August 2017 Amtrak Report

I have read the  August Report and these are the items that caught my attention:

The report was dated  September 29, 2017 and finally posted October 24, 2017. Ridership was up in August 2017 compared to August 2016. 

For the first 11 months of the fiscal year Amtrak is running $20.7 million behind budget, but is $7.8 million ahead of last year. Amtrak had for the first eleven months a cash operating loss of $180.8 million. This is $27.9 million better than budget and $22.1 million better than the previous fiscal year for the same period.  Subtracting the $449.4 million cash operating surplus for the NEC means that the National System (everything except the NEC) had a cash operating loss of $630.2 million for the first eleven months of the year. Amtrak has revised its estimate for the cash loss for the entire year to $213.3 million which is a $2.1 million improvement over the previous estimate.

13 product lines are showing a contribution after all attributed costs: 

  1. Acela $260.8 million
  2. Northeast Regionals $190.5 million
  3. Washington-Newport News $5.5 million
  4. Washington-Lynchburg $3.8 million
  5. Carolinian $3.8 million
  6. Chicago-St. Louis $3.4 million 
  7. Washington-Richmond $2.3 million
  8. Washington-Norfolk $1.8 million
  9. Piedmont $1.0 million
  10. Vermonter $0.7 million
  11. Hiawatha $0.5 million
  12. Non-NEC Specials $0.4 million 
  13. Ethan Allan $0.1 million

Virginia’s four product lines produced a total of $13.4 million in operating surplus.

Cost Recovery was still 98.0%. Food and Beverages improved to 60.4%. 

The Engineer’s report is still AWOL. It has been 23 months since this report was included. Also missing for now 35 Monthsare the Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow pages. Amtrak’s 2018 budget justification, 2017 budget document would contain some of this information. Those documents have not been posted and with the fiscal 2017 being over, it is unlikely that a 2017 budget would be posted. 

The Chief Mechanical Officer’s report shows that in May, Amtrak overhauled: 12 Amfleets, 6 Superliners, 1 Horizon, 2 Heritage , 1 Viewliner, and another Acela Train Set.  

For the first eleven months, Amtrak was running 501,795 more passengers than in the previous year. For the fiscal year to date, the total is 29,196 ,933. Product lines that are up over 10% from the previous period of time are Non-NEC Special Trains (+90.4%), NEC Special Trains (+31.5%), and the Texas Eagle  (+13.5%). 

Authorized spending for the entire year was increased by $2.6 million and is now at $2,129.9 million. 

In actual capital spending to date Amtrak has spent $1,089.3 million. Hudson Yards Tunnel Box shows expenditures of $8.0 million. CAF shows expenditures of $13.8 million (up by $3.4 million from the previous month) and ADA Expenditures was $38.2 million.

Employment was decreased by 56 from July. There were 19,821 employees.

A ground breaking ceremony was held for the preliminary construction needed before actual construction begins on the North Portal Bridge. The $20 million dollar project includes the construction of a pier from which the new bridge can be constructed. 

Amtrak has announced that it will be soliciting a buyout of non-contract (non-union) workers who are mostly management. They will be paid a minimum of $15,000 lump cash sum computed on a maximum of two weeks gross pay for each year of service up to 26 weeks gross pay. Amtrak has the right to reject the request and keep the employee, but in most cases, the buyout request will be accepted. If insufficient numbers of management do not submit requests, then involuntary dismissals will take place on less favorable terms. The actual number of people that Amtrak would like to leave was not announced. The reasoning is that Amtrak believes that the management is too top heavy in relation to the number of actual workers. The fear is that the more capable individuals who would be best able to get new jobs will be the ones to leave and Amtrak will be stuck with the ones who could not get a job elsewhere. There is also the possibility that too many managers will try to leave, and that the organization will be short handed.

No new diners have been released by CAF in September. Siemens has been awarded the contract to construct the passenger cars for the corridors trains formerly awarded to Nippon Shayro, however, instead of bi-levels the new corridor equipment will be single level. 

Steve Musen

Representative to Narp’s Council of Representatives from the State of Rhode Island a