October 8, 2009
Reported by Paul Dyson, RailPAC President
I was very pleased to accept an invitation from Joe Boardman to meet him at Los Angeles Union Station today on Board the “Beech Grove” business car. Mr. Boardman was making a brief stopover during an inspection and meet the troops tour. I invited RailPAC VP South James Smith and Director Bob Manning from the Coachella Valley to join me.
We asked Mr. Boardman what he had learned from his year at Amtrak and we were not surprised to hear that he shares our concern for the state of the rolling stock and resulting quality of service. He told us that he hopes to be able to make an important announcement “very soon” regarding investment and an equipment order. He also expressed some frustration with the amount of time spent on day to day “emergencies”. Too many situations are elevated to executive level, reflecting years of gradual deterioration of the asset base and (in my opinion) lack of continuity at the senior management level.
Regarding whether he will stay in the post after his interim term is up, Mr. Boardman could only say that he has told the Board that he is “ready, willing and able” to take a permanent appointment should the Board so decide.
Mr. Boardman was also unable to give us an answer regarding future plans for the Sunset/Eagle service. “That decision has not yet been made”.
We presented a copy of Bill Bradley”s “Last of the Great Stations”, produced for the 50th anniversary of LAUS, to commemorate his visit and as a belated thank you for his presentation at the May 9 RailPAC conference.
Although he discounted the suggestion I am inclined to think that Mr. Boardman’s already difficult task has been made harder because of its being an interim appointment. RailPAC looks forward to a rolling stock order to strengthen the western trains, daily Sunset service from Los Angeles, and a permanent Amtrak CEO. The next couple of months will be interesting!
(left-right) Mr. Dyson, Mr. Boardman, Mr. Manning, Mr. Smith in front of Amtrak business car 10001 at Los Angeles Union Station on October 8, 2009.