General Counsel and Corporate Secretary: Alicia Serfaty
* Vice President Planning and Business Development: Vacant

We will post the vacant position for vice president of Planning and Business Development in the near future.

Two individuals who have been in an acting capacity for many months have been appointed: Joe McHugh, vice president of Government Affairs and Policy, and Alicia Serfaty, general counsel and corporate secretary. Both have more than proven their merit. I am proud to eliminate acting from their titles.

A number of non-operating functions will be affected by the above changes. I will give you more details later.

While this reorganization will be far- reaching in its effect, the divisional structures and front line forces will be least affected. Furthermore, the details of the mechanical and engineering departments will unfold once a chief mechanical officer and chief engineer have been appointed.

I know most of you have been through a lot recently, but I firmly believe what we are doing will make sense and will undo some well-intended, but unsuccessful organizational experiments. Furthermore, most of you knew I would make changes, so let's get it over with quickly and get on with rebuilding Amtrak.

Unfortunately, I did not have time to hire consultants to tell us what to do, so we are doing this on our own.

I have no news regarding the loan, which we are seeking. I will keep you advised.


The Senate passed its supplemental appropriations bill with Amtrak's $55 million. The two McCain anti-Amtrak amendments, which were among 15 that McCain had submitted, were never offered. McCain stopped offering amendments after his first few were soundly defeated. Thank you for any effort you put in on this--your work is always helpful because it lets your legislators know the policy outcome you want.
(2) Signatures from senators are being collected for the next week on a letter to Senate appropriations leaders supporting a Fiscal 2003 Amtrak appropriation of $1.2 billion. In addition to the 30 senators named in my May 31 memo, Boxer D-CA, Snowe R-ME and Dorgan D-ND now have signed
(see list below).

--Ross B. Capon

NARP Executive Director

McCAIN INTRODUCES MORE ANTI-AMTRAK FUNDING AMENDMENTS - June 7, 2002. The Senate's most ardent critic of Amtrak, John McCain (R-AZ) has introduced amendments to legislation on Capitol Hill that could cripple Amtrak's chances of survival. McCain submitted his two anti-Amtrak amendments to H.R. 4775, the Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Amendment #3646 would delete Amtrak's $55 million from the bill. Amendment #3652 would givethe Secretary of Transportation the power to determine whether overhauls and wreck repairs qualify as "emergencies." Votes could come today. Phone calls and e-mails are appropriate.

GUNN PROPOSES AMTRAK REORGANIZATION - June 7, 2002. David Gunn, Amtrak's new CEO, has recommended a major reorganization of Amtrak's corporate structure. According to sources the key elements of Gunn's plan include:

AMTRAK COULD FACE IMMINENT SHUTDOWN - June 7, 2002. Amtrak's financial condition is so bad that the national passenger train system will have to shut down in July unless it gets a $200 million loan in the next three weeks, its new president said yesterday.

David Gunn, while expressing optimism that the loan will come through, said any shutdown would involve the whole system -- not just the long-distance trains but "all of them."

Gunn, who has been on the job for three weeks, has basically abandoned former president George Warrington's position that long-distance trains will be halted if Congress fails to appropriate $1.2 billion for Amtrak next fiscal year.

Gunn also said he will propose a massive reorganization of Amtrak management today to the Amtrak board of directors, reducing the number of "vice president" titles in the company from 84 to about 20 and eliminating three business units while concentrating management in Washington in a "traditional railroad structure." As a part of the process, he said he is establishing a policy of total openness on Amtrak's finances, with detailed monthly updates that will be open to the public.

But before he can do anything else, Gunn said, he must deal with a serious cash crunch that threatens an imminent shutdown.

"If we can't borrow $200 million, we can't make it through this fiscal year," Gunn said. "We must have a loan in place by the end of this month."

Meanwhile support for Amtrak has come from one of it's harshest critics. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) wrote to Amtrak's new CEO David Gunn saying that he would ask for a Senate committee hearing on how to avert a shutdown of passenger train service. McCain wrote in a letter to Gunn that he still believes most of Amtrak's routes are run only for political purposes and should be abandoned. But a shutdown of the Northeast Corridor, California routes and some others could be "highly disruptive." This is all fairly amazing in light of the fact that McCain also went up to the Hill to file two anti-Amtrak amendments to pending legislation.

Gunn had told Congress that it should have never required Amtrak to become operationally self-sufficient and that the previous Amtrak management should have never agreed to such a mandate. Gunn presented to the Amtrak board yesterday a massive reorganization that would concentrate management decisions in headquarters in a "traditional" railroad management structure. The number of vice presidential slots would be cut from 84 to about 20.


Dear Amtrak Employees:

During my first few days on the property I've had the opportunity to meet many employees. I've been on trains, in terminals, crew quarters and of course our headquarters. It's clear to me that most of you know that Amtrak faces enormous challenges. You understand the importance of your role in making this railroad run well and serving our customers. You also know that without the proper tools and support your jobs become very difficult.

I believe you have the right to expect straight talk from me. We no longer have the time or the luxury to engage in pleasant but non-specific dialogue. I am committed to a national railroad passenger system, which includes the corridor, commuter and intercity services. I will not participate in the dismemberment of our company. I will fight to keep us whole. I am committed to restoring the existing system to a state of good repair as a first priority. I am committed to an efficient, high-quality service. I will create a lean, competent management, responsive to our funders, you and our passengers. I will ask that all of us review processes, work methods and procedures to increase efficiency. We will not be self-sufficient, but we must increase our cost recovery.

Among the many good wishes that I received from you, one stands out in my mind: a Boston crewman said, "I will pray for you;" not because my personal success is important &emdash; it is Amtrak's future that is at stake. I ask for your support. I will make mistakes. The problems we face are complex. However, my job is to serve you and our passengers. I am committed to that goal. I believe I know how to manage a railroad. I know you know how run a railroad and to provide good service. Together, we can succeed.


David L. Gunn



This bill is known as the National Defense Rail Act - "to establish a national rail passenger transportation system, reauthorize Amtrak, improve security and service on Amtrak, and for other purposes." It is also known as the Amtrak Reauthorization bill.


NEW VIEWLINER SLEEPING CAR ASSIGNMENTS - May 14, 2002. Friends of Amtrak has learned that the current Viewliner sleeping car operating plan is being modified in an effort to earn as much revenue as possible within the new constraints imposed recently by the Auto Train accident. Note the changes below:

The inventories for all of the above trains are scheduled to be adjusted by Tuesday, May 14.

AMTRAK'S SILVER METEOR COLLIDES WITH TRUCK - May 14, 2002. Amtrak 's southbound Silver Meteor train struck a log truck at a crossing this morning, derailing all 10 cars and the engine and injuring 10 people, emergency officials said.

