Posts Tagged ‘Richard Anderson’

1,400 Griped About Amtrak Dining in 2014

June 10, 2020

A handful of passengers are ready to enjoy dinner aboard the eastbound Capitol Limited as it rolls through Chicago in March 2014.

Business Insider magazine reported on Wednesday that Amtrak received more than 1,400 complaints last year about its “flexible dining” service aboard overnight trains.

The complaints filled 125 pages that the magazine obtained from Amtrak through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Many of the complaints said Amtrak’s meal service has resulted in lesser quality food.

“We did not take the train to save money, we took the train for the experience,” one complaint said. “The dining car is a huge part of the rail experience.”

For its part, the carrier contended that passengers like the flexible dining service more than the complaints might indicate.

The initial version of flexible dining was implemented on the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited in June 2018. It was extended to other eastern long-distance trains more than a year later.

Prior to 2018, most long-distance trains had full-service dining cars with meals freshly prepared onboard.

Meals were included in the price of a sleeping car ticket and available for sale to coach passengers.

Flexible dining has placed full-service dining cars with a limited selection of meals that are prepared off the train.

It is called “flexible” dining because passengers can eat at their leisure during a broad set of hours in either the dining car or in their sleeping car rooms.

The flexible dining meals are not available to sale to coach passengers. Amtrak said several months ago it was studying making those meals available for sale to coach passengers but has yet to do that.

Although full-service dining cars continue to operate on western overnight trains, flexible dining was extended to those trains in April during a steep ridership decline during the COVID-19 pandemic that cost long-distance trains about 85 percent of their ridership.

Business Insider characterized most of the complaints as passengers saying the flexible dining meals are unsatisfying and low-quality.

“It seems the new direction of food service resembles that of air travel,” wrote one passenger.

“Your attendants seemed actually embarrassed [sic] to serve this stuff.”

Many complaints said flexible dining resulted in a lot of waste because the plates and packaging used to serve the meals was largely thrown away.

“The commingling of all waste does not seem to be environmentally sound when all forms of recyclables are combined with food in the trash,” said one passenger.

Several complaints described the water containers in the dining car as unsightly.

Amtrak changed the packaging in October 2019 to reusable trays and said it was “reviewing a plan to use service ware that is more sustainable such as reusable or biodegradable.”

In a statement, Amtrak took issue with the notion that flexible dining was disliked despite the high volume of complaints.

“While there were approximately 1,200 customer service cases on flexible dining over the specified period of time, ridership on these six routes during this period exceeded 800K,” Amtrak said. “On each route with flexible dining, at least 80 percent of customers selected a top range score in customer satisfaction surveys.”

The Amtrak statement said that it is paying attention to passenger comments and making improvements base on those comments.

It cited as an example changing the service in January 2019 to include more hot entrees and additional breakfast options. More hot entrees were added in October 2019.

“We have also adjusted menus to reflect customer’s nutritional and special meal requirements,” the statement said.

Amtrak has said it introduced flexible dining to cut costs. Former Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson said the passenger carrier was responding to a Congressional mandate to lower its losses on food service.

Anderson said the easiest way to do that would be to offer a single food car and then have meal choices for passengers.

Amtrak did not initially do. It continues to offer one type of food service for sleeper class passengers while operating a café car service for coach passengers.

On some trains since the pandemic hit, it has offered one food service car.

Amtrak said the removal of full-service dining from Western long-distance trains was temporary and going to last through May 31.

However, the carrier has yet to reinstate full-service dining on Western trains and in the meantime Amtrak CEO William Flynn has said the carrier expects ridership in the 2021 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 to be half of what it would normally be.

Flynn said Amtrak is seeking to pare its workforce by 20 percent, offering incentives for workers to retire or leave and, if needed, furloughing some of them.

Amtrak is also seeking a $1.4 billion supplemental appropriation for FY2021 on top of the more than $2 billion regular appropriation for that year.

Even if it gets that money Amtrak has said long-distance trains will operate on a less than daily level although it has not spell out what that means.

If it doesn’t get the additional money, the carrier has said all long-distance trains except the Auto Train are “at risk.” Presumably that means of being discontinued or suspended.

It would seem to point toward “flexible dining” being the norm for all overnight trains in the future.

