August 5, 2021
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As part of broad restructuring of Amtrak’s leadership, Stephen Gardner (seen above) became president of the national passenger railroad – a new position –effective December 1.

[Above photo via Amtrak.]

Gardner, who previously served as senior executive vice president and chief operating and commercial officer, joined Amtrak in 2009 after stints with Guilford Rail System, now Pan Am Railways, and the Buckingham Branch Railroad in Virginia.

Photo by Amtrak

He is tasked with “regaining and growing customers and partners” through a modernization of Amtrak’s products, services, infrastructure and fleet, while leading day-to-day operations and “advancing Amtrak’s long-term goals,” according to Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn.

“We have two urgent challenges in 2021. We need to successfully manage our business through this global pandemic, and we need to take the right steps to ensure that Amtrak is strong and viable for the next 50 years and beyond,” Flynn noted in a statement. “Establishing the president position reflects these significant responsibilities and creates a leadership structure to address the challenges ahead.”

Photo by Amtrak

“Congress expects Amtrak to offer intercity passenger rail as a viable alternative to other modes as codified in Amtrak’s mission,” Gardner noted in testimony before the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on November 18.

“In the 21st century, that means achieving highway-like average speeds and reliable service, on schedules optimized for the needs of the traveling public,” he said.

Gardner added at that T&I committee hearing that communities and passengers across the country “deserve intercity passenger rail service that meets their needs” and that “if we [Amtrak] are to provide compelling, trip-time competitive transportation services, we need cooperation from host railroads to offer attractive schedules to customers that are dispatched on time according to the law.”

editor@aashto.org

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