January Amtrak Report

I have read the January Report and these are the items I find interesting:

1) The report is dated March 3, 2015 and released on the web site either that day or early March 4, 2015. This would be slightly early for a posting but in line with recent ones. The report omits the Balance Sheet, Cash Flow, and Income/Expense pages.

2) Ridership was down slightly in January, much of which was due to the winter storms on the east coast. For the first four months of FY2015 the gain is still 125,059.; for the year so far, it is 10,220,261.

3) Amtrak's cost recovery for the fiscal year so far is 98%.

Amtrak, for FY2015 year to date is $22.9 million better than budget with a GAAP loss of $317.5 million. The corporation is forecasting that for the entire FY2015 a cash loss of $289.3 million, which $14.0 million worse than what was forecast at the end of December. This is somewhat surprising since for the month of January Amtrak beat its budget by $8.6 million and on a cash only basis was $15.2 million better. Most likely there will be an improvement reflected in the February forecast for the entire year. Amtrak has always been conservative in its fiscal forecast. Still the appropriation for 2015 allows only $250 million for operations, so Amtrak is facing the loss of some of its capital appropriations, if the forecast is not improved upon.

Food & Beverage recovery was 52.7%, which is slightly less than the percentage given last month.

On a GAAP basis, the first four months were $21.2 million worse than last year for the same period.

4) The number of product lines with operating surpluses decreased to 9:

Acela                                              $99.4 million

Northeast Regionals                       $ 66.3 million

Washington-Newport News               $2.2 million

Washington-Lynchburg                      $1.2 million

Vermonter                                           $0.7 million

Washington-Norfolk                            $0.3 million

Carolinian                                             $0.1 million

Empire Service                                    $0.1 million

Washington-Richmond was in positive territory with less than $50,000. Two other product lines, Maple Leaf and Hiawatha covered all costs except OPEB (other post employment benefits), Projects and Amtrak Inspector General.

5) Only one product line had increases in excess of 10% for the first four months over the previous period a year earlier:

Washington-Norfolk + 11.6%

6) As noted above, the financial results were not published.

7) The Engineer's report shows that in January 0.6 miles of catenary was renewed and 0.2 miles of signal cable replaced.

8) In January, the Mechanical Department overhauled 10 Amfleets, 10 Superliners 1 Horizon, and 1 Viewliner.

9)The Capital Budget authorized another increase of $0.767 million in spending. However forecast spending is decreased by $34.184 million, with $31.669 million in Engineering and another $5.187 million in NEC IID.

Actual spending so far this fiscal year was $330.723 million. Gateway (Concrete shell over the Hudson Yards) was $15.733 million, and $36.483 million on Acquisitions (a $0.446 million increase).

10) Amtrak employment increased by 9 positions to 20,238.

11) Siemens has announced the 35th ACS64 Sprinter Electric Locomotive has left the plant. Meaning that the halfway point on this order has been achieved.

12) The House has passed an Amtrak authorization bill. The bill authorizes (but does not appropriate) approximately $1.8 billion a year for Amtrak for operations and capital needs. This is way short of Amtrak needs if it is to grow. Worse, the appropriation committees have never appropriated the full amount of the authorization. Still it is a sign that a majority of the house wants Amtrak to stay in business. While passed with a healthy majority, there are still around 140 hard core anti-Amtrak votes in the house.

Amtrak's own budget request was for around 2 billion.


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