Don Philips Speculation

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Don Philips Speculation

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue May 01, 2018 10:42 am

Tadman wrote:Don Phillips would not stop lambasting Boardman and I got really tired of it. His work became unreadable. He was at least partially right, but he was unreadable. The dark underside of the Boardman administration was a serious lack of policy, consistency, and reliability.


Of off topic interest to Mr. Dunville and likely others, there is no Don Phillips column in June TRAINS. No explanation such as "Don Phillips is taking the month off".

Let the speculation begin.
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Re: No more charter trains

Postby ryanov » Tue May 01, 2018 5:04 pm

I am told by a friend who follows lowercase trains and uppercase Trains far more closely than I do that Mr. Phillips was fired. I had not personally heard of him.

I forget whether one can reliably believe this site, but it is confirmed here: https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/ ... ?4,4522523
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Re: No more charter trains

Postby Tadman » Tue May 01, 2018 8:12 pm

Now that's interesting.

I liked his work decades ago. I intensely disliked his work over the last few years, perhaps we could call that period "the boardman years".... All he did was rant about the Boardman administration. Then he ran that absurd article about how his buddy whispered in his ear that Penn Central execs were caught on film with naked callgirls and that's why congress denied them a bailout. It all added up to the boy who cries wolf.

At least it seemed so until Amtrak has a pile of high profile accidents. Some not their fault, some are. The incredulity of the Cascades accident (claiming everybody was properly familiarized with territory because they rode backwards in the dark) was astounding, and I have to admit, it looks like Mr. Phillips was right. But he was right the wrong way, because all he did was rant. If he wanted to expose a bad safety culture at Amtrak, why not do an in-depth investigative report? Sell it to NBC while you're at it, maybe let a congressman in on it.

Instead, his journalism was mostly along the lines of "my sources are telling me these bad things and you should believe them". That's not much help.

Perhaps if he had done a deep dive on safety under Boardman 5+ years ago, we wouldn't have such a drastic change in PV and charter train policy. Part of me thinks this is an attempt to get back to basics and focus on safety and efficiency.
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Re: No more charter trains

Postby Backshophoss » Tue May 01, 2018 9:33 pm

Seems like the the corporate heads at Kalmbach got an earful from someone about Mr Phillps,agree with the lack of followup on
Mr Boardman's " reported lack" of safety culture.
Wonder how long he lasts at PTJ?
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Re: No more charter trains

Postby David Benton » Wed May 02, 2018 2:12 am

I think this process was started some time ago.When Brian Solomon started his column, it was mentioned the intention was to replace one of the other two opinion columns, ( Don Phillips or Fred Frailey, neither getting any younger). So it may not be as dramatic as been fired, because they upset someone, though I guess Phillips could have been put on "notice' back then . Gotta be 2 years ago at least.
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Re: No more charter trains

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed May 02, 2018 9:27 am

Mr. Benton, Mr. Solomon presents himself as nothing other than a railfan. Yeah, rah rah!

Both Messrs. Frailey and Phillips have solid journalist credentials within their CV's. I met Mr. Frailey during '76 when he was doing a story on Chicago based railroads for Newsweek. Mr. Phillips was with both the Washington Post and The New York Times. Neither of those papers are known for hiring "powder puff" reporters. If the "Cubs" they hire turn out to be such, they will be on the "birthday beat at the zoo" - and with someone else.

Again. I apologize to this Forum for the off-topic diversion, which could well end up split as it's own topic over at Mr. Audley's Media Forum.
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Re: Don Philips Speculation

Postby John_Perkowski » Wed May 02, 2018 9:37 am

Admin Note

Split and moved from the no more charter trains thread.
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Re: Don Philips Speculation

Postby amtrakhogger » Wed May 02, 2018 6:48 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Tadman wrote:Don Phillips would not stop lambasting Boardman and I got really tired of it. His work became unreadable. He was at least partially right, but he was unreadable. The dark underside of the Boardman administration was a serious lack of policy, consistency, and reliability.


Of off topic interest to Mr. Dunville and likely others, there is no Don Phillips column in June TRAINS. No explanation such as "Don Phillips is taking the month off".

Let the speculation begin.


Finally, we get one month without an Amtrak bashing column.👍
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Re: Don Philips Speculation

Postby JayBee » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:50 am

Note that Mr. Phillips is now at Railway Age.
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Re: Don Philips Speculation

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:52 am

Mr. JayBee, while I'm not certain of Mr. Phillips standing with Railway Age, be it Guest Columnist or Staff, his column remains at Passenger Train Journal. To my surprise, such is Open Content:

http://passengertrainjournal.com/state- ... nts-amtrak

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Re: Don Philips Speculation

Postby Engineer Spike » Sat Sep 29, 2018 10:02 pm

I’ve thought that Phillips was a blowhard. I sometimes participate on Freddy F.’s forum. He does lots of complaining about Amtrak. I do disrespect his view on Hunter Harrison, and how the industry was revolutionized by him. I have been on the inside of his handy work twice, and can conclude that it is not sustainable, in the long run. His Trains article about Guilford and the Finks was not too good. You can see that he had to stroke David, Sr.’s ego a bit to get the interview. Big Dave did come across as the a$$ that he is.

As for Brian Solomon, I have respect for him, and we have been friends for many years. He interviewed me for a book about diesel locomotives. He also got information from my late uncle, and a mutual friend, who works on Guilford. With this said, I can confidently confirm that he gets valid information. That doesn’t always seem to be a constant for the Klambake elite writers. How is Greg McDonnell their diesel locomotive expert? I’ve read that he was a firefighter. This would be like me trying to point out the differences of a Hahn, vs. American LaFrance pumper.
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Re: No more charter trains

Postby BR&P » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:00 am

Tadman wrote: Then he ran that absurd article about how his buddy whispered in his ear that Penn Central execs were caught on film with naked callgirls and that's why congress denied them a bailout.


I have no knowledge on that allegation other than what was written. But I fail to see what is so absurd. It's not far-fetched to think some "guests" were on board the plane - incidents of railroaders and loose women could fill several books and nobody is naive enough to think it only happened at the switchtender level.

And IIRC the Phillips story did not say Congress as a body denied funding because of the incident. Rather, one key (and powerful) politician allegedly had the info and dug his heels in. In a great many cases, that's exactly how things get done - or NOT done - in Washington.

It's unlikely, given the passing of time, that any new information on the alleged incident will come forth, and we will never know for certain. But personally I don't find the possibility absurd at all.
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