Anderson Ends Tenure as Amtrak CEO

April 15, 2020

Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson bowed out on Tuesday with a final message for Amtrak employees.

Anderson thanked them for their efforts during his three-year tenure and in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are in a position to protect Amtrak jobs right now because of everything you have done together in recent years,” he said. “You did the hard work as professionals over the past several years to grow revenue and ridership to record levels, with our highest customer satisfaction levels in history.

Anderson went on to say no travel company in the U.S. is as well positioned as Amtrak to to get through the pandemic and come out stronger on the other side.

Anderson, 64, served as Amtrak’s 12th president. He is being replaced today (April 15) by William J. Flynn, who like Anderson is a former airline executive.

Before coming to Amtrak, Anderson served as CEO of Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines.

He joined Amtrak on July 12, 2017, as president and served through the end of the year as co-CEO of the intercity rail passenger carrier with Charles “Wick” Moorman.

Flynn served as president of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings between June 2006 and July 2019. He then served as CEO of Atlas through the end of 2019 and was chairman of the board of directors.

Amtrak named Flynn as its next president and CEO last month.

Amtrak Averaging 4,000 Passengers Per Day

April 14, 2020

Amtrak is carrying an average of 4,000 passengers a day during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The carrier normally averages 100,000 passengers a day. About 57 percent of Amtrak’s departures have been temporarily suspended with the Northeast Corridor seeing a reduction of 77 percent of its scheduled trains.

“We are running trains where we have more staff than customers,” Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson said during an employee town hall meeting last week.

Anderson described the $1.018 billion in emergency aid it is receiving from the federal government as essential but said “we are burning about $50 million a week in cash.”

Anderson said Amtrak’s recovery from the pandemic will proceed as travel demand grows.

“We are going to be a very different railroad when we come out the other other side of this; we will be 20% smaller,” he said.

Anderson hopes that travelers understand Amtrak doesn’t pack passengers aboard its trains as densely as airlines do in their planes.

That could favor Amtrak in shorter-haul markets, he said.

Amtrak Looking Beyond Pandemic

April 6, 2020

Amtrak executives expect to return service to normal levels gradually once the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Senior Vice President Stephen Gardner told employees during a town hall meeting late last week that restoring service after the pandemic will be a challenge because the railroad doesn’t know how quickly demand will recover.

Some services might see strong demand once the public begins to travel again.

Also addressing the town hall was incoming Amtrak President William Flynn, who will replace Richard Anderson on April 15.

“We’re planning for several scenarios where the recovery pattern might be different in specific regions — gradual or a big jump,” Flynn said.

Trains magazine obtained a copy of the town hall meeting and reported some of its contents on its website on Monday.

Gardner said Amtrak will work with states that fund corridor service to determine “how much service we have on routes they help support.”

Flynn was introduced during the town hall by Anderson.

The next Amtrak CEO lauded Amtrak employees for their diligence during the pandemic, particularly those who handled the derailment of the northbound Auto Train on March 26.

Flynn pledged to avoid furloughing Amtrak workers during the pandemic.

Anderson said Amtrak’s overall bookings have plunged by 95 percent with ridership in the Northeast Corridor down 98 percent, state-supported service down 93 percent and long-distance ridership declining 87 percent.

Amtrak’s daily train frequencies have been slashed from 309 to 156, with 77 percent of the Northeast Corridor service suspended.

There are just 10 trains boarding and discharging passengers from New York to Washington and four from New York to Boston.

Gardner said Amtrak has no plans to screen passengers for COVID-19.

“We are not qualified to undertake mass testing (and) we don’t have the ability to control who is coming on board once they purchase a ticket, but we can reinforce the good guidance that’s out there and we will work with   . . . officials to help them implement health checks should they be required,” said.

With ridership on long-distance trains down Amtrak is no longer practicing communal dining in its dining cars. Gardner said there is no need to seat passengers not traveling together at the same table.

Amtrak Long-Distance Trains Safe for Now But Anderson Still Wants Permanent Cut in Network

March 24, 2020

Although Amtrak President William Anderson has said the long-distance network of trains will stay in place for now, he continues to argue that it needs to be reduced.

Richard Anderson

Anderson sent that message last week during an online town hall meeting with Amtrak employees.

