Thursday, November 10, 2005

Amtrak and David Gunn: From the Eyes of a Supplier

Before addressing some of the comments, e-mails, and other news that has crossed my desk, I want to look at the effect that David Gunn had on Amtrak from my perspective as a track material supplier.

In a word, it was positive. In two words, very positive.

It was positive because there were noticable improvements in efficiency, in decision making, and in the responsibility taken by those in authority. Was it perfect? No, indeed. But improvements had clearly been made. The snickers that once were heard at the mention of the name "Amtrak" are heard no longer.

In short, dealing with Amtrak became much more like dealing with the Class One Railroad Properties who are now, incidently, reporting record profits. Dealing with Amtrak became much less like dealing with the inefficiences and bureaucracies of any other government agency you can name.

My observation is verified by the selection of Mr. David Hughes, formerly Amtrak's Chief Engineer, as Acting President. The improvements noted above were the vision of Gunn, and were implemented by Hughes and his staff. I am sure he will do a fine job. But, of course, his hands are tied by that "acting" in front of his title.

So the Amtrak discussion is now intensified. I am glad of that. I am glad for comments I have received. There will be a response soon. But this short observation was worth noting right now.


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