April Amtrak Report

I have read the April report, and these are the items that I found interesting.

1) The report is dated June 5, 2013, which while on time, is later than the two previous reports.

2) The comparison between April 2013 and April 2012 ridership was severely impacted by the shutdown of Boston as a result of the Marathon Bombing and the fact that Easter/Passover took place in March of 2013. I think the Cascades still had more mudslides in April this year as well.

3) As a result, Amtrak revenues and expenses were worse than budget for the first seven months of the year.

4) Amtrak has not revealed the status of any signed contracts with various states under 750 miles. I would be hope that some have been finalized by now since section 208 of PRIAA takes effect on October 1, 2013.

5) On the other hand Norfolk-Washington product line has bounced back into the black at $0.1 million making six product lines showing a surplus: Acela at $143.0 million, Northeast Regionals at $78.7 million, NEC Specials at $3.7 million, Washington-Lynchburg at $2.0 million, Washington Newport News at $1.1 million and the Washington-Norfolk slightly into the black.

6) Amtrak employment increased by 194 persons to 20,210 during April.

7) Cash on hand on April 30, 2013 was $248.4 million, an increase of $23.6 million. Restricted cash grew by $169,000.

8) Interest paid so far this year is $2.0 million better than budget and $31.4 million improved over last year.

9) In April, long term debt INCREASED by $10.968 million generated by a $18.792 million increase in the Railroad Improvement Financing Loan (RRIF) for the locomotives being built and $0.590 million increase in Equipment and other debt, offset by a decrease of $8.414 million in the Capital Leases. Current maturities increased by $2.337 million. Total debt is now $1.409 billion.

10) Authorized capital spending nudged upwards again to $1,249.411 million. Expected spending for the entire year continued to decrease to a projected level of $1,135.436 million. Projected spending increases were Mechanical (+$1.235 million) and Finance & Treasury of $0.311 million. Projected spending decreases were Engineering $0.802 million, NEC IID $0.240 million, Transportation $0.495 million, Marketing $0.201 million, and Emergency Management $2.192 million.

In subprograms, Major Bridges added an extra $0.106 and acquisitions remains unchanged.

As of April 30, 2013 Amtrak had actually spent $484.921 million of which $12.265 was for the Major Bridges project and Acquisitions $33.018 million (increase of $0.274 million).

11) Ridership for the first seven months of FY2013 was 17,751,287, an increase of 35,958 from the previous year. Last month the cumulative increase was 140,608 over the previous year, so if May is severely impacted by the derailment near Bridgeport we could fall behind.

The number of product lines where ridership was more than 10% from the same period last year was NONE.

12) Engineering's report for April included work done in March: 4 turnouts, 3 Bridge Decks retimbered, 2.5 miles of renewed electric catenary, 1 transformer and 22.2 miles of signal cable. The bulk of the new signal cable is being installed on New Haven- Springfield line.

13) Mechanical overhauled:  14 Amfleets, 8 Superliners, 2 Horizons, 1 Heritage Diner, 1 Viewliner and 1 Surfliner in April. Wilmington has now overhauled 9 of the 16 Electric Locomotives slated for FY2013.

14) The THUD committees in both the house and senate have not yet acted on their respective appropriation bills.

On the other hand the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's subcommittee on Railroads held another hearing in New York City on the NEC. Based on the remarks of the full committee chairman and the subcommittee chairman, it is very likely that any authorization bill passed by the house will contain significant money for the Northeast Corridor.


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