Veteran railroad executive Charles W. “Wick” Moorman has been named as Amtrak’s next president and chief executive officer. The announcement came on August 19 that the retired Norfolk Southern chief would assume the office starting September 1, replacing Joe Boardman who has served as Amtrak’s head since 2008. Moorman will take a salary of $1 a year, with a $500,000 bonus tied to performance incentives.
“It is an honor and privilege to take on the role of CEO at Amtrak and I look forward to working with its dedicated employees to find ways to provide even better service to our passengers and the nation,” said Moorman. “At Norfolk Southern, our team fostered change by placing a solid emphasis on performance across all aspects of our business which helped develop a stronger safety and service culture throughout the company. I look forward to advancing those same goals at Amtrak and helping to build a plan for future growth.”
Moorman will take the throttle as Amtrak embarks on a major capital project to replace the aging Hudson River tunnels to increase capacity in and out of New York City, as well as overseeing the delivery of next-generation diner and sleeping cars from CAF and new high-speed diesels from Siemens. He will also face considerable obstacles as Amtrak continues to battle with its host railroads to give passenger trains preference over freight. Congress will remain his sharpest critic as lawmakers seek to reduce annual subsidies each year in the face of growing ridership and capacity concerns.
Starting his railroading career in 1970, Moorman rose through the ranks and was named Norfolk Southern’s CEO in 2006. He managed the railroad through an unprecedented period of rapid growth, only stepping down due to the company’s mandatory retirement age. He will follow in the footsteps of legendary NS executive W. Graham Claytor, Jr., who led Amtrak for 11 years from 1982 until 1993.
In 2015, Amtrak ridership was more than 30 million for the fifth year in a row, with ticket revenue of $2.185 billion. —O.M.V.
—Passenger Train Journal