WASHINGTON — Amtrak announced Monday that the former head of Delta Air Lines will become its new chief executive.
Richard Anderson, who also ran Northwest Airlines and most recently served as executive chairman of Delta’s board of directors, will immediately share chief executive officer duties with current CEO Wick Moorman through December and take over the post next year.
“There’s a lot more demand for passenger rail today. That brings with it a lot of challenges,” Amtrak Board Chairman Tony Coscia said in an interview. “We felt that we needed to bring in people who were really strong leaders of companies that are in transition, moving from the way their industry used to be to the way they need to be in the future.”
Anderson, who helped bring Delta out of bankruptcy, said in a statement that he was “passionate about building strong businesses that create the best travel experience possible for customers” and called it “an honor to join Amtrak at a time when passenger rail service is growing in importance in America.”
Moorman, who has been brought in as chief executive on an interim basis last September, will become an adviser to Amtrak in January.
He acknowledged in April that “problems with our tracks in Penn Station were a cause” of two recent derailments, including one characterized as minor that nevertheless left eight of 21 tracks out of service for four days.
The derailments were blamed on the condition of tracks and switches that Amtrak is responsible for maintaining.
The project to replace aging track and switches at Penn Station that will reduce NJ Transit rush hour service by 25 percent. It will take place from July 10 to Sept. 1.
The work will force passengers on New Jersey Transit’s Morris and Essex Midtown Direct trains to disembark in Hoboken and finish their trip to New York on PATH trains or ferries at no extra cost. Riders would get fare reductions of up to 63 percent for their inconvenience.
“The situation at Penn Station gone from bad to worse to intolerable,” the governors said in a letter to Moorman.