Two people were seriously injured. Most of the injuries involved neck and back problems, with some people complaining of stomach injuries from when the engineer attempted to stop, said Mike Hodges, emergency management director for Jasper County.

The train was traveling from New York to Miami when it derailed at 9:07 a.m. about 35 miles north of Savannah, Ga., said Amtrak spokesman Bill Schulz There were 103 passengers and 10 crew members on board.

The train was going 79 mph when it hit the rear quarter of the truck, separating the bed from the cab, said Cpl. Chuck Wise of the South Carolina Highway Patrol. The driver, who told police he did not see the train, was not injured though he was still in the cab when the train hit.

Wise said the engineer applied the train's emergency brakes, and the train had its lights on and the horn sounding. Although the crossing is surrounded by heavy woods, there is visibility down the tracks, he said.

The accident left logs scattered around the crossing and about a quarter-mile down the tracks where the engine stopped.

AMTRAK BILLS PASS HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE - May 10, 2002. The Railroad Subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has marked up HR 4545, also known as the Amtrak Reauthorization Act of 2002. The bill authorizes Amtrak funding for FY 2003 at a level of $1.2 billion plus an additional $775 million for life-safety and security improvements.

The second bill, H.R. 2950, known as RIDE-21 or the Railroad Infrastructure Development and Expansion Act for the 21st Century, was also marked up by the subcommittee. This bill permits states to sell $12 billion of tax-credit bonds and $12 billion of tax-exempt bonds to finance high-speed rail projections. It also increased the limits on the Railroad Rehabilitation and Infrastructure Finance program to $35 billion of loans outstanding from $3.5 billion.

TWILIGHT SHORELINER LOSES SLEEPERS -- April 30, 2002. Friends of Amtrak has learned that the Twilight Shoreliner, Trains 66/67, will no longer operate with sleeping car service. This change will become effective with Train 67, leaving Boston, on May 19 and with Train 66, departing Newport News, on May 20. The train will operate with reserved coach, business class, and a lounge only. The Viewliner sleepers that operated on this train are being deployed elsewhere, presumably related to the Auto Train wreck.

AMTRAK NAMES NEW PRESIDENT/CEO - April 26, 2002. Amtrak announced today that David L. Gunn has been named the its new President and CEO, replacing George Warrington who indicated in March that he would be resigning. Gunn's appointment becomes effective May 15. Gunn has been an executive of transit systems in New York City, Washington D.C. and Toronto as well as having played key roles at SEPTA in Philadelphia and MBTA in Boston. Before that he began his career at two railroads, Illinois Central Gulf and AT&SF. In a statement, Amtrak Board Chairman John Robert Smith said, "David has built a strong international reputation for investing in track and fleet, enhancing service, improving financial performance, and planning for the future. He has developed solid working relationships with labor, local communities, businesses and all levels of government. Recently, he's come to appreciate the dedication, hard work and commitment of every employee at Amtrak, and the successes that we've enjoyed. Like all of us, David shares a commitment to a strong national passenger rail network."

For the next two and a half weeks, Stan Bagley, executive vice president of Operations, will serve as acting president and CEO.

SERVICE CHANGES DUE TO AUTO TRAIN DERAILMENT -- April 25, 2002. Friends of Amtrak has learned that Amtrak will implement the following service changes due to the derailment of the Auto Train (#52-53) on April 18.

NATIONAL DEFENSE RAIL ACT GETS COMMITTEE APPROVAL - April 20, 2002. By a 20-3 vote, the National Defense Rail Act, S.1991, was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee this week. It was approved in the form of a substitute amendment by the bill's original sponsor, Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC), with a few changes from the original. The newly amended bill provides $515 million for Amtrak security needs (excluding tunnels), protections for rail labor agreements now in effect and a new requirement for route closure standards.

AUTO TRAIN DERAILS KILLING FOUR - April 19, 2002. Train #52, the northbound Auto Train with 40 cars, derailed in northern Florida, killing four and injuring more than 150 others on Thursday, April 18. The accident is under investigation. The tracks are not owned by Amtrak but by CSX. At this time what is being reported is that an inspector for the private railroad, CSX., reportedly inspected the tracks just hours before the accident and found no problems. Investigators are now looking at the wheels of a coal train that passed over the tracks before the Auto Train came through. The Amtrak engineer told the National Transportation Safety Board that he saw the misalignment in the tracks ahead and attempted to stop the train.

Here is the consist for this train:

NEW SAVE AMTRAK WEBSITE - May 17, 2001. There is a new website effort devoted to saving Amtrak. The site has just been posted recently by Amtrak Employees who work the Southwest Chief. Take a look at SaveAmtrak at:


Is Your Representative On This List?

Representatives Houghton (R-NY) and Oberstar (D-MN) have introduced the House version of the High Speed Rail Investment Act. The bill is known as HR 2329. The bill has 189 co-sponsors. The parallel legislation on the Senate side is known as S.250.

The latest to sign on are: Bass, Charles F. - 7/27/2001, Schiff, Adam B. - 7/27/2001, Hoeffel, Joseph M. - 8/2/2001, Kennedy, Patrick J. - 8/2/2001, Neal, Richard E. - 8/2/2001, Clyburn, James E. - 8/2/2001, Crowley, Joseph - 8/2/2001

The complete list of sponsors can be found at:


