TRANSPORT BRIEFS

TRANSPORT BRIEFS

NJ TRANSPORT OFFICIAL

NAMED AMTRAK PRESIDENT

WASHINGTON - Thomas M. Downs, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, has been named to head Amtrak, replacing W. Graham Claytor Jr., president and chairman of the national rail passenger carrier since 1982.

Mr. Downs, 50, will assume his new position Monday, upon the retirement of Mr. Claytor, who is 81.

Mr. Downs, a native of Kansas City, Mo., has a broad government and transportation background. It includes heading New York's Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, serving as city administrator in Washington and being executive director of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Urban Mass Transportation Administration.

He had been in charge of New Jersey's state DOT and headed the state's transit agency since 1990.

Before joining Amtrak, Mr. Claytor had served president of the Southern Railway and had been secretary of the Navy.

TRAIN DERAILS IN CRASH

WITH TRUCK, KILLING 1

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - An Amtrak train collided with a truck in central Florida Tuesday, derailing several cars and killing at least one person, sheriff's deputies said.

Initial reports said as many as 80 people were injured, including at least two of the eight crew members.

The engine and four passenger cars jumped the track when the train hit a tractor-trailer at a crossing. All of the passenger cars remained upright.

The train was operating on CSX Transportation Inc. tracks.

A CSX spokeswoman said the truck was apparently carrying a generator to a Tampa utility and got stuck on the crossing. She said the flashers were working and the gate came down on the truck.

The train carried 103 passengers and a crew of about eight, an Amtrak spokeswoman said. It was en route from Tampa to New York.

IBERIA SA SEEKS

TO CANCEL AIRBUS ORDER

MADRID, Spain - Spain's loss-wracked airline, Iberia SA, said Tuesday it wants to lighten its financial burden by canceling its 56 billion peseta ($400 million) contract with Airbus Industrie for eight Airbus-321 airliners.

"Obviously, Airbus will have to agree to this," said an Iberia spokeswoman, adding that Iberia is studying many different ways to cut costs on renovating its fleet.

According to Spanish press reports Tuesday, Iberia also is considering canceling its contract with Boeing Commercial Airline Co. for 13 B-757 airplanes.

Out of a total 104 billion peseta ($740 million) order for 16 airplanes, Boeing has already delivered three. According to the press reports, as Iberia cuts unprofitable routes, it has less need for the short-haul B-757 and A-321 planes.

REPORT: NORTHWEST

MAY MAKE STOCK OFFER

EAGAN, Minn. - Northwest Airlines may soon launch a widely anticipated public stock offering, a report in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press said Tuesday.

The paper said Northwest is expected to file documents this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a public equity offering in early 1994.

Northwest has declined to comment on specifics of a possible stock offering in apparent concern over violating Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.

The carrier was taken private in a $3.6 billion leveraged buyout in 1989.

Northwest must land $500 million in new capital, half of which must be equity, by 1996 or risk losing control of the company to labor.

LOT POLISH AIRLINES

PURSUES US PARTNER

WARSAW, Poland - LOT Polish Airlines wants to team up with a big U.S. carrier and tighten its grip on the domestic market to survive tough international competition, company officials said recently.

"We are still holding talks with Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines," said Jan Litwinski, LOT president.

LOT hopes to sign an agreement with a U.S. carrier before the end of the year to create a "strategic alliance," under which LOT and the other airline would share sales networks and coordinate flights and marketing.

Unlike similar agreements signed by other East European carriers, the alliance would not envisage any equity involvement by the foreign partner.