A Tribute to George Warrington

Transit advocates lost a great champion when George Warrington passed away on December 24th. Warrington, 55, enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as a national leader in mass transit development and operations, with more than 30 years of experience in the transportation, transit and railroad industries.

Warrington is credited with turning NJ Transit into one of the best run and most used mass transit services in the country. He served as vice president and general manager of NJ Transit’s rail operations from 1980 to 1990, and then returned to run the agency from 2002 until last March.

As NJ Transit Executive Director, Warrington oversaw the biggest service expansion in NJ Transit’s recent history. Under Warrington’s leadership, NJ Transit launched the popular Midtown Direct Montclair service, Newark Light Rail and the River Line from Camden to Trenton. He also added train cars, seats and parking, and extended the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, dramatically increasing rail capacity across the system. In part because of these efforts, NJ Transit’s ridership has soared in recent years, reaching record levels in the first quarter of fiscal year 2008. A TSTC report found that more than 10 percent of New Jersey residents commute to work by transit, higher than any other state apart from New York.

Warrington is also recognized for successfully building support and advocacy for the $7.5 billion Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) project.

Before leading NJ Transit, Warrington ran Amtrak from 1998 to 2002. He helped deliver improvements along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and launched the nation’s first high speed rail line, the Acela Express. Warrington recognized that high quality, reliable train service could compete with airlines, particularly for short trips. The Acela Express has indeed taken significant market share away from the airlines in the Northeast Corridor.

Tri-State honored George Warrington for his cutting edge efforts to link transportation projects and policy to smart land use planning at our first New Jersey Gala last spring.

Funeral services will be held this weekend, and donations in his memory can be made to The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, 1111 Stewart Ave., Bethpage, N.Y. 11714.

2 Comments on "A Tribute to George Warrington"

  1. It was with absolute shock that I read about George’s passing on Christmas Morning. What an odd way to start a holiday…I would have much preferred coal.

    George wasn’t just the head of big transit agencies, he was a great guy. One of the things that helped me establish my own credibility as an advocate (besides working for TSTC) was he used to quote my testimony given on fare increases about the insanity of NJ’s transportation budgeting. I immediately went from being a newcomer to being someone that knew what they were talking about. I had been at TSTC less than a year and his recognition of our work meant a lot at the time.

    I’ll always remember George best not as the guy that ran the NJ Transit meetings, but the times exchanging information/gossip or just chatting (ironically, I teased him mercilessly about his smoking).

    New Jersey didn’t just loose a transit leader, we lost a great person. Even though I work on transit issues thousands of miles from this coast, I already miss his presence.

  2. I would add to the excellent tribute here that NJ Transit’s embrace of transit-oriented development really blossomed under George’s leadership, and echo Damien on George simply being a great guy.

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