Andy Byford is pictured with Queen Elizabeth in May 2022.

Former transit chief Andy Byford returns to US to handle Amtraks’ high-speed program after stint in London


March 23, 2023 | 18:51

Byford is again.

Former metropolis bus and subway chief Andy Byford who turned the system round solely to be pressured out by the then governor. Andrew Cuomo will lead Amtrak’s nascent high-speed rail growth, the railroad introduced Thursday.

The appointment comes after Byford not too long ago returned to New York from London, the place he oversaw the completion of the town’s $22 billion Elizabeth Line system, becoming a member of two commuter rail traces that may run by way of the center of the town.

In his new position, Andy will develop and lead the execution of our long-term technique for [high speed rail]Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner wrote in an inside announcement. Andy is broadly revered within the trade and has intensive expertise driving giant transportation methods around the globe.

Andy Byford, then London Transport Commissioner, is pictured right here in Could 2022 escorting Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on a tour of a brand new station constructed as a part of the $22bn Crossrail challenge. The brand new subway line has formally began Elizabeth Line service.

Byford directed requests for remark to its new company.

The appointment comes because the Nationwide Railroad receives a few of the largest injections of funding because it was created within the Nineteen Seventies after spending offers made between President Joe Biden and Congress.

The infrastructure invoice handed in 2021 incorporates $66 billion for Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration for railroad-related initiatives, together with $22 billion put aside particularly for Amtrak enhancements and modernization.

Cash will assist pay for the substitute of Nixon-era railroad vehicles utilized by the railroad for regional service on the busiest Northeast Hall within the nation.

The hall can be dwelling to Amtrak’s solely high-speed service, the Acela, which is receiving model new, lighter, quicker trains which might be in testing and anticipated to be enter service this fall.

Earlier than coming to New York, Byford was head of the transit authority in Toronto, the place he repeatedly rode the prepare carrying a reputation tag so riders may establish and discuss to him. He introduced the apply to the Massive Apple, which helped him shortly win over skeptics and straphangers pissed off by years of divestments and operational meltdowns.
Toronto Star through Getty Photographs

We’re completely happy to share our Prepare Daddy, and we’re completely happy to share him and his expertise with the remainder of America, mentioned Lisa Daglian, head of the MTA’s Standing Residents Advisory Committee.

There are numerous actually large initiatives underway and underneath growth, like bringing Amtrak to Lengthy Island and constructing the East River Tunnels, issues that affect tens of hundreds of MTA riders, Daglian mentioned. It would assist to have somebody who is aware of the methods, who is aware of Amtrak, and who is aware of the MTA work to do it.

Byford turned a family title within the metropolis when it was taken over by the then governor. Andrew Cuomo to restore the subway system, after years of deferred upkeep and turmoil on the prime that led to service outages in 2016 and 2017.

Byford was fast to stipulate numerous short- and long-term initiatives aimed toward getting trains again on schedule:

He ordered a overview of the seemingly arbitrary pace limits positioned across the system that unnecessarily slowed trains; rail operations targeted on shortening stops to hurry commutes and forestall congestion all through the system; and retooled how stations are managed to enhance cleanliness and reply to complaints quicker.

Then-New York Metropolis Transit Chief Andy Byford speaks to reporters throughout a press convention at MTA headquarters in 2019.
Matthew McDermott for the NY Publish

Byford has additionally outlined a $40 billion program to switch the decades-old and problem-plagued site visitors light-based signaling system with a contemporary computerized system that permits rains to movement extra safely, shortly and nearer collectively.

Longtime MTA workers, from prepare drivers and station cleaners to the fits at company headquarters, praised Byford and his administration model, which helped restore morale.

He additionally shortly earned the general public’s affection by repeatedly driving the system carrying a reputation tag and a smile, providing straphangers some hope amid tortuous commutes.

A Brooklyn artist drew stickers of Byford’s face on the entrance of a prepare and affectionately known as the transit chief Prepare Daddy.

Cuomo seen this and publicly despised Byford for it.

Byford has all the time received approval for his behavior of driving the rails himself.
Gregory P. Mango for the NY Publish

The governor belittled Byford’s indicators program and staged an notorious press convention the place he proposed hiring Elon Musk to manufacture a wi-fi system; he held conferences with Byford’s subordinates however by no means invited his transit chief; and ultimately ordered an MTA reorganization that stripped Byford of lots of his duties.

Byford resigned in January 2020, blasting Cuomo as he walked out the door.

It is the governor’s prerogative to see who he needs, I perceive, however I merely would not settle for the truth that my folks have been scolded, given instructions, and me being intentionally excluded from these conferences, he he instructed WCBS-TV in an interview shortly after his departure. It is not proper.

He was shortly employed as London’s transport commissioner, overseeing the British capital’s roads, railways and buses through the coronavirus pandemic.

The MTA continued to hold out most of its applications after his departure, though lots of them have been rebranded to be a part of Cuomo’s Metro Motion Plan.

The company introduced one other batch of subway pace restrict will increase final 12 months, bringing quicker service to the A and a pair of, 3, 4, 5 trains.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and London Transport Commissioner Andy Byford trip an escalator throughout a tour of Bond Road Elizabeth line station in central London in October forward of the station’s opening.
PA pictures through Getty Photographs

In the meantime, work continues on the brand new sign system, referred to as CBTC.

CBTC is being put in on the Eight Avenue Subway to assist enhance the reliability of the A, C, and E trains. Officers not too long ago added the Fulton Road Subway by way of Brooklyn, which means the A and C can have the digital dispatching for many of their routes.

The Sixth Avenue subway can be anticipated to obtain CBTC, which the MTA hopes will assist enhance the efficiency of B/D/F/M trains by way of Manhattan.

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Author: ZeroToHero

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