Rep Acevedo-Vila, Anibal - 6/27/2001

Rep Allen, Thomas H. - 6/27/2001

Rep Andrews, Robert E. - 6/27/2001

Rep Baca, Joe - 6/27/2001

Rep Bachus, Spencer - 6/27/2001

Rep Baird, Brian - 6/27/2001

Rep Baldacci, John Elias - 6/27/2001

Rep Baldwin, Tammy - 6/27/2001

Rep Barcia, James A. - 6/27/2001

Rep Barr, Bob - 7/12/2001

Rep Barrett, Thomas M. - 6/27/2001

Rep Bass, Charles F. - 7/27/2001

Rep Becerra, Xavier - 6/27/2001

Rep Berkley, Shelley - 6/27/2001

Rep Berry, Marion - 6/27/2001

Rep Bishop, Sanford D. Jr. - 6/27/2001

Rep Blagojevich, Rod R. - 6/27/2001

Rep Blumenauer, Earl - 6/27/2001

Rep Boehlert, Sherwood L. - 6/27/2001

Rep Bonior, David E. - 7/12/2001

Rep Borski, Robert A. - 6/27/2001

Rep Boswell, Leonard L. - 6/27/2001

Rep Boucher, Rick - 6/27/2001

Rep Brady, Robert - 6/27/2001

Rep Brown, Corrine - 6/27/2001

Rep Brown, Sherrod - 6/27/2001

Rep Buyer, Steve E. - 6/27/2001

Rep Calvert, Ken - 6/27/2001

Rep Cantor, Eric - 6/27/2001

Rep Capito, Shelley Moore - 9/5/2001

Rep Capps, Lois - 6/27/2001

Rep Capuano, Michael E. - 6/27/2001

Rep Cardin, Benjamin L. - 6/27/2001

Rep Carson, Brad - 6/27/2001

Rep Carson, Julia - 6/27/2001

Rep Castle, Michael N. - 6/27/2001

Rep Chambliss, Saxby - 7/17/2001

Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy - 10/4/2001

Rep Clayton, Eva M. - 7/26/2001

Rep Clement, Bob - 6/27/2001

Rep Clyburn, James E. - 8/2/2001

Rep Conyers, John, Jr. - 9/21/2001

Rep Cooksey, John - 9/14/2001

Rep Costello, Jerry F. - 6/27/2001

Rep Coyne, William J. - 7/20/2001

Rep Crowley, Joseph - 8/2/2001

Rep Cummings, Elijah E. - 6/27/2001

Rep Davis, Danny K. - 6/27/2001

Rep Davis, Susan A. - 7/12/2001

Rep Davis, Tom - 9/5/2001

Rep DeFazio, Peter A. - 6/27/2001

Rep Delahunt, William D. - 7/26/2001

Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. - 6/27/2001

Rep Dicks, Norman D. - 6/27/2001

Rep Dooley, Calvin M. - 6/27/2001

Rep Doyle, Michael F. - 6/27/2001

Rep Dunn, Jennifer - 6/27/2001

Rep Ehlers, Vernon J. - 6/27/2001

Rep Engel, Eliot L. - 7/17/2001

Rep English, Phil - 6/27/2001

Rep Eshoo, Anna G. - 7/12/2001

Rep Etheridge, Bob - 6/27/2001

Rep Evans, Lane - 6/27/2001

Rep Farr, Sam - 6/27/2001

Rep Fattah, Chaka - 7/20/2001

Rep Ferguson, Mike - 6/27/2001

Rep Filner, Bob - 6/27/2001

Rep Foley, Mark - 7/12/2001

Rep Forbes, J. Randy - 6/27/2001

Rep Ford, Harold, Jr. - 6/27/2001

Rep Frank, Barney - 6/27/2001

Rep Frost, Martin - 7/20/2001

Rep Gilman, Benjamin A. - 6/27/2001

Rep Goode, Virgil H., Jr. - 7/26/2001

Rep Goodlatte, Bob - 6/27/2001

Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. - 6/27/2001

Rep Hart, Melissa A. - 9/14/2001

Rep Hilliard, Earl F. - 6/27/2001

Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. - 6/27/2001

Rep Hoeffel, Joseph M. - 8/2/2001

Rep Holden, Tim - 6/27/2001

Rep Holt, Rush D. - 6/27/2001

Rep Honda, Michael M. - 7/17/2001

Rep Hooley, Darlene - 6/27/2001

Rep Horn, Stephen - 6/27/2001

Rep Inslee, Jay - 6/27/2001

Rep Isakson, Johnny - 6/27/2001

Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. - 7/26/2001

Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila - 6/27/2001

Rep Jefferson, William J. - 7/17/2001

Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice - 6/27/2001

Rep Jones, Stephanie Tubbs - 6/27/2001

Rep Kaptur, Marcy - 6/27/2001

Rep Kennedy, Patrick J. - 8/2/2001

Rep Kildee, Dale E. - 6/27/2001

Rep Kilpatrick, Carolyn C. - 6/27/2001

Rep Kind, Ron - 6/28/2001

Rep King, Peter T. - 6/27/2001

Rep Kirk, Mark Steven - 6/27/2001

Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. - 6/27/2001

Rep LaFalce, John J. - 6/27/2001

Rep Lampson, Nick - 6/27/2001

Rep Langevin, James R. - 9/5/2001

Rep Lantos, Tom - 6/27/2001

Rep Larsen, Rick - 6/27/2001

Rep LaTourette, Steve C. - 6/27/2001

Rep Leach, James A. - 9/5/2001

Rep Lee, Barbara - 6/27/2001

Rep Lewis, John - 6/27/2001

Rep Lipinski, William O. - 6/27/2001

Rep Lofgren, Zoe - 7/26/2001

Rep Lowey, Nita M. - 9/21/2001

Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. - 6/27/2001

Rep Manzullo, Donald A. - 7/12/2001

Rep Markey, Edward J. - 6/27/2001

Rep Mascara, Frank - 6/27/2001

Rep Matsui, Robert T. - 6/27/2001

Rep McCarthy, Karen - 6/27/2001

Rep McCollum, Betty - 7/20/2001

Rep McDermott, Jim - 7/17/2001

Rep McGovern, James P. - 6/27/2001

Rep McHugh, John M. - 6/27/2001

Rep McIntyre, Mike - 7/17/2001

Rep McKinney, Cynthia A. - 6/27/2001

Rep McNulty, Michael R. - 6/27/2001

Rep Meehan, Martin T. - 7/17/2001

Rep Meek, Carrie P. - 6/27/2001

Rep Meeks, Gregory W. - 6/27/2001

Rep Menendez, Robert - 6/27/2001

Rep Millender-McDonald, Juanita - 6/27/2001

Rep Miller, George - 6/27/2001

Rep Moran, James P. - 6/27/2001

Rep Morella, Constance A. - 7/26/2001

Rep Nadler, Jerrold - 6/27/2001

Rep Neal, Richard E. - 8/2/2001

Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes - 6/27/2001

Rep Norwood, Charlie - 6/27/2001

Rep Oberstar, James L. - 6/27/2001

Rep Olver, John W. - 9/5/2001

Rep Owens, Major R. - 6/27/2001

Rep Pascrell, Bill, Jr. - 6/27/2001

Rep Payne, Donald M. - 6/27/2001

Rep Pelosi, Nancy - 6/27/2001

Rep Pence, Mike - 10/12/2001

Rep Pickering, Charles (Chip) - 9/5/2001

Rep Platts, Todd Russell - 6/28/2001

Rep Price, David E. - 6/27/2001

Rep Pryce, Deborah - 9/5/2001

Rep Putnam, Adam H. - 7/12/2001

Rep Quinn, Jack - 6/27/2001

Rep Rahall, Nick J., II - 6/27/2001

Rep Rangel, Charles B. - 9/14/2001

Rep Rehberg, Dennis R. - 7/26/2001

Rep Rivers, Lynn N. - 6/27/2001

Rep Rothman, Steve R. - 9/14/2001

Rep Roukema, Marge - 6/27/2001

Rep Rush, Bobby L. - 6/27/2001

Rep Sanders, Bernard - 7/17/2001

Rep Sandlin, Max - 6/27/2001

Rep Sawyer, Tom - 6/27/2001

Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. - 7/26/2001

Rep Schiff, Adam B. - 7/27/2001

Rep Schrock, Edward L. - 6/27/2001

