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FROM WASHINGTON

DECEMBER 10, 1997.



Amtrak Pres. Downs Resigns

.c The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP)Dec.11 / 1:30am - Less than two weeks after President Clinton signed a multibillion-dollar rescue package for Amtrak, the passenger railroad's president resigned Wednesday.

Thomas M. Downs, who has run the railroad since 1993, said it was time for him to move on. He said he had no immediate plans for the future. ``It is time for me to move on to new challenges and, hopefully, take some time off,'' Downs said. ``I am extremely proud of the progress Amtrak has made toward not only self-sufficiency but a promising, growing role as America's national passenger rail service.''

On Dec. 2, Clinton signed legislation sought by Amtrak giving the railroad $3.4 billion for regular operating and capital expenses through 2000 but dictating changes in management practices, labor rules and legal liabilities designed to make it more competitive. After 2000, the railway will also be able to contract out more work than is now allowed.

In addition, the railroad will receive an additional $2.3 billion for capital investments such as new cars and track improvements.

The Washington Post quoted anonymous sources as saying that Amtrak's seven-member board of directors was unhappy with Downs' handling of labor negotiations with the track maintenance workers union. The Clinton administration had asked board members to enter the negotiations after Downs refused to meet directly with the union. A new labor agreement with the union was reached last month

George Warrington, who heads Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service, will serve as acting president while the board searches for a successor to Downs.

Search on for New Amtrak President


.c The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) Dec.11/ 5:30am- A search is on for a successor to Amtrak President Thomas M. Downs, who unexpectedly resigned less than two weeks after President Clinton signed a multibillion-dollar rescue package for the passenger railroad.

Until a successor is named, George Warrington, who heads the Northeast Corridor unit, will serve as acting president.

Downs, who has run the railroad since 1993, did not offer a reason for his resignation Wednesday other to say that he felt it was time for him to move on.

``I am extremely proud of the progress Amtrak has made toward not only self-sufficiency but a promising, growing role as America's national passenger rail service,'' Downs said. ``In particular, our team at Amtrak has begun building a world-class high-speed rail system that will pay benefits to this country well into the next century.''

The Washington Post quoted anonymous sources as saying that Downs apparently was pushed out by the Amtrak board, upset over his handling of labor negotiations.

On Dec. 2, with Amtrak facing a possible bankruptcy, Clinton signed legislation that gave the railroad $3.4 billion for regular operating and capital expenses through 2000 and required changes in management practices, labor rules and legal liabilities designed to make the Amtrak more competitive.

In addition, the railroad will receive $2.3 billion for capital investments such as new cars and track improvements.

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WASHINGTON (AP)Dec.11 / 1:30am - Less than two weeks after President Clinton signed a multibillion-dollar rescue package for Amtrak, the passenger railroad's president resigned Wednesday.

Thomas M. Downs, who has run the railroad since 1993, said it was time for him to move on. He said he had no immediate plans for the future.

``It is time for me to move on to new challenges and, hopefully, take some time off,'' Downs said. ``I am extremely proud of the progress Amtrak has made toward not only self-sufficiency but a promising, growing role as America's national passenger rail service.''

On Dec. 2, Clinton signed legislation sought by Amtrak giving the railroad $3.4 billion for regular operating and capital expenses through 2000 but dictating changes in management practices, labor rules and legal liabilities designed to make it more competitive. After 2000, the railway will also be able to contract out more work than is now allowed.

In addition, the railroad will receive an additional $2.3 billion for capital investments such as new cars and track improvements.

The Washington Post quoted anonymous sources as saying that Amtrak's seven-member board of directors was unhappy with Downs' handling of labor negotiations with the track maintenance workers union. The Clinton administration had asked board members to enter the negotiations after Downs refused to meet directly with the union. A new labor agreement with the union was reached last month

George Warrington, who heads Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service, will serve as acting president while the board searches for a successor to Downs.

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Last Updated 12/14/97 12:40 hrs. EST



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