Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Amtrak

STREETSBLOG EXCLUSIVE: Andy Byford to Join Amtrak

Train Daddy Andy Byford’s new job? He’s running high-speed rail at Amtrak.

Former NYC Transit President and beloved “Train Daddy” Andy Byford will join Amtrak next month as an executive vice president, Streetsblog has learned.

Byford, who earned his nickname during his time running the MTA’s city bus and subway system from January 2018 to February 2020, returned to the United States last year after a stint in his native U.K. as the head of Transport for London.

At Amtrak, Byford will oversee the development of high-speed rail, according to an internal company memo. The fast train tech, which is commonplace in Asia and Europe, has historically eluded the U.S.

“Andy is widely respect in the industry and has a wealth of experience leading large transportation systems worldwide,” Amtrak officials said in an email to employees on Thursday. Byford’s first day will be April 10.

The cheery Brit’s tenure in New York was marked by increased on-time subway performance, the approval of $40 billion in proposed spending to modernize city subways and buses, and his very public squabbles and eventual falling out with then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was later forced to resign in a sexual harassment scandal.

Byford, who also served in executive transit roles in Sydney and Toronto, left New York on the eve of the pandemic, saying he had had enough of “interference” from the now-disgraced governor, with whom he sparred over the cancellation of NYCT’s long-planned L train shutdown.

“I needed to be left to run the system,” Byford told CBS New York’s Marcia Kramer shortly after his departure. “It got to a point where it was obvious … I was not going to be allowed to get on with what needed to be done.

“I had to make to my mind up, as a person with very strong principles, can I accept … a situation where I’m in a safety-critical role and the people are being given direction on operational matters behind my back,” he added.

Amtrak’s decision to hire Byford for a critical mission earned plaudits from Lisa Daglian, executive director of the MTA’s in-house Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee.

“Having Andy Byford in that role means the whole nation can benefit from having a ‘Train Daddy’ and his wealth of experience,” Daglian said.

“He’s lived and worked in places where high speed rail actually exists and is in a great position to help bring it here. He’s got excellent relationships within the MTA that will help smooth the way as conversations about a multitude of projects continue. And he understands the complexity of the system and its components — and mostly, how to put riders first.”

Neither Amtrak nor Byford responded immediately to requests for comment.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Disabled NYer’s are Victims of Gov. Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause

So many New Yorkers can’t use the closest subway station to their homes because they don't have an elevator. And Gov. Hochul just halted funding for 23 new lifts.

July 23, 2024

DOT Will Fast-Track Private Sidewalk E-Bike Charging Stations

The mayor announced a new sidewalk e-bike charging station initiative, along with progress on the e-bike battery swap program and more money to FDNY for educational outreach.

July 23, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: LEGO Finally Gets It Edition

Streetsblog has had our issues with LEGO over the years, but we're willing to forgive. Plus other news.

July 23, 2024

Speeding Fuels Pedestrian Death Crisis As Council Stalls ‘Sammy’s Law’ Changes

Pedestrian fatalities were up 27 percent in the first six months of the year compared to 2023.

July 23, 2024

Bike Rack Saves Pedestrians in Crash on Busy Brooklyn Street

The white Hyundai involved in the crash has been nabbed 10 times by city speed- and red-light cameras since Oct. 10, 2023, city records show.

July 22, 2024
See all posts