Rep Scott, Robert C. - 6/27/2001

Rep Serrano, Jose E. - 6/27/2001

Rep Shaw, E. Clay, Jr. - 6/28/2001

Rep Shays, Christopher - 6/27/2001

Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh - 6/27/2001

Rep Smith, Adam - 6/27/2001

Rep Smith, Christopher H. - 6/28/2001

Rep Snyder, Vic - 10/17/2001

Rep Sweeney, John E. - 6/27/2001

Rep Tauscher, Ellen O. - 6/27/2001

Rep Thompson, Bennie G. - 7/26/2001

Rep Thurman, Karen L. - 6/27/2001

Rep Tierney, John F. - 7/26/2001

Rep Towns, Edolphus - 6/27/2001

Rep Traficant, James A., Jr. - 9/5/2001

Rep Upton, Fred - 6/27/2001

Rep Velazquez, Nydia M. - 11/1/2001

Rep Visclosky, Peter J. - 10/12/2001

Rep Walsh, James T. - 7/12/2001

Rep Watson, Diane E. - 6/27/2001

Rep Watt, Melvin L. - 7/20/2001

Rep Waxman, Henry A. - 11/8/2001

Rep Weiner, Anthony D. - 7/17/2001

Rep Weller, Jerry - 6/27/2001

Rep Wu, David - 7/26/2001

Rep Wynn, Albert Russell - 7/26/2001

S.250 - NEW HIGH SPEED RAIL BOND BILL NOW HAS 57 SENATE SPONSORS -- April 29, 2001. 57 Senators have now joined on as sponsors of Senator Joseph Biden's (D-DE) new ten year $12 billion rail bond issue bill in the U.S. Senate. The new High Speed Rail Investment Act (HSRIA) is now known as S.250. Please ask your Senators to support this legislation. See the list below of those who are already on board.

The Delaware Democrat had threatened to filibuster a last minute appropriations bill in December when Senator John McCain (R-AZ) objected to the inclusion of a similar bond issue in the closing moments of the last Congressional session (November, 2000). Biden relented when Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) promised to support a similar measure in the next session.

"Every advanced economy in the world today invests more than we do in high-speed inter-city rail service because it makes good economic and environmental sense," Biden told a news conference. Once again stiff opposition is expected from McCain, now chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and others who insist that Amtrak should be self sufficient. But Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), a long time friend supporter of passenger rail service, said that highways and aviation received far greater amounts of support from the public till, noting that "there is not a transportation mode in the United States...that isn't subsidized in some way."

According to NARP, the following Senators really should be on that list below; contact them if they are yours -- Carnahan (D.-MO), Harkin (D.-IA), Lugar (R.-IN), Wyden (D.-OR), Smith (R.-OR), Baucus (D.-MT). Baucus was a cosponsor but withdrew because he reportedly did not want any rail funding dipping into the deep highway fund troughs...why that would be highway robbery!

Sponsors thus far are:

AR - Lincoln (D)
CA - Boxer (D), Feinstein (D)
CT - Dodd (D), Lieberman (D)
DE - Biden (D.), Carper (D)
FL - Graham (D), Nelson (D)
GA - Cleland (D), Miller (D)
HA - Inouye (D), Akaka (D)
IL - Durbin (D)
IN - Bayh (D)
LA - Breaux (D), Landrieu (D)

ME - Snowe (R), Collins (R)
MD - Mikulski (D), Sarbanes (D)
MA - Kennedy (D), Kerry (D)
MI - Levin (D), Stabenow (D)
MN - Wellstone (D), Dayton (D)
MS - Cochran (R), Lott (R)
MT - Burns (R)
NV - Reid (D)
NJ - Corzine (D), Torricelli (D)
NY - Clinton (D), Schumer (D)
NC - Edwards (D), Helms (R)
ND - Dorgan (D)
OH - DeWine (R)
PA - Santorum (R), Specter (R)
RI - Chafee (R), Reed (D)
SC - Hollings (D)
SD - Daschle (D), Johnson (D)
TX - Hutchison (R)
VT - Jeffords (R), Leahy (D)
VA - Warner (R), Allen (R)
WA - Murray (D), Cantwell (D)
WV - Byrd (D), Rockefeller (D)
WI - Feingold (D), Kohl (D) 

AMTRAK WON'T GIVE TRAIN DISCONTINUANCE NOTICE - April 5, 2002. Amtrak has backed off its promise to provide a 180 day advance notice to eliminate train service on a number of routes throughout the country. In February Amtrak indicated that it would, by the end of March, make public a list of about 18 routes that it would have to eliminate if it did not receive adequate federal funding to maintain service. In a release today, however, Amtrak CEO George Warrington said such formal notice is not necessary "in circumstances like this, where train service rests on the availability of federal appropriations.'' Instead, Amtrak sent an update letter about its continuing quest to win $1.2 billion in federal funds for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The letters went to governors of the 46 states Amtrak serves. (see letter below this article)

Amtrak President George Warrington wrote that he is encouraged by the response of lawmakers. However, he added, "uncertainties associated with the legislative process'' mean Amtrak must prepare for the possibility that it will not receive enough money to maintain current service.

He reiterated that 18 long-distance trains are "at high risk.''

Friends of Amtrak has unofficially heard, and this is unconfirmed, that the "high risk" trains would include the following:

Train No. Train Name

1/2 The Sunset Limited
3/4 The Southwest Chief
5/6 The California Zephyr
7/8 The Empire Builder
11/14 The Coast Starlight
19/20 The Crescent
21/22 The Texas Eagle
29/30 The Capitol Limited
40/41 The Three Rivers
43/44 The Pennsylvanian
48/49 The Lakeshore Limited
50/51 The Cardinal
52/53 The Auto Train
58/59 The City of New Orleans
63/64 The Maple Leaf
66/67 The Twilight Shoreliner
68/69 The Adirondack
89/90 The Silver Palm
91/92 The Silver Star
97/98 The Silver Meteor

April 5, 2002

Dear Governor:

On behalf of the Amtrak Board and in the spirit of 49 U.S.C. §24706 which promotes early notice, I am writing to you with an update on Amtrak's situation and the efforts now underway to ensure continued service on Amtrak's entire system, including the service that currently runs through your state.

