July 2017 Amtrak Report

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

  1. The report was dated August 30, 2017 and finally posted September 14, 2017. 
  2. Ridership was down in July 2017 compared to July 2016. 
  3. For the first 5/6 of the fiscal year Amtrak is running $0.7 million behind budget, but is $8.6 million ahead of last year. Amtrak had for the first 10 months a cash operating loss of $163 million. This is $40.6 million better than budget and $26.7 million better than the previous fiscal year for the same period. In both 2016 and 2017, July was a month in which a cash only surplus was generated.  Subtracting the $382.6 million cash operating surplus for the NEC means that the National System (everything except the NEC) had a cash operating loss of $633.8 million for the first 10 months of the year. 

Amtrak has revised its estimate for the cash loss for the entire year to $215.4 million which is a $21.8 million improvement over the previous estimate.

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

  1. Acela $243.5 million
  2. Northeast Regionals $176.7 million
  3. Washington-Newport News $4.8 million
  4. Washington-Lynchburg $3.4 million
  5. Carolinian $3.4 million
  6. Chicago-St. Louis $2.6 million 
  7. Washington-Richmond $2.1 million
  8. Washington-Norfolk $1.8 million
  9. Piedmont $0.8 million
  10. Non-NEC Specials $0.6 million
  11. Vermonter $0.5 million
  12. Hiawatha $0.4 million
  13. Ethan Allan $0.2 million

Virginia’s four product lines produced a total of $12.1 million in operating surplus.


4. Cost Recovery improved to 98.0%. Food and Beverages rose slightly to 59.2%. 

5. The Engineer’s report is still AWOL. It has been 22 months since this report was included. Also missing for 34 Months are 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 almost over, it is unlikely that a 2017 budget would be posted. 

6. The Chief Mechanical Officer’s report shows that in May Amtrak overhauled: 13 Amfleets, 5 Superliners, 3 Horizon, 1 Heritage, 1 Viewliner, and 2 Surfliners and another Acela Train Set.  

7. For the first ten months, Amtrak was running 437,076 more passengers than in the previous year. For the fiscal year to date, the total is 26,377,115. Product lines that are up over 10% from the previous period of time are: Non-NEC Special Trains (+91.0%), NEC Special Trains (+35.4%), and the Texas Eagle  (+14.8%). 

8. Authorized spending for the entire year was increased by $52.6 million and is now at $2,126.3 million. 

In actual capital spending to date Amtrak has spent $968.4 million; Hudson Yards Tunnel Box shows expenditures of $7.2 million, CAF shows expenditures of $10.5 million (up by $1.9 million from the previous month), and ADA Expenditures was $33.1 million.

9. Employment was decreased by 17 from June. There were 19,877 employees.

10. CAF coughed up another diner (The Columbus) to make a total of 8 diners delivered to date by CAF. The Penn Station track work has gone smoothly and normal schedules has resumed.

11. The House voted an omnibus bill the contains all 12 Budget bills.  There is no change from the Amtrak provisions in the THUD bill reported by the House Appropriations Committee. The House voted down decisively amendments by Rep. Brooks (AL) and Budd (NC) that would have eliminated both National System and the extra money for Gateway. The bill is subject to budget caps that would significantly reduce funding if not addressed.

12. No Infrastructure proposal has been submitted by the administration though encouraging words on Gateway have been said by the President.

Steve Musen

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