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Former Amtrak and NJ Transit leader Warrington passes away


Former Amtrak President and New Jersey Transit Executive Director George Warrington died Dec. 24 in Mendham, N.J., ending an eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer, according to a news item on the United Transportation Union’s (UTU) Web site. He was 55.

While working as a commissioner's assistant for the New Jersey Department of Transportation in the 1970s, Warrington helped create NJ Transit, which assumed commuter-rail operations from Penn Central and other bankrupt railroads. He became vice president and general manager of the transit agency's rail operations in 1980, then left in 1992 to become executive director of the Delaware River Port Authority.

From 1994 to 2002, Warrington served Amtrak, including four years as president and chief executive officer. He presided over the national intercity passenger railroad's introduction of Acela high-speed service in the Northeast, dealt with Acela's numerous operational problems and butted heads with congressmen on annual appropriation issues.

In 2002, Warrington joined NJ Transit as executive director. During his tenure, the agency added 100 trains to its schedule, created thousands of additional parking spaces, improved on-time performance and introduced multi-level trains. In January 2007, he resigned to help form a consulting and lobbying firm.

Among his career accomplishments: helping convince New York politicians to back a $7.5 billion regional funding commitment to build a rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River linking New Jersey and New York City to double trans-Hudson rail capacity for NJ Transit and Amtrak.

Warrington also was a "friend of labor [and] forceful advocate for rail," said UTU New Jersey State Legislative Director Dan O'Connell in a prepared statement. "He will be missed."

An avid New York Yankees fan, Warrington also loved the New York Rangers — so much so he had a tattoo of the hockey team's logo on his arm, according to the UTU.

Warrington is survived by his wife, Hope, a son and two stepdaughters.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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