March Amtrak Report

I have read the March 2013 report and these are the things that I found interesting.

1) The report is dated April 29, 2013 and posted a day later. This makes two months in a row that the report was posted less than a month after its close.

2) Ridership set an all time record for a month, despite mudslides in Washington State that kept ridership on the Cascades down.

3) Both Amtrak revenues and expenses are better than budget for the first six months of the fiscal year.

4) Amtrak is not revealing the status of signed contracts with the various states for trains under 750 miles. Since section 208 (requiring full state sponsorship) goes into effect October 1, 2013 there may be more problems involved as Amtrak requests more money from each state.

5) The number of product lines showing surplus remain at five: Acela $117.7 million, Northeast Regionals at $64.7 million, NEC Special Trains at $3.4 million, Washington-Lynchburg at $1.7 million, and Washington-Newport News at $0.8 million. The new Washington-Norfolk train covered all expenses except OPEBs (Other post employment benefits).

6) Amtrak employment jumped by 106 to 20,016 at the end of March 2013.

7) Cash on hand on March 31, 2013 was $224.8 million, an increase of $9.05 million from the end of February. Restricted cash grew by $167,000.

8) Interest paid so far this year is $2.9 million, better than budget and 

$26.4 million improved over this point in FY 2012.

9) In March, long term debt decreased by $13.473 million led by a decrease of $14.119 million in Capital Leases and $0.137 million in Equipment and other Debt. The Railroad Improvement Financing Loan (RRIF) increased by $1.783 million. Current maturities also increased by $0.779 million. Total debt is now $1.396 billion.

10) Authorized capital spending was increased slightly to $1,249.266 million of which, only $1,138.043 million is expected to be spent in this fiscal year. Projected spending increases were: Engineering $3.360 million, Finance & Treasury $0.311 million, Emergency Management $0.957 million, and Marketing $0.227 million. Projected spending decreases were: Mechanical $5.341 million, NEC IID $0.25 million, and Transportation $1.036 million.

In subprograms Major Bridges is forecast to spend an additional $0.736 million and acquisitions are unchanged.

As of March 31, 2013 Amtrak had actually spent $392.603 million of which $12.664 was on the Major Bridges project and $32.744 million on acquisitions (an increase of $0.297 million from the previous month).

11) Ridership for the first six months of FY2013 was 15,092,044 or 140,608 more than the previous year. The number of product lines where ridership is up 10% or more from the same period in the previous year were two: Coast Starlight at 10.0% and the Palmetto at 10.5%. Amtrak is forecasting that for all of FY2013 a new record will be set.

12) Engineering's report for March has the exact figures as the comparable one for February, so I would assume that a reporting glitch took place.

13) Mechanical overhauled 15 more Amfleets, 10 more Superliners, 2 Horizons, 1 Viewliner and 2 Surfliners.  Wilmington has overhauled 7 of the 16 budgeted for the entire year.

14) The Administration is requesting $6.6 billion for passenger rail, which makes the Amtrak request of $2.65 billion quite reasonable. The House appropriations transportation subcommittee has closed the period for members to submit requests so a bill could appear this month or next. The Senate could also submit a separate transportation appropriations.


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