Meet Marty Quinn
Winner of the 2015 ESPA Outstanding Customer Service Award
Would you select your train route and travel time based on which conductor was onboard that day? If you’ve ever met Amtrak conductor Marty Quinn, it wouldn’t surprise you to learn that he has that effect on his regular passengers. At least a third of the riders on his Albany to Toronto routes know him by name, or by the colorful stories he tells about Tomato Pie and other local highlights of the towns along the way.
A former law enforcement officer and assistant chief of the Frankfort Police Department, Marty began working with Amtrak eight years ago. His assistant conductor, Tim Boomhower, started just 30 seconds later giving Marty the slightest edge on seniority!
Marty, a winner of the 2015 Empire State Passengers Association (ESPA) Outstanding Customer Service Award, loves his job, which involves much more than just taking tickets. We asked Marty a few questions about what it’s like working as an Amtrak conductor.
Q: Marty, what do you enjoy most about your job?
A: This is the best job I’ve ever had in my entire life. It’s interacting with passengers, answering questions, helping families. I’ve been asked about becoming an engineer, but my personality is with the people.
Q: What was your best day on the job?
A: My partner and I helped save a man’s life last summer. He had a massive heart attack, and with two doctors onboard and the Amtrak defibrillator, we kept him alive. We worked with the dispatcher and the engineer and were able to stop the train in Ilion to him to the hospital.
Q: What would you like people to know about your job?
A: Some people don’t understand that the conductor is in charge of the train. We don’t actually drive the train. We tell the engineers when to go and when to stop. Every train has a conductor and an assistant conductor. Tim and I have worked together for years and developed a great friendship. We even have our own system of hand signals that learned through law enforcement.
Q: Besides recommending the Tomato Pie in Utica, what else do you tell passengers about?
A: I’ll point out where they can see bald eagles on the Mohawk River and on Lake Onondaga near Syracuse, the snow-covered southern Adirondack mountains in the winter, or where the rock climbers are in Little Falls in the summer.
Q: What else should we know about you, Marty?
A: I’ve been married to my beautiful wife, Betty, for 32 years, and she travels with me quite often. Also, I can ride a unicycle.