July Amtrak Report

I have read the July 2012 Report and these are the things I found interesting:

1) The July report date is September 7, 2012 and posted on the 11th. This would be normal. The Cash flow sheet has not been revived, which is unfortunate because it was a handy source of information.

2) July set an all time monthly high in ridership. However, it still did not meet budget expectations. Expenses seem to be better controlled. The biggest overage is Employee Benefits, but no mention this month about health care costs. Amtrak in a press release indicates that August 2012 had more riders than August 2011 and September was likely to do so also. Therefore we should see Amtrak top 31 million riders for FY2012.

3) For the 5/6s of the fiscal year Amtrak is $86.7 worse than budget and forecast for the entire year at $138.2 worse than budget. This is the same as the previous month. The cash operational loss is still projected at $410.5 million, which is more than $400 million for FY2013 in Senate Appropriations and lot more than the $350 million in the House Bill.

4) Oregon still has not signed a contract with Amtrak for their corridor trains.

5) The GAAP loss for the year to date is $983.0 million, which is $54.8 million less for the same period last year. We do not know what the cash only difference is but if we subtract depreciation of $551.4 million and OPEB (other post employment benefits) of $50.3 million from the GAAP this equals $381.3 million. Doing the same for YTD of July 2011 ($1037.8 million less $491.9 million depreciation less $47.8 million OPEDs) yields a result of $498.1 million. This gives a presumed cash operating loss for FY2012 (YTD) that is $116.8 million better than the previous for the same period of time.

6) Eight product lines are running at a profit: Acela ($189.7 million) Northeast Regional’s ($73.2 million), Washington-Lynchburg ($3.2 million), Washington-Newport News (3.0 million), NEC Special Trains ($2.1 million), Non-NEC Special Trains ($0.7 million), Carolinian (0.7 million and Pere Marquette (0.1 million). A ninth product line, the Ethan Allen had an operating loss of less than $50,000 and would have had a profit if OPEDs were excluded.

7) Amtrak employment is now 19,982 Employees.

8) Cash on hand at the end of July was $299.2 million which is $41.6 million more than the previous month. Restricted cash is $8.388 million, which is $414,000 less than the previous month.

9) Interest rates are still at rock bottom. However another large payoff of capital leases, interest expense for the year to date is $10.5 million less than last year and $3.7 million better than budget.

10) Long term debt decreased by $92.441 million despite an increase of $10.773 million in the Railroad Improvement Financing (RRIF) Loan for the Electric Locomotives. The capital leases were reduced by $101.705 million and equipment and other debt went down by $1.509 million. Current Maturities also decreased by $7.473 million. Total Debt is now $1.537 billion.

11) Authorized capital spending increased by another $5.0 million split between Finance & Treasury, Amtrak Technologies, NEC IID and Marketing & Sales. This was offset by reductions in Engineering and Mechanical.

Forecast spending for FY 2012 is projected at $971,835,000, an increase of $26.348 million over the projection last month. The big forecast increases in actual spending were $32.507 million in Finance and Treasury, $3.601 million in Amtrak Technologies and $2.831 in Engineering. The big reductions in projected spending were $4.710 million in Mechanical, $4.524 million in Police & Safety and $1.756 in Real Estate.

In the year to date $774.270 million has been spent so far in the current year; major bridge project, presumably Niantic, at $41.030 million and acquisitions $9.131 million. Acquisitions almost doubled spending for the year over the previous month. Since the RRIF went up we can assume that most of this spending was on the electric locomotive order.

12) Ridership in July 2012 was an all time monthly high. For the year to date, the total ridership has been 25,983,882 and increase of 756,765. As noted above a final figure of over 31 million for the year ending September 30, 2012 is likely.

13) The list of product lines of 10% or more over last year remains the same. However the rate of growth for the Washington-Lynchburg train is slowing dramatically. The Empire Builder is doing well because last year it was cancelled completely on many occasions and ran on only part of the route on other days. The eight product lines are NEC Special Trains +157.2%, Empire Builder +19.0%; Washington-Lynchburg +15.7%; Piedmont +14.7%; Chicago-St. Louis +14.4%; Texas Eagle +14.2%; City of New Orleans +11.1% and Washington-Newport News +10.4%.

14) Engineering added 1 turnout, 1.3 miles of catenary renewal, and 0.6 miles of new signal cable replaced.

15) Amtrak Mechanical overhauled 12 Amfleets, 10 Superliners, 3 Horizons, 4 Heritage, 1 Viewliner, and 1 Surfliner.

16) The House and Senate have introduced a continuing resolution to fund through March 27, 2013. Amtrak appears to be funded at FY2012 levels. The new Niantic River Bridge is now partially open.


Rhode Island Representative to the National Association of Railroad Passengers' Council of Representatives