Al Engel: “A learned passion—each train wreck has a story and a lesson”

October 30, 2014

Remarks by 2014 W. Graham Claytor Jr. Award for Distinguished Service to Passenger Transportation recipient Al Engel at Railway Age’s 21st Passenger Trains on Freight Railroad Conference, Oct. 29, 2014.

Thank you Bill [Vantuono], for that generous introduction and whatever you may have had to do with influencing my selection for this award. My congratulations to you and the Railway Age team for your 21st anniversary of this conference. The conference has become a staple in our industry for knowledge acquisition and networking.

I am humbled and honored to be selected for this recognition and accept the award on behalf of all those co-workers, mentors, and role models who helped me or inspired me along the way. I also want to recognize my wife, Nancy, for her general support and tolerance of my spending many weekends at various conferences advocating for a more balanced surface transportation policy.

I have little in common with the namesake for this award, except we both worked for Amtrak and have a passion for the importance of passenger rail. I am hardly in the same league as Graham Claytor, Jr. I was in the business at the time of his Amtrak tenure and have a great respect for Claytor’s leadership and am well aware of his lifetime achievements and his contributions to save and improve Amtrak. I can only hope to achieve a small measure of what he did for our industry.

I was asked to make some remarks but given no guidance on the topic. There isn’t much I can tell you about railroading you don’t already know, so I thought I would tell you why I believe in miracles and life after death. And no, this is not a religious sermon. First I’ll tell you some secrets about my personal evolution and then move on to the miracles and close with a view to the future.

Read the full remarks here.

Previous post:

Next post: