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- For The Railroad Industry Professional

Kansas City SouthernAmtrak is the United States' national intercity passenger-rail service provider. It was created under the Rail Passenger Service Act, which was signed by President Richard Nixon in 1970. The legislation enabled most freight railroads that operated intercity passenger-rail lines to join the national system and, in effect, abandon their unprofitable passenger service.

The new, federally funded railroad launched service on May 1, 1971, under the name Amtrak, which is a combination of the words "America" and "track." Amtrak operated trains using the rolling stock and other equipment it inherited from the freight railroads' passenger operations. In 1976, Congress passed the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act. The legislation's primary intent was to create Conrail, but it also gave Amtrak ownership of the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston.

In the early 1990s, Amtrak launched the Northeast Corridor High Speed Rail Program in an effort to bring the New York-Boston segment of the corridor up to the same performance level. In 2000, Amtrak launched Acela Express high-speed rail service between Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston.

Amtrak currently serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces, operating 300 trains along 21,200 route miles. Seventy-two percent of Amtrak's route miles are on tracks owned by host railroads. Amtrak pays the railroads for the use of their track and other resources required to operate passenger trains. In addition, Amtrak operates commuter-rail services under contract for Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC), Connecticut's Shore Line East and southern California's Metrolink.

The company is led by Stephen Gardner, president and CEO; Eleanor Acheson, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary; Roger Harris, EVP of marketing and revenue, and chief commercial officer; Scot Naperstek, EVP of service delivery and operations; Dennis Newman, EVP of planning, strategy and accessibility; Steve Predmore, EVP and chief safety officer; Laura Mason, EVP of capital delivery; Qiana Spain, EVP and chief human resource officer; Tracie Winbigler, EVP and chief financial officer; Bruno Maestri, EVP of government affairs and corporate communications; and Christian Zacariassen, EVP of digital technology and innovation. Board members include Chair Anthony Coscia, Vice Chair Jeffrey Mooreland, Thomas Carper, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Christopher Beall, Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and Albert DiClemente.