Railroad veteran Moorman tapped to lead Amtrak

Monday, August 22, 2016
Charles "Wick" Moorman
(Photo: Norfolk Southern)

Civil engineering alumnus Charles “Wick” Moorman will be the new president and CEO of Amtrak starting Sept. 1, according to a company announcement.

Moorman, BSCE 1975, has spent four decades in the railroad business, retiring at the end of 2015 as chairman and CEO of Norfolk Southern.

“We are very pleased that someone with Wick’s experience and vision will lead Amtrak during this critical period as the company charts a course for future growth and improvement,” Amtrack Board Chairman Anthony Coscia said in a news release.

“Under CEO Joe Boardman, and with the support of the Administration and Congress, Amtrak has achieved record levels of performance and investment.  The Board believes Wick can build upon this success in the coming year by launching initiatives to further enhance safety and customer service, modernize our operations, and guide our implementation of the FAST Act.”

For his part, Moorman said he’s looking forward to using his decades at Norfolk Southern as a template for the work he’ll undertake at Amtrak.

“It is an honor and privilege to take on the role of CEO at Amtrak,” he said in the release. “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.”

The Wall Street Journal reported Moorman will have a full plate when he steps into the position:

Mr. Moorman will take over Amtrak as it embarks on what transportation officials say is the largest public works project in the U.S. once it gets under way: the construction of two new Hudson River rail tunnels connecting northern New Jersey and Manhattan.

Amtrak’s leaders have tried to reduce the taxpayer-funded railroad’s reliance on public subsidies amid pressure from Congress and generally increasing ridership, particularly on its heavily traveled Northeast Corridor service between Washington, D.C., and Boston.

To increase the railroad’s reliability, Amtrak has quarreled with freight railroads over regulations that give the passenger railroad “preference” to go first on those carriers’ rail networks around the country.

But Mr. Coscia said he hoped Mr. Moorman would improve the railroad’s relationship with freight carriers, which own the tracks that carry Amtrak passengers nationwide. Amtrak owns much of its network in the Northeast.

“He clearly understands both worlds, and he’s going to be in a position to try to get us all to a much better place,” Mr. Coscia said of Mr. Moorman.

The news of Amtrak’s selection was praised by the freight rail industry group. “Wick Moorman is a proven railroader whose track record of success demonstrates his commitment and adherence to rail safety, efficiency and service to customers,” said Association of American Railroads President Ed Hamberger in a statement.

Read more about Moorman’s appointment.

Moorman talked about his career in railroading in March 2016 at the Hyatt Distinguished Alumni Leadership Speaker Series. Watch here.