December 21, 2014

Oh, no. Amtrak CEO, FRA chief ditch Acela

WILMINGTON, Del. — Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman, FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo and former BNSF top attorney Jeff Moreland, now an Amtrak board member, were enroute here from Washington Saturday morning for dedication of the new station renamed for Vice President Joe Biden.

They got as far as Baltimore on their first-class passes.

A power problem on the Northeast Corridor stopped all Amtrak trains dependent on the overhead catenary for power.

Fearful they would miss the dedication, they made a call and soon left the train, piling into an automobile quickly provided, and reached Wilmington only a bit late. Biden was patiently awaiting them.

“We would not have gotten off the train if we could have sequenced it faster, but the event would have been over … and that’s the evaluation we made,” Boardman told ABC News.

The news dispatch reported they “were escorted from the coach by security guards and a small entourage of assistants.” ABC News said rental cars were obtained for the entourage.

Biden understood. He said later he had taken more than 7,000 roundtrips between his home in Wilmington and Washington while a U.S. senator; and, yes, not all were on time.

The remaining passengers on the train endured a two-and-a-half hour delay, later attributed to a malfunctioning transformer in Philadelphia.

Boardman used the opportunity to make a pitch for more federal funds for the Northeast Corridor. “If we’re going to really grow the Corridor the way it needs to be grown, we have to substantially increase the amount of power that’s available so that we don’t trip these transformers,” he told ABC News.