Joseph H. Boardman

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Joseph H. Boardman
President and CEO of Amtrak
In office
November 25, 2008 – September 1, 2016
Preceded byAlexander Kummant
Succeeded byCharles "Wick" Moorman
11th Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration
In office
April 28, 2005 – November 25, 2008
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byAllan Rutter
Succeeded byJoseph C. Szabo[1][2]
Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation
In office
GovernorGeorge Pataki
Preceded byJohn Daly
Succeeded byThomas J. Madison, Jr.
Personal details
Born(1948-12-23)December 23, 1948
Taberg, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 7, 2019(2019-03-07) (aged 70)
Pasco County, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationCornell University (BS)
Binghamton University (MS)
ProfessionTransportation professional

Joseph Houston Boardman (December 23, 1948 – March 7, 2019) was an American transportation executive who served as President and CEO of Amtrak from 2008 to 2016. Boardman was the longest-serving Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) from July 1997 until resigning to head the FRA.[3] Before taking over Amtrak, Boardman had been the Administrator of the United States Federal Railroad Administration. Boardman became the second-longest serving head of Amtrak, after W. Graham Claytor, Jr. in the 1980s. Railway Age magazine named Boardman as its 51st "Railroader of the Year" in its January 9, 2014, issue.[4]

Early life and military service[edit]

Boardman was a lifelong resident of New York State, born the second of eight children born and raised on a dairy farm in Oneida County, which two of his siblings currently operate. In 1966, he volunteered for military service in the United States Air Force, serving in South Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.[citation needed] Upon receiving an honorable discharge from the Air Force, he studied Agriculture Economics at Cornell University, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1974, and graduated with a master's degree in Management Science from Binghamton University in 1983.[5]


Early positions[edit]

Boardman's first jobs in transportation were managing the transit authorities for the cities of Rome and Utica in Upstate New York.[6] In 1981, he became the commissioner of public transportation for Broome County, New York, which includes the city of Binghamton.[5][6] He left government service in 1988 to start his own transportation management company, called Progressive Transportation Services.[5]

New York Governor George Pataki nominated Boardman in 1997 to serve as commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). Boardman went on to become the longest-serving commissioner in NYSDOT history, remaining in that position from July 1997 through May 2005.[3] During his term as commissioner, he also served a stint as chair of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Rail Transportation (SCORT).

Federal Railroad Administration[edit]

In March 2005, Boardman was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the administrator of the United States Federal Railroad Administration. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 28, 2005, and began working as FRA Administrator on June 1 of that year.[7][8]

Boardman was the 11th Federal Railroad Administrator. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of operations for the nearly eight hundred-person organization. This included managing comprehensive safety programs and regulatory initiatives; enforcement of FRA safety regulations; development and implementation of national freight and passenger rail policy; and oversight of diverse research and development activities in support of improved railroad safety. During this time, he also served as chairman of the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board (TRB).

Early years at Amtrak career (2008–2009)[edit]

The Amtrak Board of Directors on November 25, 2008, announced that Boardman had been appointed to a one-year term as President and CEO of the railway to replace Alexander Kummant.[9][10] In January 2010, Amtrak announced that Boardman's appointment had been extended indefinitely.[11]

Railway rescues

Amtrak has worked closely with states using stimulus funds to purchase 130 next-generation bi-level cars[12] and 35 next-generation diesel locomotives to upgrade corridor service in the Midwest, California, and Washington State.[13] Other major orders for new equipment are in the works, marking the beginning of a renewal of Amtrak's aging fleet. Using stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Amtrak rescued from the wreck yards more than 90 railcars, rebuilt them, and put them into service. The added capacity allowed Amtrak's passenger totals to grow by record numbers, more than one million year-over-year in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and revenues increased as well.[citation needed]

Boardman led an effort to augment and replace Amtrak's fleet of high-speed Acela Express trains with about 28 new trainsets. The company issued a RfP (request for proposals) in December, 2013. Offers were due by May, 2014, with negotiations likely to continue until the end of the year before a contract could be signed. The new trains would substantially increase capacity on the Northeast Corridor, where Amtrak shows an operating profit.[citation needed] Major new orders of equipment include 70 electric locomotives for the Regionals and the long-distance trains operating over the Northeast Corridor.[14] Another is for 130 Viewliner II diners, crew dorm-baggage cars, sleepers, and baggage cars to replace worn-out "Heritage" equipment (built before Amtrak was formed in 1971) for the Eastern long-distance trains.[15] The first of the ACS-64 electric locomotives entered service on February 7, 2014. The Viewliner II cars began service later that year.[citation needed]

Recent Amtrak developments (2013–2016)[edit]

In May 2013, Boardman signed to a two-year "renewable" contract. Board Chairman Anthony Coscia said, "We are extremely pleased with the progress Amtrak has made under the leadership of Joe Boardman".[3] Boardman's salary during 2013 was $350,000.[16] At Amtrak, Joe Boardman oversees an organization that carried a record 31.2 million passengers and had $3 billion in revenue while employing more than 20,000 people in fiscal year 2013.[citation needed] Since Boardman’s appointment, Amtrak made progress cutting debt, purchasing new equipment, and improving infrastructure,[17] with cost recovery reaching a new company peak of 93% in 2014.[18] E-ticketing and electronic payment for on-board snacks, meals, and beverages have been put in place, as well as Wi-Fi on most trains.[19] Boardman is perhaps the longest serving high-level Republican appointee under President Barack Obama.

On December 9, 2015, Boardman announced in a letter to employees that he would be leaving Amtrak in September 2016. He had advised the Amtrak Board of Directors of his decision the previous week. Boardman's successor, former Norfolk Southern Railway President & CEO Charles "Wick" Moorman, was named in August 2016 and took over on September 1, 2016.[20] P42DC unit 42 was later named after Boardman.

Personal life and death[edit]

Boardman and his wife, Joanne, had three children. He suffered a stroke while on vacation in Florida on March 5, 2019, and died on March 7.[21][22]


Railway Age magazine named Joseph H. Boardman as its 51st "Railroader of the Year" in its January 9, 2014, issue, which featured a column about him and a printed interview with him.[4] A video of the interview can be seen at[23]

Boardman's name currently adorns the side of AMTK P42DC locomotive #42, a locomotive that is painted in tribute to America's Veterans from America's railroad.

See also[edit]


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document: "U.S. Department of Transportation / Joseph H. Boardman, Federal Railroad Administration".

  1. ^ Progressive Railroading (April 30, 2009). "Senate confirms Szabo's nomination as FRA administrator". Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. Archived from the original on July 19, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  2. ^ "Senate confirms UTU's Szabo to FRA". UTU News. United Transportation Union. April 29, 2009. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-23. Retrieved 2014-01-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief. "Railroader of the Year: All Aboard with Joe Boardman – Railway Age". {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ a b c Vaughn, Natasha (13 March 2019). "Joseph Boardman, former Broome transportation head and Amtrak president, dies at 70". Press & Sun-Bulletin. Binghamton, New York. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  6. ^ a b Wanek-Libman, Mischa (8 March 2019). "Former Amtrak head Joseph H. Boardman dies following stroke". Mass Transit Magazine. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Joseph H. Boardman Begins Role as New Administrator for Federal Railroad Administration With Focus on Rail Safety and Intercity Passenger Rail Reform" (Press release). FRA. June 1, 2005. Archived from the original on 2005-10-28. Retrieved 2005-06-06.
  8. ^ "Senate confirms Joseph Boardman, New York state official, to head FRA". Trains News Wire. May 4, 2005. Retrieved 2005-05-05.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Amtrak Selects Transportation Industry Veteran as President & CEO" (Press release). Amtrak. November 25, 2008. Archived from the original on December 29, 2008. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  10. ^ "Boardman named new Amtrak CEO". Kalmbach Publishing. November 25, 2008. Archived from the original on August 16, 2011. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  11. ^ "Boardman to head Amtrak for 'indefinite' period". Progressive Railroading. January 5, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
  12. ^ "receive the Contract Award for 130 Bi-Level Passenger Cars from Caltrans and IDOT". Archived from the original on 2019-04-16. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
  13. ^ DVV Media Group GmbH. "Siemens selected for 200 km/h US passenger locomotive order". rwg.
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-09. Retrieved 2013-12-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2014-01-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Nixon, Ron (May 23, 2013). "Amtrak Extends Contract of Its President" – via
  17. ^ "Amtrak Board Extends Contract of Joe Boardman: Press Release by Amtrak" (PDF).
  18. ^ Indianapolis-Chicago Amtrak service extended to April 1 (Associated Press, February 2, 2015) Archived April 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-23. Retrieved 2014-01-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Amtrak Names Industry Veteran Wick Moorman President and Chief Executive Officer". August 19, 2016.
  21. ^ Johnston, Bob (March 7, 2019). "Joe Boardman, former Amtrak president, dies". Trains Magazine. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  22. ^ Roberts, Sam (11 March 2019). "Joseph Boardman, 70, Amtrak Chief During Record Growth, Dies". The New York Times.
  23. ^ William Vantuono. "Interview with Joe Boardman, Railway Age's 2014 Railroader of the Year – Railway Age".

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Alexander Kummant, William Crosbie (interim)
President of Amtrak
2008 – 2016
Succeeded by