May Amtrak Report

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

1) The report is dated July 2, 2013 and posted on the Amtrak Web site on the 3rd of July. This is early, but in line with the recent postings.

2) May was a good month, but would have been much better had the derailment outside Bridgeport not occurred.

3) As a result Amtrak revenues and expenses for the month were only slightly better than budget. For the year to date they were still slightly worse than budget.

4). While Amtrak has not revealed the status of any signed contracts with various states under 750 miles; I believe Michigan has signed, since the Blue Water is now showing a healthy profit which did not exist last month. Pennsylvania is also moving towards finalizing its contract over the Pennsylvanian.

5) With the Blue Water now profitable, there are seven product lines showing a surplus: Acela at $167.8 million, Northeast Regionals at $90.7 million, Blue Water at $4.4 million, NEC Specials at $3.6 million, Washington-Lynchburg at $2.2 million, Washington-Newport News at $1.4 million, and Washington-Norfolk at $0.1 million. All of the above product lines also showed increases from the previous month in their surpluses.

6) Amtrak employment increased by 1 to 20,211 during May.

7) Cash on hand on May 31, 2013 was $318.0 million, an increase of $69.6 million from the end of the previous month. Restricted cash shrunk to $7.527 million.

8) Interest paid so far this year is $4.0 million, better than budget, and $32.9 million improved over last year.

9) In May, long-term debt decreased by $11.096 million generated by a $10.951 million decrease in Capital Leases and $0.144 million decrease in Equipment and other debt. Current Maturities increased by $0.231 million. Total debt is now $1.398 billion.

10) Authorized capital spending nudged upwards again to $1,249.9 million. Expected spending for the entire year continued to decrease to a now projected level of $1,118.962 million. Projected spending increases were Mechanical (+$1.617 million) and Transportation ($.444 million). Significant projected spending decreases were Engineering (-$16.490 million); NEC IID (-$0.529 million) and Emergency Management (-$1.609 million).

In subprograms, Major Bridges special project is now expected to spend $0.554 million more while acquisitions remains unchanged.

As of May 31, 2013 Amtrak had actually spent $564.304 million of which $12.607 million was for the Major Bridges special project and $33.127 million on Acquisitions (increase of $0.109 million).

11) Ridership for the first eight months of FY2013 was 20,554,815, an increase of 104,035 from the same period last year. Baring another catastrophe on the NEC, Amtrak should set a new annual record with FY 2013.

None of the product lines had ridership that was more than 10% from the same period last year.

12) Engineering completed 4 turnouts, 0.4 miles of catenary renewal, and 12.1 miles of signal cable. The bulk of the new signal cable continues to be on New Haven to Springfield line.

13) Mechanical overhauled 15 more Amfleets, 8 Superliners, 1 Horizon, 2 Heritage Diners, 1 Viewliner, and 2 Surfliners. Amtrak has now reached 100% of its goal for overhauling Heritage equipment.

14) Both the House and Senate THUD committees have released their drafts of appropriation bills containing money for Amtrak. The House bill is a disappointing $950 million ($350 million for operations and $600 million for capital). The Senate bill is better at $1.452 billion of which up to $390 million can be spent on operations, and $199 million on debt servicing; at least $75 million must be spent on ADA project and at least $15 million on Gateway (between New Jersey and Penn Station). The Senate bill is still tight since Amtrak needs to spend around $150 million on the single level long distance cars and $386 million just on deferred maintenance on the NEC.  In the other mandated capital spending and just $237 million is left (almost all of which is needed to maintain the existing fleet). I doubt that any money would be available for early buy out any of the capital leases that become available in FY 2014.

Amtrak did note however that reimbursable income from the Michigan high speed line was higher than budget which would indicate work on this line is progressing.

We may see some drafts of PRIAA II (Passenger Rail Investment and Accountability Act reauthorization) before Congress takes its summer break in August.


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