As you may know, Amtrak is pursuing a federal appropriation of $1.2 billion in FY 2003 to maintain today's system in the coming year. While we are very early in the legislative process, we are encouraged by the support we have received from Members of Congress and from state and local officials throughout the country. In the last few weeks, several pieces of legislation to reauthorize Amtrak have been introduced, including a comprehensive reauthorization and rail development bill sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ernest Hollings (D-SC). This legislation has nearly 30 Senate cosponsors. In addition, the Senate Budget Committee included Amtrak's request in its FY 2003 Budget Resolution which will be considered before the full Senate in April. These are all important steps in the process and reflect support for Amtrak and a national rail passenger system.

That said, the uncertainties associated with the legislative process mean that Amtrak must prepare for the possibility that it will not receive an appropriation sufficient to keep all current services in place. As a corporation, we cannot rely on an uncertain outcome. While Amtrak could not be more committed to a national passenger rail system, if funding falls below Amtrak's budget, it is likely that certain trains will be discontinued. Of course some trains require more direct subsidy than others. Eighteen of these already have been identified as being at high risk and, depending on the level of appropriation, other routes, services or programs are also at risk. I would like to make it very clear that no final decisions about Amtrak services in FY 2003 have been made at this time. Amtrak intends to make decisions after the federal appropriations process has been concluded this fall.

I want to assure you that we are working very hard to secure the funding that is needed to maintain our current services. I also want you to know that we will provide as much notice as possible of route cancellations, should these be required at the conclusion of that process. As you may know, in circumstances like this where train service rests on the availability of federal appropriations, the law does not require Amtrak to provide the customary 180-day cancellation notice, and indeed it would not be feasible to provide notice as to specific routes until Congress takes action. However, in the spirit of the law, we felt it was important on February 1 and again today to explain Amtrak's financial circumstances and the choices we may face, and to assure you that Amtrak will work closely with you in the important months ahead.

If you have any questions about this or Amtrak's services in general, please contact Joe McHugh, Amtrak's Acting Corporate Vice President &endash; Government Affairs at 202-906-3918.


George D. Warrington

President and Chief Executive Officer

cc: Secretary, [name of state] Department of Transportation


Update on business actions

In early February, it was announced that Amtrak would take a number of actions to maintain our business and to keep the company in a stable position through the end of the fiscal year. At the same time, it was also announced that Amtrak would seek a federal appropriation of $1.2 billion for the coming fiscal year, which begins in October. The appropriation would allow us to continue to maintain our entire network.

This Employee Advisory provides an update of the February announcements and business actions.

Today, Amtrak sent a letter to the governors of the 46 states it serves, providing an update on current efforts to ensure continued service throughout the national network. The letter noted the encouraging support for Amtrak's full appropriation in FY 2003, including its inclusion in the Budget Resolution to be considered by the U.S. Senate later this month.

However, the uncertainty of the legislative process means that Amtrak must be ready in the event that an insufficient FY 2003 appropriation makes it impossible to maintain all current services. If funding falls short, Amtrak will be faced with difficult decisions, and it is likely that certain trains will be discontinued.

The letter notes that while 18 trains have been identified as being a high risk, other routes, services or programs are also at risk. Importantly, however, no decisions have been made at this time about Amtrak services in FY 2003, and will not be made until the appropriations process has been concluded in the fall.

In this circumstance&endash;where train service depends on the availability of federal appropriations&endash;Amtrak is not required to provide the usual 180 days notice. But, in the spirit of the law that promotes early notice, Amtrak is advising the governors and others of its financial circumstances and the choices we may face.

Among the business plan actions that were announced in February, there will be a deferral of about $175 million in capital investments and operating expense cuts of $110 million. As was first reported in February, reducing expenses has unfortunately required the company to reduce its 24,600-position workforce by about 1,000 positions&endash;10 percent of management employees and 3 percent of agreement-covered employees Already, approximately 100 management positions and 700 agreement-covered positions have been eliminated throughout the system.

Today, an additional 200 management positions were eliminated across the entire company, completing the management reductions that were previously announced.

It has been and remains the responsibility of managers to handle this effort with care and sensitivity toward those whose positions are being eliminated, and the obligation of co-workers to be equally sensitive to the situation.

The Employee Advisory will continue to provide regular updates on this issue and other developments.


The Amtrak's "Missouri Mules" and "Ann Rutledge" that serve many towns between Kansas City and Saint Louis may quit running as early as May.

Apparently there is no funding at the State level left for State funded passenger rail service. Not surprisingly rebuilding and widening Interstate 70 is projected to cost $3 billion. That could run the $6 million a year Missouri Corridor trains-a mere 2% of the I-70 project-for 500 years.

We in Missouri are about to lose our long distance trains too...The Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle and City of New Orleans.

Fortunately, there is something we can do to help keep the trains running in Missouri:

The Missourians for Rail Passenger Service have a petition drive calling for a Constitutional Amendment to create a permanent dedicated source of funding for passenger rail. It will be placed on the ballot in November 2002 and calls for a one tenth of a percent sales tax on motor vehicle FUEL. This would generate a maximum of $5 millions to keep rail service, Missouri jobs and possibly extend to Rolla, Springfield, and Branson. The cost to the average driver will be $1/year.

Our campaign has been endorsed by the Cities of Aurora. Monett, Reeds Springs, Crane, the Chambers of Commerce of Aurora, Monett, Crane, Rolla, Lebanon, Unit 95 National Association of Retired & Veteran Railroad Employees, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employee Union, the Citizens for Kansas City Light Rail & Union Station Transit and Rail Hub. The Speaker of the House of Representatives Jim Kreider D-Nixa said the idea is valid. Also Michael Dukakis, an Amtrak Director supports our efforts.

We have until May 1st to obtain the 120,000 signatures statewide from voters. We need all the help we can get or we may have soon to kiss our trains goodbye.

To obtain a petition form, mail a double-stamped self-stamped business size envelope to:

Missourians for Rail Passenger Service,
P.O. Box 581
Springfield, MO 65801

Also, any donation check, money order or book of stamps is welcome and will help with the cost of the final delivery.

-Michel Seignette de Kerobert, K.C. Regional Office. The Missourians for Rail Passenger Service.

Check the web-site at

DOWNEASTER RIDERSHIP EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS - March 18, 2002. Amtrak's Downeaster (Boston to Portland, ME) has exceeded ridership expectations for the third month in a row. In February, 25,824 passengers road the train during what was supposed to be a sluggish month for train travel, said Michael Murray, executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority.

It's becoming clear with each passing month that the Portland-to-Boston service launched on Dec. 15 will meet or exceed its goal of 325,000 passengers during the first year, Murray said.

TEXAS EAGLE RIDERSHIP CONTINUES TO SOAR - March 18, 2002. The Texas Eagle route, from Chicago to San Antonio, had a 7 percent increase in riders in February compared with last year. Revenues last month compared with February 2001 were up 6.5 percent.

