Long Island Rail Road celebrates tenure of deceased former president

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Charles Hoppe, the 34th president of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), recently passed away, stirring the LIRR to remember the many improvements and accomplishments in  ridership, on-time performance and reliability, among others, under Hoppe's watch.

Hoppe served as president from Apr. 2, 1990, to Aug. 31, 1994. During his tenure, the LIRR gained new vigor.

Hoppe improved the LIRR’s on-time performance to 93 percent in 1994, compared with 89 percent in 1989. Ridership also increased. Hoppe also took proactive steps to improve the reliability of train cars. Thanks to federal funding partners, LIRR was able to accomplish several goals, such as rehabilitating Harold Interlocking, a group of switches in Sunnyside, Queens, so that LIRR could combine its tracks with the Northeast Corridor of Amtrak.

“Hoppe initiated strategic rethinking in a number of areas, from developing new growth opportunities, to rethinking the role of freight, to identifying improved types of cars and locomotives, right down to the language used to run the railroad on a day-to-day basis,” Thomas Prendergast, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) chairman and CEO and Hoppe's successor, said. “The results of his efforts were both far-reaching and long term. He left the region with a railroad that was in far better shape than it had been.”

A memorial for Hoppe is scheduled at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Instead of sending flowers, it is asked that donations be sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library.

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