He did note that Amtrak is cutting the capacity of long-distance trains by 40 percent of seat miles.

That has resulted in some trains operating with reduced consists including a four-car Capitol Limited.

If Congress fails to grant Amtrak emergency funding to cover revenue losses triggered by a massive downturn in ridership and revenue in the wake of the COVID-19 pandenic, Anderson said there are contingency plans in place “to further reduce the network to match capacity to demand.”

Later in the town hall Anderson reiterated a comment he’s made often that some parts of Amtrak’s national network need to be permanently discontinued.

“And given the amount of cash burn we have, I’m certain the long-distance network is going to be very different longer term,” he said. “We’d like to avoid it, but if we can’t get the kind of funding out of Congress that we need, then we need to face that issue and will have a contingency plan to do that. But that will be only a worst-case scenario because we don’t want to furlough employees.”

During the town hall session Amtrak said Amtrak has slashed capital spending from a planned $2 billion to $1 billion by focusing only on necessary “state-of-good repair” work.

Management salaries will be cut by 22 percent to 7 percent with the reductions falling as pay grades decrease.

The incoming Amtrak president, William Flynn, has agreed to forego his annual salary. He will take over for Anderson on April 18.

Amtrak has suspended its 401K retirement program match and is asking non-union employees to take voluntary time off or reduce their weekly hours to 32 per week.

An analysis of Anderson’s comments by Trains magazine said that his assertion that it takes $2 billion “over two and a half years  . . . to keep the long-distance network operating” is suggesting that expense would vanish if those trains were discontinued.

Trains said that figure is a largely allocated expense figure that Amtrak uses to to imply that they are avoidable costs.

That has been challenged by various rail passenger advocates and elected officials on routes served by those trains.

Before the pandemic began, Anderson said Amtrak had been “running 91 percent above plan” for fiscal year 2020, which ends in late September.

Overall ridership and revenue had been up by 6.5 percent.

But with both now plunging, Anderson said full year revenues are projected to be down $1 billion and Amtrak projects a $840 million loss even with expense reductions of $110-$150 million.

Top Amtrak Executives to Take Pay Cuts

March 23, 2020

Amtrak said over the weekend that it is taking what it termed aggressive steps in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including reducing the salaries of its top executives.

For now Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson said Amtrak will not lay off employees.

An internal memo sent by Amtrak Senior Vice President Stephen Gardner said incoming President William Flynn will not draw his Amtrak salary during the crisis.

Gardner said Amtrak faces a loss of $1 billion due to plunging bookings and widespread cancellations of existing reservations.

The intercity passenger carrier has asked the federal government for a supplemental appropriation to cover lost revenue.

The pay cuts will take effect April 1. Flynn is scheduled to replace Anderson in the CEO chair on April 15.

Amtrak will suspend its its 401(k) matching contribution for management employees through the end of the calendar year.

“We recognize these actions have a serious impact on our employees and their families,” Gardner said in the memo. “But we are taking this action to help protect everyone. We appreciate your support as we work our way through this crisis together.”

Other measures being taken by Amtrak include ending all non-safety-critical hiring; cutting discretionary travel, professional fees, and advertising spending; and deferring non-priority capital expenses.

In a dial-in town hall meeting for Amtrak workers held on Friday, Anderson said the carrier is seeking to avoid involuntary furloughs.

The carrier will meet a commitment in current labor agreements granting employees a 3.5 percent pay increase on July 1, but Anderson called for union leaders to consider delaying but not cancelling the increase until Amtrak ridership recovers.

Anderson hinted that if the unions balk at delaying the pay raise the carrier might revoke its non-layoff stance.

“General chairmen need to get engaged and figure out how to do this if we are to avoid an involuntary furlough, given that we don’t have any business anymore,” Anderson said.

“We have been through a lot of tough times with Amtrak—from host railroads that want to put us out of business, to presidents who don’t want to fund us, to [a] Congress that doesn’t always want to properly fund us, and to states and private companies that would like to take over our services,” Anderson said.

He said Acela ridership in the Northeast Corridor has fallen by 92 percent, Acela reservations are down by 99 percent and bookings for long-distance trains have declined by 64 percent.

Anderson expects those numbers to worsen as additional government imposed restrictions are placed on personal mobility.

