Amtrak has confirmed that efficiency measures in locomotive maintenance led to job cuts, but won’t confirm the extent of the reductions.
“The acquisition of the new ACS-64 locomotives has allowed us to retire older equipment. The new equipment’s enhanced design allows for more efficient maintenance and self-diagnosis of technical issues, allowing us to take quick corrective action and ensure locomotives are returned to service as quickly as possible,” Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods stated in an email message. “This efficiency has also allowed us to reduce our Delaware maintenance staff. We continue to look at component repair reductions that could demonstrate a positive cost benefit analysis.”
The News Journal reported that the U.S. government-owned railroad declined to say how many jobs were cut after an audit called for efficiency measures.
Amtrak is a major employer in Delaware with upwards of 1,000 employees, with dispatch, law enforcement, operations and maintenance centers in Wilmington and Bear. Job sites reported nearly two dozen open positions at Amtrak.
Amtrak has a maintenance site in Wilmington that is a century old. The Bear site was acquired in the 1980s from a private company.
The Wilmington Train Station is one of Amtrak’s top stops and perhaps its busiest mid-sized city stop. Amtrak makes a few stops in Newark and might step up service when the new station project is completed.
Amtrak is now headed by Richard Anderson, the former CEO of Delta and predecessor Northwest Airlines. Anderson is an experienced cost cutter and his no-nonsense style has passenger train enthusiasts worried that he may attempt to cut long-distance service that piles up big losses.
At the same time, the long-distance trains have strong support from Congress.
Amtrak posted a loss of nearly $969 million last year. The loss was lower than the $1 billion-plus in red ink a year earlier.