Besides topping last year's actual numbers, he said revenues beat the Texas Eagle's budget last month by 11.5 percent, while ridership was 10 percent above budgeted expectations.

Amtrak's Thruway Bus Service, tying the Longview depot to Shreveport, Lufkin, Houston and Galveston, also continued to perform well, Hubbard said.

SOURCE: Longview News Journal

For more info on the TX EAGLE check out:

HOLLINGS CRITICIZES WHITE HOUSE ON AMTRAK - March 18, 2002. Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC), the architect of legislation that would dramatically increase federal funding of Amtrak, has criticized the Bush administration for offering no concrete opinions about the future of the passenger railroad.

"What do you all want to do?" Hollings asked Deputy Transportation Secretary Michael Jackson, after Jackson presented the Senate Commerce Committee with 10 questions on the future of passenger rail. When Jackson said the administration looks forward to a dialogue with Congress, Hollings - the committee's chairman - interjected, "This isn't foreign policy. We don't want to get into a dialogue. We want to make decisions."

Twenty-five senators have signed on to Hollings' bill, the most comprehensive and Amtrak-friendly of several passenger rail proposals.

The bill would spend $4.6 billion a year for the next five years on Amtrak operations, renovations to Amtrak-owned tracks in the Northeast and development of new high-speed corridors around the country. It also would provide a one-time infusion of $1.3 billion for safety and security improvements, mostly in the Northeast.

"We've been limping along, fixing a broken system," Hollings said. "This is an entirely new endeavor."

AMTRAK CEO WILL RESIGN - March 6, 2002. Amtrak President George Warrington is resigning to become head of New Jersey's bus and rail agency, NJ Transit. Warrington will stay on at Amtrak until an interim successor is named.

HOLLINGS BILL WOULD SAVE AMTRAK - March 6, 2002. A bill introduced by Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC) would provide $1.3 billion in funding for Amtrak capital and $35 billion in financing guarantees for development of high-speed rail throughout the United States. The money would keep the nation's only long-distance passenger railroad operating for another year at least, averting threatened route closures. The bill would make Amtrak reinvest money from its profitable Northeast Corridor service between Washington and Boston to help meet that line's capital expenses. "This legislation will give Amtrak the tools and funding to create a modern, efficient passenger railroad," Hollings said.

SENATORS SEEK $1.2 BILLION FOR AMTRAK -- A letter signed by 21 United States Senators urges their colleagues to pass legislation appropriating $1.2 billion for Amtrak in the FY 2003 budget. The letter was sent to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) and includes the following signatories:

CA: Feinstein (D.), Boxer (D.)
DE: Biden (D.), Carper (D.)
GA: Cleland (D.)
IL: Durbin (D.)
MD: Mikulski (D.), Sarbanes (D.)
MA: Kennedy (D.), Kerry (D.)
NV: Reid (D.)
NJ: Torricelli (D.), Corzine (D.)
NY: Schumer (D.), Clinton (D.)
ND: Dorgan (D.)
PA: Specter (R.)
SC: Hollings (D.)
VT: Leahy (D.), Jeffords (I.)
WV: Rockefeller (D.)

McCAIN SAYS ABOLISH AMTRAK - February 15, 2002. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) says that the federal government should abolish Amtrak. McCain, long a leading Amtrak critic, has now introduced legislation that would direct the Federal Railroad Administration to begin franchising rail routes to companies that meet certain safety and liability requirements. Under the McCain plan, Amtrak would be broken up into an operations unit, a maintenance unit and a rail reservation unit. Each would be turned over to the private sector within four years.

The McCain bill also would create an Amtrak Control Board to oversee the restructuring and eventual privatization.

Many of McCain's recommendations are in line with those of the Amtrak Reform Council. And it's no wonder. The council is made up of "reformers" hand picked by McCain who has long sought Amtrak's dissolution.



BUSH REPORTEDLY BACKS ARC / PROPOSAL WILL INCLUDE PRIVATIZATION -- February 4, 2002. According to press reports the Bush administration will propose an overhaul of Amtrak "through a partnership between federal and state governments and the private sector." This approach is similar to a plan that will be submitted to Congress by the Amtrak Reform Council (ARC). If true, this would be the first step that any administration has taken to dismantle the national passenger rail system. The President's budget plan will include $521 million for Amtrak for the next fiscal year.

CALL THE WHITE HOUSE - 202-456-1414



AMTRAK ANNOUNCES $285 MILLION IN CUTS AND FEDERAL APPROPRIATIONS REQUEST OF $1.2 BILLION - February 1, 2002. Washington &emdash; Facing long-standing problems with its federal policy framework and recent events that have posed new financial challenges, Amtrak today announced a $285 million package of spending cuts and capital investment deferrals and warned that it may be forced to suspend all of its money-losing routes in October. 

"Everyone knows that you can't make a profit while running a network of unprofitable trains, but that is exactly what we're expected to do," said Amtrak President and CEO George D. Warrington.  "On top of that, several recent events &emdash; including the recession, September 11 and the Amtrak Reform Council decision &emdash; have created new uncertainties in our business.  The business actions we are taking today are intended to protect our operations and financial partners from existing political uncertainty. The time has come for Congress and the Administration to put passenger rail on a solid foundation for the future."

Amtrak said the business actions announced today are necessary to counter $120 million in less-than-anticipated revenue in 2001-2002 due to the recession, loss of $52 million in financing as a consequence of the recent action by the Amtrak Reform Council, additional security costs since September 11, and other factors beyond the company's control.

$175 million in capital improvements deferred

Amtrak will defer approximately $175 million in capital investments in FY 2002, or about 23 percent of its capital program. Deferred projects will include equipment refurbishment and overhauls, capacity and reliability improvements, as well as technology, station and facility upgrades. However, there will be no deferral of projects for required safety, environmental or reliability purposes, including fire- and life-safety improvements in New York City-area tunnels. 

$110 million in operating expenses reduced

A reduction of $110 million in FY 2002 operating expenses will also be made. This will be accomplished through several measures, including a 10 percent cut in management positions and a three percent cut in labor-agreement covered positions. Overall, Amtrak's current base of 24,600 positions will be cut by 1,000, or about four percent. The company will also freeze or reduce spending in numerous categories such as hiring, travel, vehicles, discretionary training, marketing and advertising, computers, materials and supplies.

$1.2 billion in federal appropriation requested

In addition to outlining budget savings for the current fiscal year, Amtrak said it will ask Congress to appropriate $1.2 billion for basic needs to manage and operate today's system in FY 2003.  The appropriation would cover $840 million in basic and mandatory capital investments, $200 million to subsidize unprofitable long-distance service, and $160 million to cover excess railroad retirement taxes. Amtrak warned, however, that this level of appropriation is insufficient to address the system's $5.8 billion capital investment backlog, improve service or reduce trip times. Moreover, an appropriation below this level will require the elimination of unprofitable long-distance service as early as October 1, 2002. For contingency purposes, legally required notification of this action will be made March 29, 2002. 

