March 2019 Amtrak Financial Report

  • The report was dated April 26, 2019 and posted on April 29, 2019.

  • The NEC generated for the first half a cash operating surplus of $267.294 million and the remainder of the system had a fully allocated cash loss of $303.698 million. Combined, the entire system has a cash operating loss of $36.404 million. For the fiscal year to date, the NEC made debt service payments of $92.280 million and capital expenditures of $355.958 million. It has received Federal Grants of $258.354 million and has a remaining carryover balance of $174.657 million (plus the money from FY2018). The National Network Account made debt service of $22.812 million and capital investments of $366.616 million and have received from the Federal Government $626.777 million but is now in the red to the tune of $2.283 million. (It did have a carryover balance from FY2018).

  • Capital Spending so far, has been infrastructure $284.5 million, Stations & Real Estate $53.1 million, Fleet Maintenance $153.7 million, Fleet Acquisition $92.2 million, Information Technology $53.2 million, ADA $37.2 million (running $13.7 million ahead of last year’s record pace), Support of $4.8 million, Gateway $11.2 million (negative expense of $2.7 million in March) and Avila $32.6 million ($6.7 million in March) for total capital expenditures of $722.6 million ($150.9 million more than the comparable period for FY2018). The Fleet Acquisition would include the down payments for the new locomotives plus the purchase of some more Viewliner Equipment from CAF. 

  • The GAAP loss for the first five months arrears to be $440.5 million. The adjusted operating earnings were $108.5 million better than the first half months of FY2019 .

  • The number of product lines showing a measurable operating surplus for the period has grew to ten from nine with the addition of Kansas City to St. Louis:

    • Acela $160.3 million

    • Northeast Regionals $112.4 million

    • Washington-Newport News $2.3 million

    • Washington-Lynchburg $2.1 million

    • Carolinian $1.7 million

    • Washington-Norfolk $1.1 million

    • Washington-Richmond $0.8 million

    • Illini $0.5 million

    • Vermonter $0.4 million

    • Kansas City-St. Louis $0.1 million

    • The four Virginia product lines generated a total of $6.3 million in operating surpluses.

  • Ridership for the first five months was more than 196.9 thousand greater than the comparable period in FY2018. So far for the year, Amtrak has carried 15,494,400 on the long distance trains, the 

  • Palmetto is now the biggest loser with a drop-off of 9.5%, followed by the Capitol Ltd with 8.2% (Nothing like late trains and lousy food to drive away customers), The Cardinal is third with ridership off  by 6.9% for the first six months, The Builder was off 4.6%, The Eagle 5.6%, The Lake Shore Ltd was also down 3.7%. The biggest winner was the Silver Star which is up 7.6%, followed by the Meteor up 4.4%,the Auto Train, and Crescent both by 3.5% .   

  • The Hoosier State looks like a goner with discontinuance on July 1, 2019. My guess is that this will have a negative effect on the Cardinal rather than diverting passengers to it.

  • The House is starting to mark up appropriation bills. Three (Legislative, Military Construction, and Labor) have cleared the full committee. A fourth (State Operations) has been approved by a subcommittee and will go next to the full committee.

Steve Musen

State Representative from Rhode Island to NARP’s Council of Representatives