November 14, 2008 / 11:14 PM / 11 years ago

Amtrak CEO resigns, COO becomes interim head

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amtrak President and Chief Executive Alex Kummant has resigned after two years on the job, the U.S. passenger rail service said on Friday without providing a reason.

Chief Operating Officer William Crosbie will assume Kummant’s responsibilities for an interim period.

An Amtrak spokesman said he did not know where Kummant, a former Union Pacific Corp (UNP.N) executive, was going. A search for a permanent replacement is underway, he added.

Amtrak, also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp, is a quasi-governmental corporation whose preferred stock is held by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

It has seen a record spike in ridership this year due in part to high fuel prices, but executives have said new infrastructure investments are needed.

Last month, Crosbie told a Congressional hearing that Amtrak needed to expand routes, replace aging coaches and invest in electrical projects in the Northeast.

The U.S. Senate recently authorized $13 billion for Amtrak’s operating needs, capital projects and to reduce debt over five years.

For fiscal 2007, ridership totaled 25.8 million passengers. Amtrak says it has more than 70,000 passengers each day.

Amtrak operates a nationwide rail network in 46 states serving more than 500 destinations over 21,000 miles of routes.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage, editing by Richard Chang

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