Additionally, Warrington stated that an "on-time" legislative reauthorization of Amtrak's operations is necessary this year to define the scope of the system and to align funding with it.

Current measures, successes cited

Warrington noted that the actions announced today are in addition to $258 million in savings being realized in FY 2002-2003 under measures already underway in equipment, facility and vehicle-related expense reductions, corporate restructuring and other efforts.

Warrington also stressed that Amtrak has sustained an impressive five-year record of growth, increasing ridership by 19 percent, ticket revenue by 40 percent and overall revenue by 38 percent to a record $2.1 billion in 2001. However, Warrington cautioned that chronic under-investment in passenger rail has driven up maintenance and interest expenses, as well as capital debt service, to unacceptable levels.

Warrington again urged federal policymakers to resolve the conflicting policy mandates that expect Amtrak to operate many unprofitable routes while also meeting the test of self-sufficiency.

"Policymakers need to decide what kind of passenger rail system America needs, how much the system requires in capital and operating support and how the government will pay for the system," said Warrington.  

Source: Amtrak

NARP RESPONDS TO WARRINGTON STATEMENT - February 1, 2002. The National Association of Railroad Passengers strongly believes that the existing system is "skeletal," (to use Warrington's own words) and should be continued in its entirety. We believe that the general public -- particularly since September 11 -- agrees with the importance of maintaining and improving our national passenger rail network, especially through cooperative federal/state investment in short-distance corridors around the nation. In December, for example, passenger-miles on Amtrak rose 3.8% while domestic aviation fell 13.2%. (On Amtrak's sleeping cars, passenger-miles rose 7% and revenues rose 13%.)

The federal government this year will spend $33 billion on highways, $13 billion on aviation, but only $570 million on intercity passenger rail. Moreover, the federal government offers 80% matches to encourage states to focus their investments on highways and aviation. Federal matches to support state investments for intercity passenger rail are virtually non-existent.

This "anti-rail" funding bias has helped put Amtrak in its present situation. At best, Amtrak's clear statement today may be a step toward ending the anti-rail bias in federal funding policy. It is painful to see valued employees laid off in a business that should be growing, but we understand Amtrak's decision not to seek a supplemental appropriation. Such an effort would be time-consuming, with no assurance of success, and would be a distraction from the central issue before the public: the long-term future of a connected, intercity passenger rail network.

Two things should be clear regarding elimination of the long-distance network:

Source: NARP


AFL-CIO Rail Unions File Suit to Block Rogue Amtrak Reform Council from Filing Unlawful Report to Congress

Eleven unions ask federal judge in U.S. District Court in Washington to block the ARC's report from going to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The following was released today by the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

The Amtrak Reform Council (ARC) has "acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner and contrary to law," eleven AFL-CIO rail unions representing the vast majority of workers in the passenger and freight rail industry today charged in a suit filed in federal district court. The effort, coordinated by the Rail Labor Division (RLD) of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), seeks an injunction to bar the ARC from filing an unlawful report to Congress that will inappropriately call for Amtrak's break-up in defiance of the ARC's explicit statutory mandate.

"Instead of providing an objective assessment of Amtrak's operations and finances as Congress intended, the ARC has long pursued an ideological agenda to dismember and then sell-off Amtrak to private interests," said RLD Chair Mark Filipovic. "We've long known that the ARC is a rogue group wasting taxpayers' dollars to achieve a result Americans do not want. But in the last few months the ARC has taken its self-appointed missionary zeal to new, and illegal, extremes."

Specifically, the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, contends that the ARC:

"Congress has for good reason repeatedly voted to curb the funding and the work of the ARC," said Sonny Hall, president of the TTD, the RLD's parent organization. "But by flaunting the law, the ARC keeps muddying up what should be a healthy national debate about passenger rail in this country. The courts can now complete the job that Congress started - to reign in the ARC and stop it from ignoring its congressional mandate."

The plaintiffs in the suit are the Rail Labor Division of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO; the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes; The Transport Workers Union of America: the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers; the Transportation-Communications International Union; the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, SEIU; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; the Sheet Metal Workers International Association; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers; and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union.

The RLD is a division of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, whose 34 member unions represent several million workers in the aviation, rail, transit, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, see

Source:: Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO

AMTRAK AND CONTINENTAL AIRLINES ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP - January 20, 2002. Amtrak and Continental Airlines announced today that they have partnered to create the country's first domestic air/rail code share. Travelers will be able to transfer easily between Amtrak's northeast rail service in four major cities to air service via Continental Airlines at Newark International Airport under the landmark agreement.

Under the nation's first air/rail code share, Continental Airlines will place its designator (CO*) code on Amtrak's Acela Regional and Keystone trains for connecting itineraries between Newark International Airport and four cities in the Northeast served by Amtrak -- Philadelphia Pa., Wilmington, Del., Stamford, Conn., and New Haven, Conn. Also as part of the agreement, members of Continental's OnePass program may earn miles when traveling on Amtrak's premiere Metroliner and Acela Express services between New York and either Boston or Washington, DC.

With the code share agreement, Amtrak will provide service to and from the four stations to Continental Airlines connections at Newark International Airport. The airport's new rail terminal provides a seamless travel experience, transporting guests to and from the airline terminals via the airport monorail, the AirTrain.

"This ground-breaking code share agreement means even more travel options for Amtrak's as well as Continental's guests," said George D. Warrington, President and CEO of Amtrak. "Travelers will be able to use Amtrak's frequent Northeast Corridor rail service and Continental's coast-to-coast air service to easily reach the destination of their choice."

"Travelers in America may now enjoy the benefits of plane-to-train partnerships that those in Europe have realized for years," said Larry Kellner, Continental Airlines President. "This unprecedented partnership between Continental and Amtrak provides a fast and convenient air-rail link for seamless travel along the Northeast Corridor."

The code share is scheduled to launch in mid-March and will allow travelers to make one reservation for both air and rail services by simply calling Continental Airlines or logging onto . Tickets may also be purchased through a travel agent but may not be purchased through Amtrak reservations. The train portion of the ticket will show a designated Continental flight number.

Travelers on code share segments who are members of either corporation's loyalty program may earn Continental OnePass miles or Amtrak Guest Rewards points when they travel. While members cannot earn both miles and points for the same trip, they will be able to exchange miles and points between the programs starting in mid-March. In addition, guests traveling on Amtrak's Metroliner and Acela Express services between New York and either Boston or Washington may earn Continental OnePass miles or Amtrak Guest Rewards points.

