November Amtrak Report

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

1) The report is dated the 25th of January 2013 and posted two days later. It is about three weeks late. But is only 10 days later than the October report. I would expect that the December report would appear closer to schedule.

2) Hurricane Sandy prevented Amtrak from setting a new ridership record for November. Even so the Thanksgiving period was a record.

3) The GAAP operating loss for the first two months of FY 2013 was $201.5 million, or $50.4 million worse than the first two months of F2012. The cash operating loss was $79.5 million after subtracting depreciation and OPEBs (Other Post Employment Benefits). This compares to $33.9 million using the same parameters for the comparable period of FY 2012. The forecast is to have a cash loss of $432.3 million, which is an improvement over the forecast at the end of October 2012.

4) New York, California & Michigan have unsigned contracts for their corridor services. Oregon, Maine and Oklahoma are not listed as unsigned and presumably have been resolved.

5) Nine product lines are now showing profits for the month in excess of $50,000:

Acela $45.2 million, Northeast Regional $28.0 million, Cascades $3.0 million, NEC Specials 0.9 million, Washington-Lynchburg $0.7 million, Washington-Newport News $0.6 million, Chicago-St. Louis $0.6 million, Piedmont $0.1 million, and Downeaster $0.1 million. Kansas City-St. Louis is showing a nominal profit of less than $50,000. The Keystones are now losing money, as are the Non-NEC Specials. The Cascades, Chicago-St. Louis, and Downeasters are in addition to those listed last month.

If the contracts signed by Oregon and Maine contained back payments for previous months, this extra revenue may explain those two product lines.

6) Amtrak employment increased by 20 employees in November to 19,937.

7) Cash on hand on November 30, 2012 was $181.2 million, a decrease of $110.6 million from October 31, 2012. Restricted cash was $8.107 million, an increase of $13,000. The hurricane was one of the factors in the cash balance decreasing so much.

8) The payment of the capital leases by Federal DOT in October was such a large figure that the net interest expense was a negative figure (interest received was actually greater than interest paid) of $8.6 million. This makes interest paid so far this fiscal year of $22.7 million better than budget and $23.4 million improved over the comparable FY2012 year to date.

9) In November long-term debt decreased by $7.078 million of which $7.079 million was in capital leases offset by a nominal $1,000 increase in Equipment and other debt. Current maturities increased by $1.572 million. Total debt is now at $1.448 billion a decrease of $5.506 million from last month.

10) Authorized spending remained the same, however, Amtrak now predicts that only $1,155.771 million will actually be spent. This is a decrease of $33.819 million from the forecast for the year in the October report.  Departments with large decreases in forecast spending were: Engineering $12.3 million, Mechanical $18.886 million, Emergency Management (formerly Police & Safety) $3.915 million, and NEC IID $0.474 million. Increased spending of $1.135 million was forecast for Amtrak Technologies and $1.098 million in Marketing & Sales.

In the subprograms $2.155 million more is forecast for the special bridge program (presumably the Niantic River Bridge) and $4.153 million dollars less in passenger equipment acquisition.

In terms of actual capital spending spent YTD is $106.784 million. Major Bridge Special Program has spent $6.314 million and acquisitions of passenger equipment is now $0.298 million (increase of $0.233 million in November).

11) The combined ridership in October and November was 5,155,910 or 61,011 less than October and November combined in 2011.

12) The list of product lines that have increased by more than 10% over the comparable period of previous fiscal year grew to five:  NEC Special Trains up 109.4%; San Joaquin up 13.2%; Wolverine up 12.3%; Downeaster up 11.4% and Piedmont up 11.3%.

13) Engineering added two turnouts in November.

14) Mechanical overhauled 13 Amfleets, 9 Superliners, 2 Horizons, 1 Viewliner, and 1 Surfliner. Wilmington has overhauled 3 of the 16 Electric Locomotives that are scheduled for the entire FY2013.

15) Congress passed supplemental appropriation to address the disaster relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. In this appropriation was $32 million for Amtrak operations and $82 million for capital repairs and preventive projects.

Sequestration, however, remains on the table for the balance of it appropriations and Congress needs to appropriate funds for the remainder of the fiscal year.


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