The Amtrak board of directors fired President and CEO David Gunn, citing money losses and a need to increase operating cost reductions.
David Hughes, the railroad's chief engineer, will serve as acting president and chief executive while the board searches for Gunn’s replacement.
Gunn, who led the national passenger railroad since May 2002, had come under fire for opposing Bush Administration plans to reform Amtrak by giving operating authority to private companies and the states.
Amtrak's board has four voting members, all Bush appointees.
The railroad received $1.2 billion in federal subsidies in the year that ended Sept. 30. Amtrak has posted $29 billion in losses during its 34 years.