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The Amtrak Office of Inspector General (OIG) found in a recent audit that national intercity passenger railroad has not established certain practices that likely would improve the railroad’s track outage planning and coordination process. As a result, the OIG issued recommendations for Amtrak to adopt.
Following assessment of the effectiveness of the Amtrak’s efforts to plan and coordinate track outages, Amtrak’s OIG found that, starting in 2018, the railroad has built a more disciplined process. The process included implementing new procedures to prioritize capital projects and identify and plan for outages needed to accomplish the projects, according to the management advisory report issued this week.
However, the OIG also found that Amtrak doesn't have a multiyear companywide track outage plan; relies on outdated technology and software to build the plan; and hasn't clearly defined each departments’ role in coordinating the plan with commuter railroads and other external organizations.
In response to its findings, the OIG recommends Amtrak incorporate a multiyear focus into its planning process, and research options with the information technology department on ways to update its system and/or software tools. The office also recommends that Amtrak clearly define departmental roles in coordinating the plan with commuter railroads and others affected by track outages.
“Ineffective track outage planning and coordination can negatively affect the company’s ability to achieve its state-of-good repair goal, which can impact revenue, customer service and its relationship with external stakeholders,” OIG officials said in the report summary.