“On 9/11, we knew specifically what the root cause of the problem was at the time, [and] the transportation system recovered fairly quickly,” Anderson said. “In this instance, we don’t have clear direction of what the end point of the coronavirus is.”

Amtrak has more than $3 billion of cash on hand but Anderson said the carrier must continue to pay operating expenses and pay interest on its existing loans.

It has halted spending on capital projects except those needed to keeping trains moving.

“By any measure, the economy is in recession,” Anderson said. “We can’t just count on Congress to close our gap.”

Saying there is no reason to operate empty trains, Anderson said Northeast Corridor service has been cut by 40 percent and 10 routes have reduced service with more service cuts coming.

Although the long-distance network will remain intact, Anderson said 40 percent of its seat capacity has been removed in the form of operating fewer rail cars.

“We need to be aggressive in preserving our cash,” Anderson said.

“I’m certain that the long-distance network will be very different longer term,” he said. “Over the past three or four years, it has taken more than $2.5 billion of federal money to keep the long-distance network operating, and if we don’t have the subsidy from the Northeast Corridor and state [supported corridor] trains bearing their share of the national network, the loss gets that much bigger.”

Anderson acknowledged that the steps Amtrak has taken are “demoralizing,” but said it would be be more demoralizing to tell people they don’t have a job anymore.

“That’s what we are working to avoid. If we just stood here and didn’t do anything, and one day in July or August we told everybody that the company was near liquidation and that we were going to lay off 10,000 or 15,000 people, that would be far more demoralizing. That would be irresponsible,” Anderson said.

In the meantime, Amtrak announced it will suspend all Acela Express service in the Northeast Corridor on Monday.

Northeast Corridor service will be covered by a schedule of Northeast Regional trains operating at 40 percent of the regular weekday schedule.

Until now Amtrak had suspended only a small number of Acela Express trains.

Acela service carried 3.5 million in 2019 of the 12.5 million ridership in the Northeast Corridor.

Other service cuts today are set to be implemented in California and North Carolina.

Flynn’s Success Will Hinge on His Political Skills

March 2, 2020

It remains to be seen what, if any, changes will result from the installation of William Flynn as Amtrak’s next president and CEO next month.

Like the lumbering Boeing 747s that Flynn’s soon to be former company Atlas Air flies in cargo service, Amtrak is not something that can be turned around quickly or rapidly raced upward to cruising altitude after takeoff.

No doubt some rail passenger advocates are happy to see Richard Anderson leave although he’ll continue as an adviser to Flynn through the end of the year.

Anderson at times showed an abrasive personality that made him a lightning rod of criticism.

Perhaps that was what the Amtrak board of directors thought was needed in 2018 but it may have decided that in 2020 a kinder, gentler CEO is needed.

The news release announcing Flynn’s hiring contained the type of laudatory language that is standard in public relations products announcing personnel changes.

There were a lot of words that didn’t say much of substance.

It gave little indication about what role Flynn sees for Amtrak as a transportation provider.

The release tried to portray Flynn’s hiring as a planned succession although that might be boilerplate language that means little.

Anderson’s leaving had been foreshadowed in a Wall Street Journal article earlier this year yet the Amtrak board of directors had not given any public signals that Anderson’s departure was imminent.

Nor has the Amtrak board in public expressed any concerns or discontent with how Anderson has managed the passenger carrier.

The news release and a statement sent to Amtrak employees were filled with the type of self-congratulatory statements about how ridership is up and finances have improved.

Amtrak has hinted at breaking even this year on an operating basis which should be not confused with making a profit, something that has never happened in the company’s 48-year history.

More than likely Flynn was hired because of his executive experience rather than his views of the role of rail passenger service in the United States.

If asked, he’ll say all the right things about how the future of rail service is bright.

But I would be surprised if Flynn’s hiring means that certain things that have been lost during the Anderson regime, such as full service dining cars on the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited, will make a comeback.

Don’t expect the new rules Amtrak just implemented to make it tougher to get refunds or change your travel plans to go away.

Private car owners and those wishing to charter an Amtrak train probably won’t see significant changes in Amtrak rules and policies.

In short, I don’t look for Flynn to herald the second coming of W. Graham Claytor Jr.

It may be that Amtrak’s directors decided Anderson had become too toxic on Capitol Hill to win the type of budgetary and policy victories that Amtrak is eyeing.

