October 2017 Amtrak Report

Amtrak has produced a slim financial report that contains some of the information in the previous reports, but omits large sections; this is what I found interesting.

  • The report was dated November 30, 2017 and posted on the web site December 2, 2017. The report indicates that October was a good month financially for the Corporation.
  • The actual numbers have been put into a new format where the cash operating requirements become the main indicator of success, GAAP Reporting is included. On this basis, the NEC generated an operating surplus of $60.756 million and the remainder of the system a deficit of $61.020 million. The NEC made debt service payments of $0.268 million (on the Electric Locomotives ) and legacy debt payments of $0.754 million as well as $46.493 million in Capital Expenditures. The net balance was a positive $13.241 million added to the $12.821 million in Capital Sources (mostly from the states) and $83.062 million from Federal Grants. This adds $109.123 million to the balance of the NEC Account, what it was added to is not stated. The National Network Account subtracted the $61.020 million as well as $38.196 million in Capital Expenditures from the $234.225 million Federal Grants and $16.206 million in other capital sources to add $151.162 to the existing balance. What the starting balance was is not disclosed. Most of the Federal Grants for both accounts came from the $277.9 million Continuing Resolution. (In other words, there will be no additional Federal grants until December 9, 2017 so the remaining additions is supposed to last until that date before digging into reserves. 
  • On a positive note, the NEC did cover not only all of its cash operating expenses but also the capital expenditures that were made. The National Account looks like it is sufficient to cover all expenses through December 8, 2017 at the same level of expense.
  • On the capital expense side, Amtrak did not spend any money in October on either the Tunnel Box in Manhattan or on the NJ High Speed Project. Otherwise the capital expense was equivalent to October 2016.
  • We do not know which projects Amtrak actually spent capital dollars on. However, we do have a breakdown of $32.2 million on Infrastructure, $4.1 million on Stations, $24.0 million on Fleet, $5.2 million on Information Technology (IT), $3.7 million on ADA Compliance and $0.3 on support. Another $13.6 million was spent on State, Local and Other for a total of $83.1 million. Another $1.6 million was labelled RRIF presumably for the AVILA project.
  • Converting the Corporation’s combined $0.3 million deficit with other GAAP expenses including the office of Inspector General the GAAP Loss for the month was $62.1 million.
  • Eleven Product Lines had operating surplus for the first month:

Acela $36.2 million

Northeast Regional $25.6 million

Capitols $0.4 million

Wash-Newport News $0.4 million

Vermonter $0.3 million

Wash-Lynchburg $0.2 million

Wash-Richmond $0.2 million

Wash-Norfolk $0.2 million

Carolinian $0.1 million

Ethan Allen  $0.1 million

Adirondack $0.1 million

The combined total of the four Virginian Product Lines was approximately $1.0 million.


  • Congress passed a CR (also based on the FY2017 appropriations) to cover the period from December 9th to December 22nd. Should the government shut down on the 23rd, the timing will be terrible. However, should another CR be passed that goes into the new year, the budget caps would affect the actual money Amtrak would receive. There is a wide difference between the House approach (which concentrates on the Gateway Project) and the Senate which favors the National System more. 
  • At the Chicago 50th Anniversary of NARP, the new Amtrak President indicated that the number one project to be advanced would be the North Portal Bridge. A ground breaking ceremony was held in October. Hopefully some of the preliminary construction (needed to allow the actual construction to begin) was undertaken in November.
  • The Commuter platform in Pawtucket has been delayed because Amtrak’s Force Account request far exceed what had been preliminarily estimated. Rhode Island DOT is now looking at ways to reduce the overall cost, including the possibility of having only one track serve the platform.

CAF was supposed to deliver two more diners in November. They did not.

On time performance of Amtrak outside of the NEC has been suffering as of late. Particularly bad has been CSX, though it is not the only offender.

I have requested more financial information from Amtrak. Whether or not this results in the same information is debatable.

Steve Musen

Rhode Island Representative to NARP’s Council of Representatives