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Rail groups praise Amtrak's choice of Moorman as next CEO

Amtrak's choice of former Norfolk Southern Corp. Chief Executive Officer Charles "Wick" Moorman as the national passenger railroad's new leader continued to draw praise over the weekend from several rail-related organizations.

Charles Moorman

Moorman, who served NS for more than 40 years by the time he retired from the Class I in 2015, will succeed Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman on Sept. 1.

Amtrak will benefit from Moorman's leadership, NS Chief Executive Officer James Squires said in a prepared statement.

"With Wick onboard, Amtrak and its passengers, employees, and business partners will benefit from forward-looking, customer-focused, and innovative leadership. We value the excellent working relationship that we enjoy with Amtrak, and we look forward to the opportunities ahead for both freight and passenger railroads,” said Squires.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) also praised the choice of Moorman as Amtrak's next CEO.

"This is promising news from Amtrak. We encouraged the passenger railroad to search for candidates with the vision and management skills to successfully implement new reforms and improve performance, and Wick Moorman has the necessary qualifications," Shuster and Denham said in a prepared statement.

"He knows the railroad business extremely well, and we believe he is capable of running Amtrak like a business, rather than a bureaucracy," they added. "This will be essential to improving U.S. passenger rail service, and fostering a more business-like structure at Amtrak was our goal in the rail provisions of the FAST Act."

Moorman can continue the progress that Amtrak made under Boardman's leadership, said Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO (TTD) President Edward Wytkind.

"We're at a crucial moment in Amtrak's history with the opportunity to reimagine a modernized national Amtrak system, expand and improve service, and support and create middle-class jobs," Wytkind said.

"Mr. Moorman can continue the progress that has been made under Boardman by further strengthening Amtrak's partnership with its employees – one based on mutual trust and cooperation," he added.

The Railway Supply Institute (RSI) also offered its congratulations.

"Wick has been a longtime friend of RSI and its members and has a deep understanding of the rail industry, both passenger and freight, and the railway supply industry," said RSI's statement. "He is an outstanding choice and is well-positioned to move Amtrak forward. We look forward to a productive relationship between RSI and Amtrak under Wick's leadership."

Moorman's skills and experience will be especially helpful in advancing intercity passenger-rail service across the United States, said a statement from the States for Passenger Rail Coalition, an advocacy group of leaders from 22 state departments of transportation and three passenger-rail authorities that work to advance passenger rail.

Moorman's decision to come out of retirement to lead Amtrak demonstrates his "true passion for America's rail system," said Jim Mathews, president and CEO of the National Association of Railroad Passengers.

"With more 300-plus trains connecting over 500 destinations across America each and every day, it’s a big job,” said Mathews in a prepared statement. "Moorman’s experience with building teams focused on service and safety will serve America’s passengers well.”

Several organizations also praised Boardman for his eight years of leadership at Amtrak.

"Joe recognized the delicate balance that exists in this country between freight rail and passenger rail and was a partner in forging new ways to find that right transportation mix," said Association of American Railroads President and CEO Ed Hamberger. "Joe's steadfast commitment to positively advancing the role of Amtrak and raising the profile of passenger rail in the United States has left an enduring record of achievement.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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