The passenger carrier has an ambitious legislative agenda that is tied in with a new surface transportation bill that Congress needs to pass to replace the one that expires on Sept. 30.

Among other things, Amtrak wants funding to establish new corridor-oriented services, laws that would gives it a stronger position when talking with his host railroads about on-time performance, and capital funding for new equipment and infrastructure.

There had been speculation earlier that Anderson’s replacement would be current Amtrak senior vice president Stephen Gardner.

Instead, Amtrak’s board hired another airline executive. Flynn has four decades of transportation industry experience but it is worth noting that he has spent his career in the private sector.

Such Amtrak heads as David Gunn and Joseph Boardman had experience in the public sector.

Amtrak may on paper be akin to a private company, but given its reliance on public funding it has much in common with a non-profit agency even if it tries to operate like a private company.

Ultimately, what is important is that Amtrak’s CEO understands not just how railroads operate but how to play the political games inherent in being an entity that has two boards of directors – the one that hired you and the members of Congress who control your funding and so much about the environment in which your company operates.

Amtrak to Get New CEO on April 15

March 2, 2020

Amtrak will get a new president on April 15 and the passenger carrier has again dipped into the airline industry executive ranks.

William Flynn

William Flynn, who will replace Richard Anderson, is currently CEO of Atlas Air Worldwide but once worked as an executive at CSX.

Flynn’s appointment was announced late Monday morning after the news was broken by The New YorkTimes.

An Amtrak news release said Anderson, 64, a former CEO of Delta Air Line and Northwest Airlines, will continue at Amtrak as a senior adviser through the end of the year.

Flynn, 66, will be the third time Amtrak president and CEO in just over three years.

Charles “Wick” Moorman, the former CEO of Norfolk Southern, stepped down on Dec. 31, 2017 and Anderson, who had been co-CEO of Amtrak with Moorman since July 2017.

Moorman had joined Amtrak on Sept. 1, 2016. He replaced the late Joseph Boardman.

Flynn held several positions at CSX between 2000 and 2002, including the post of senior vice president of strategic planning and senior vice president at CSX Transportation.

He also held senior management positions at CSX subsidiary Sea-Land Services.

Atlas has three carriers, Atlas Air, Polar Air Cargo and Southern Air. It has 3,200 employees and operates in 89 countries.

It carries air freight and operates military and passenger charter flights.

Flynn has been at Atlas for 13 years and has four decades of transportation and logistics experience

One of Atlas’ customers is Amazon. News reports indicate that Atlas has has been embroiled in tense labor negotiations with its pilots over the past three years.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Flynn’s Amtrak salary will be $475,000 and he is expected to serve as CEO for five years.

That is relatively small amount compared to the $6.9 million in compensation, including base pay and bonuses, which Flynn earned at Atlas in 2018.

Flynn received his undergraduate degree from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree from the University of Arizona.

Amtrak Sends Its FY2021 Funding Wish List to Congress

February 22, 2020

Amtrak has submitted its wish list to Congress, which includes funding in fiscal year 2021 of $1.33 billion for the National Network and $714 million.

The passenger carrier also is seeking $300 million to develop new corridors and contains various capital requests to cover the costs of replacing diesel locomotives and rebuilding passenger cars used on long-distance trains.

The carrier said it is “on track to achieve operational breakeven in FY2020.”

What Amtrak is seeking is far below what the Trump administration has proposed that it receive.

The administration’s budget request for FY2021 seeks $936 million for Amtrak, which the carrier notes is a 53 percent cut in the $2 billion funding it received from Congress for FY2020.

Amtrak said it appreciated the Trump administration’s focus on expanding intercity rail passenger service to underserved cities and corridors, but the carrier said that if its funding falls to what has been proposed by the administration that would “have significant negative impacts on vital capital projects and initiatives across Amtrak’s network and put at jeopardy the Corporation’s continued strong financial and operating performance.”

The budget request contains $4.9 million for Amtrak’s share of the rebuilding of the track used in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico by the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

The Rail Passengers Association said its review of the Amtrak’s budget request found that the carrier is seeking $2 billion toward replacement of Superliner and Amfleet II equipment, which is used most of the time for long-distance trains, and $1.5 billion for the replacement of locomotives used in the national network.

