December 2018 Amtrak Financial Report

  • The report was dated January 31, 2019 but posted on February 1, 2019. This would be basically in line with previous reporting.

  • The NEC generated for the first quarter a cash operating surplus of $164.987 million and the remainder of the system had a fully allocated cash loss of $142.927. Combined the entire system had an operating cash surplus of $22.1 million which is down $3.3 million from the Oct-Nov report. For the fiscal year to date the NEC made debt service payments of $56.505 million and capital investments of $173.224 million. Because of receipts of funds from the first Continuing Resolution (through December 7, 2018) it has received a total of $124.490 million and has a remaining carryover balance of $115.165 million (plus money left over from FY2018). The National Network Account made debt service of $12.509 million and capital expenditures of $123.838 million and has received from the Federal Government $246.672 million so that its remaining carryover balance is a negative $2.738 million. It also had a excess fund left over from FY2018.

  • Capital Spending to date: Infrastructure $132.7 million, Stations & Real Estate 25.9 million, Fleet $64.9 million, Information Technology $27.7 million, ADA $15.7 million (running $3.0 million ahead of last year’s record pace), Support $2.1 million, Gateway $6.0 million ($2 million alone in December), and Avila $22.1 million (9.5 million in December alone) for total capital expenditures of $297.1 million ($24.6 million more than the comparable period for FY2018). 

  • The GAAP loss for the first three months appears to $174.7 million. The adjusted operating earnings were $81.8 million better than the first three months of FY2018 and the net results showed a modest surplus as noted above.

  • Eleven Product Lines are showing a measurable operating surplus for the period.

    • Acela $92.7 million

    • Northeast Regionals $75.3 million

    • Washington-Newport News $1.9 million

    • Washington-Roanoke $1.5 million

    • Carolinian $1.1 million

    • Keystone $0.8 million

    • Washington-Norfolk  $0.8 million

    • Washington-Richmond $0.7 million

    • Vermonter  $0.6 million

    • Kansas City-St. Louis  $0.2 million

    • Non-NEC Special Trains $0.1 million  (New to this list)

    • In addition Wolverines and Piedmont lines were both greater than $0 but less than $499.4 thousand. The Blue Water and Pere Marquette lost more than $0 but less than $499.4 thousand.

    • The four Virginia product lines generated approximately $ 4.9 million in total operating surplus on a fully allocated basis.

  • Ridership was more than 87,000 than in the previous year which so far totals 8,357,100 (Amtrak rounds to the nearest 100 riders). On the long distance trains for the first quarter the Cardinal remains the biggest loser, off 11.3% followed by the Empire Builder (-9.46%), and the Texas Eagle (-8.46%). Smaller losses were shown for the Palmetto (-6.99%), Crescent (-6.67%), and Silver Meteor (-5.76%). A few showed gains led by the Sunset at +6.67% and Silver Starv at +2.32%. 

  • The longest partial government shutdown is now history. A CR was passed to fund through February 15, 2019. After that the wheels are off (quoting President Trump) who actually considering (to the consternation of his own party) another shutdown in a futile attempt to get full funding for his wall (to be later reimbursed in the 33rd Century by Mexico).

  • Amtrak is talking about ordering the equivalent of 75 train sets to replace the Amfleet Ones. The number of cars in a standard train set is undefined so we could be talking from 300 to 675 coaches.

  • No movement on funding either the North Portal Bridge or the new tunnels under the Hudson. However, Amtrak is looking at an option that might cut the costs of renovating the two East River Tunnels that were damaged in Hurricane Sandy.

Steve Musen

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