Under the code share agreement, Amtrak and Continental Airlines will be able to provide service to a greater number of markets, such as Philadelphia. Currently seventeen trains travel between Newark International Airport and Philadelphia every weekday, a level of service unmatched by any airline. With the new partnership, guests can easily travel between Philadelphia, Wilmington, Stamford, and New Haven and any number of destinations served by Continental Airlines.

SOURCE: Amtrak and Continental Airlines

KENTUCKY CARDINAL UPDATE - January 14, 2002. Officials from Tennessee and Kentucky were riding the rails to inspect the new proposed route that would extend Amtrak's Cardinal to Nashville. A decision on the route has been postponed pending Congressional hearings to determine Amtrak's fate and funding status. But according to Joe McHugh, Amtrak's acting vice president for government affairs, service could come within a year.

U.S. Rep. Tom Clement of Tennessee is the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation Committee subcommittee on rail. According to an article by Butch John in the (Louisville,KY) "Courier-Journal," Clement considers a nationwide rail system a matter of national defense.

"We know what they're doing in Europe. We know what they're doing in Asia. We know what we're not doing in America," Clement noted in regards to how other industrialized countries invest in their rail systems. Clement considers the federal subsidies for Amtrak as merely a fraction of the money pumped into keeping up airports and roads.


The Amtrak Reform Council has struck once again. After releasing a report that automatically required Amtrak to create a plan for its own dissolution in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the ARC has now prepared yet another report that would force Amtrak to relinquish ownership of tracks and stations, bridges and tunnels. In addition the council wants to take much or all of Amtrak's authority and divide it among states or private companies.

Under the plan Amtrak and the National Rail Passenger Corporation would be split and the corporation would oversee a transition of train operations to the private sector.

Fortunately the ARC's findings, often seen by Amtrak advocates as politically motivated, carry no authority. And Congress has quickly moved to void the mandate for Amtrak to create a report for its dissolution. However, the ARC reports cast Amtrak in a poor light with respect to the press who, in a time of 10 second sound bites and diminished investigative reporting, generously quote from ARC findings as a matter of factual evidence.

In response, a NARP spokesman reportedly said that the recommendations to separate Amtrak from its non-rail assets "bear a disturbing similarity to the early steps in the process that led to Britain's current railway crisis."

AMTRAK 2002 WALL CALENDARS - January 15, 2002. Here's the official information on the Amtrak wall calendars, which I've been told is one of the best in years.



P.O. BOX 7717
ITASCA, IL 60143


ARE: 1 - $6, 2 - $10, 3 - $14, 4 - $16, 5 - $18, 6 - $20, 7 - $22, 8 - $24, 9 - $26, 10 - $28, 11-25 - $2.50 EACH, 26-50, $2.25 EACH.


1980-1981, 1983-1986, 1988-1991, 1993-1998, 2000-2001 CALENDARS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE: 1-5, $3.00 EACH; 6-25, $2.00 EACH, 26-50, $1.50 EACH.


"NARP is concerned that separating Amtrak into an operating agency that is viewed as requiring operating grants mostly for its non-Northeastern trains, and an infrastructure agency that is viewed as requiring capital grants for its mostly Northeastern-situated holdings, threatens to break apart political support for a passenger-rail network with national reach. It also raises a question of whether a majority of votes in Congress will exist for either of the two separate remnants of Amtrak."

I fully agree with NARP's position. For more info from the NARP Hotline go to:

MICHIGAN RAIL UPDATE - January 11, 2002. With great reluctance, the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers has recommended to the Michigan Department of Transportation that Amtrak's International be discontinued and replaced by its predecessor, the Blue Water. Changes to Customs and Immigrations procedures have reduced the average count of passengers using the train accros the border to about 25-30 per day each way.

After September 11th, border crossing inspections were considerably tightened, at times resulting in 15 mile long backups (that's right- 15 MILES) of vehicles waiting to cross the border. C & I of both the U.S. and Canada determined that they could no longer afford to pull agents off the Blue Water Bridge for the lengthy clearance of the trains at Port Huron and Sarnia. As a result, passengers arriving at the border must detrain with their luggage, board a bus which takes them across the Blue Water Bridge, disembark from the bus with their luggage, be cleared by C & I, re-board the bus, proceed to the train station, then disembark from the bus again with their luggage, and re-board the train.

This, coupled with a roundabout routing east of London that adds another hour to the train's schedule, plus a separate Sunday schedule that makes it impossible to schedule a Thruway bus connection from Saginaw to Flint, drove MARP's decison. MARP members arrived at this conclusion reluctantly, because our association has long been an advocate of increased international service. We understand that C & I will not be changing border procedures at any time in the forseeable future.

MARP's recommendation is for a revival of the Port Huron-Chicago Blue Water, which offered an early morning departure from Port Huron with a late morning arrival in Chicago. Returning, the train offered an early evening Chicago departure with a late night arrival in Port Huron.

John DeLora, Executive Director, MARP

BRITAIN'S PRIVATIZED TRAINS - "WORST IN EUROPE" - January 10, 2002. Europe Minister Peter Hain has told The Spectator magazine that Britain's privatized railways are the worst in all of Europe. Hain said that the Labour government had got transport policy badly wrong. In the meantime, Britain's railway users face more disruption, with newspapers reporting that rail workers in the south east may strike over pay, adding to fresh stoppages already planned on South West Train services in London and services on Arriva in the north.

Meanwhile, officials in Britain announced that serious assaults on British railway workers by their customers had increased 22 percent from the previous year. Officials suggested that workers had "borne the brunt of passengers' lost tempers" over deteriorated rail passenger services.

Source: BBC

FLORIDA CONGRESSMEN AND COLLEAGUES PROPOSE ANTI AMTRAK BILL - January 10, 2002. Rep. John Mica (R- FL) has introduced a bill, HR 3591, that would transfer control of the Northeast Corridor and the Auto Train to the U.S. Department of Transportation. For each route, the DOT would choose whether to franchise management and dispatching responsibilities or transfer ownership to an interstate compact, a new governmental corporation or a private company. Mica doesn't say what he would do to the rest of Amtrak's system.

Meanwhile, Mica's bill HR 3347 would provide a total package of $15 billion for general aviation.

Cosponsoring Mica's anti-Amtrak bill are the following: Collins (R-GA), Kingston (R-GA), Linder (R-GA), Hefley (R-CO), Petri (R-WI), DeLay (R-TX), Miller (R-FL), Stearns (R-FL), Pombo (R-CA) and Graves (R-MO)

If any of the above represent your House district please communicate with them now.


Return to Friends of Amtrak

Return to Friends of Amtrak Archives Menu Page

Page created by: