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Amtrak, post-Amtrak: UTU's Boyd proposes rail-passenger summit


United Transportation Union (UTU) President Byron Boyd Jr. is calling for U.S. freight railroads and their trade unions to work together to decide how to preserve a national passenger rail system he believes is "in danger of being Balkanized or even scrapped."

"Independent analysis too often has found that Amtrak’s Washington, D.C.-based managers lack basic skills necessary to reduce travel time, increase service frequency and deliver customer-driven, world-class service," wrote Boyd in a column published Jan. 7 on UTU’s Web site. "So many lawmakers have lost faith in preserving Amtrak that it is unlikely Congress will ever provide Amtrak, as it is currently structured, with a reliable and sufficient form of funding."

A summit featuring freight-rail CEOs and rail-labor leaders, Boyd believes, would be "an appropriate and effective means" to determine what’s needed to ensure the national passenger rail system’s preservation, expansion and improvement.

"It is imperative that those possessing extensive railroading experience and
knowledge now become involved in assuring America access to a world-class
national rail passenger network," he wrote.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/7/2002