Amtrak is also seeking $510 million for equipment that would be used in new corridors.

Although the budget request does not name any specific new corridors that Amtrak wishes to develop, it gives some detail about how the carrier proposes to fund those services.

Amtrak would fund up to 100 percent of the initial capital costs to develop new corridor services.

Operating and ongoing capital costs would be funded on a sliding scale over the next five years ranging from 100 percent by Amtrak in the first two years to 50 percent in the fifth year.

State support would begin in the third year at 10 percent, increase to 20 percent in the fourth year and 50 percent in the fifth year.

The budget document said these shares are of fully-allocated operating losses and capital costs.

After the fifth year of operation the expenses of a corridor would become subject to the terms of Section 209 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act which requires that routes of 750 miles or less must be state-supported routes.

As for when Amtrak will begin to identify the emerging corridors, the budget request said that process will begin within one year after the date of enactment of Amtrak’s reauthorization.

The FAST Act that authorizes Amtrak expires on Sept. 30. Although Congress may adopt a new surface transportation authorization law by that date, some observers have suggested lawmakers may extend the existing authorization via a continuing resolution as they continue to hammer out the contentious political issues surrounding a new transportation authorization law.

That means a new authorization could be pushed into 2021.

Amtrak said in its budget request that once it has been reauthorized, it will consult with state departments of transportation, local municipalities, host railroads, and other stakeholders.

Those conversations will lead to the development of plans that Amtrak will submit to the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as the House and Senate authorizing committees for high-potential corridors.

Amtrak said that at that time it will show proposed routes, schedules and frequency of service information. It will also provide estimates of ridership, revenue and capital investment requirements.

“Amtrak shall consider market conditions, stakeholder funding commitments, public subsidy per passenger, and host railroad cooperation when selecting routes,” it said.

It is noteworthy that the budget request said Amtrak may (emphasis added) cover up to 100 percent of the capital costs needed to launch a route.

It will negotiate memorandums of understanding with state sponsors and, presumably, those negotiations will involve capital costs to be contributed by the states.

“As the nation’s passenger rail provider, Amtrak takes a system-wide lens to these investments to ensure efficiencies in operations, procurement, and supporting services,” the budget document said.

It is likewise noteworthy that the budget request in describing the new corridors program does not say per se that these corridors are intended to replace the long-distance trains.

At the same time, the budget request does not specifically say, as does the Trump administration FY2021 budget request does, that long-distance trains should be phased out in favor of new corridor services.

It does say that the funding being requested for new corridors is intended to supplement the funding requests for the Northeast Corridor and national network in FY2021.

That appears to be a way of saying that Amtrak will put off for at least another fiscal year the matter of carving up the long-distance routes into a series of corridor services.

The Amtrak budget request seeks to frame the new corridors program as an expansion of the Amtrak network and uses such language as the need to provide efficient and effective service.

It also repeats the boilerplate language that Amtrak President Richard Anderson has been espousing about the need to keep up with a changing and evolving transformation of population, demographic and travel needs.

Amtrak’s budget request can be found at https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/corporate/reports/Amtrak-General-Legislative-Annual-Report-FY2021-Grant-Request.pdf

Congressman Prodding Anderson over Food Service

February 15, 2020

A Tennessee congressman is demanding that Amtrak provide “accurate and credible evidence” that Amtrak ridership supports its decisions to end dining car service on some long-distance routes.

In a letter to Amtrak President Richard Anderson, Rep. Steve Cohen, a senior member of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, reminded Anderson of their exchange over Amtrak onboard service during a committee hearing last November.

During that hearing, Cohen asked Anderson to provide market research and customer questionnaire responses that led to the changes.

Cohen said in a news release that Amtrak provided only “some vaguely worded surveys in which customer food service preferences, and an assessment of food service options, were not sought.”

During that hearing Cohen also dredged up a grudge that stemmed from Anderson’s time as CEO of Northwest Airlines.

Cohen reminded Anderson that at an April 2008 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, he testified that Memphis would retain its hub and its non-stop flight to Amsterdam after its merger with Delta Air Lines.

However, after the merger, Delta shut down the Memphis hub and ended the Amsterdam flight. Anderson went on to serve as Delta’s CEO.