April 2019 Amtrak Financial Report

The report was dated May 31, 2019 and probably posted on June 1, 2019.

  • The NEC generated for the first half a cash operating surplus of $319.315 million and the remainder of the system had a fully allocated cash loss of $358.754 million. Combined the entire system has a cash operating loss of $39.439 million. For the fiscal year to date, the NEC made debt service payments of $93.148 million and capital expenditures of $420.845 million. Having received Federal Grants of $259.696 million and it has a remaining carryover balance of $178.825 million (plus the money from FY2018). The National Network Account made debt service of $22.866 million and capital investments of $421.365 million and have received from the Federal Government $637.332 million but is now in the red to the tune of $91.474 million. (It did have a carryover balance from FY2018).

  • Capital Spending, so far, has been infrastructure $343.6 million, Stations & Real Estate $61.8 million, Fleet Maintenance $183.3 million, $92.4 million used for Fleet Acquisition, Information Technology $63.0 million, ADA $43.1 million (running $15.9 million ahead of last year’s record pace), Support of $5.8 million, Gateway $13.5 million (plus $2.3 million in March) and Avila $35.8 million ($3.2 million in April) for total capital expenditures of $842.2 million ($155.0 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 seven months appears to be $513.8 million. The adjusted operating earnings were $101.0 million better than the first seven months of FY2018 .

  • The number of product lines showing a measurable operating surplus for the period shrunk to nine with as Kansas City to St. Louis went into the red:

    • Acela $193.5 million

    • Northeast Regionals $135.0 million

    • Washington-Newport News $2.5 million

    • Washington-Lynchburg $2.4 million

    • Carolinian $2.1 million

    • Washington-Norfolk $1.2 million

    • Washington-Richmond $0.9 million

    • Illini $0.5 million

    • Vermonter $0.4 million 

    • The four Virginia product lines generated a total of $7.0 million in operating surpluses. 

  • Ridership for the first five months was more than 329.1 greater than the comparable period in FY2018. So far for the year, Amtrak has carried 18,221,7XX. On the long distance trains, the Palmetto is now the biggest loser with a drop-off of 12.2%, followed by the Capitol Ltd with 6.2% (Nothing like late trains and lousy food to drive away customers). The Texas Eagle is third with ridership off by 4.4% for the first six months. The Builder was off 3.4%, The Lake Shore Ltd was also down 2.6 and the Zephyr by 2.2%. The biggest winner was the Silver Star which is up 8.4%, followed by the Crescent at 5.9% , the Auto Train at 4.8%, and the Meteor by 4.7% .

  • The House is starting to mark up appropriation bills. The THUD Bill shows a $100 million increase in direct aid to Amtrak all of which is consigned to the NEC Account. The FAST Act Grants show an increase of $95 million from last year for CRISI (Now at $350 million) and State of Good Repair down by $50 million also at $350 million. The small amount for Expansion and Enhancement was not funded so the entire grant program shows an increase of $40 million. (The Senate may restore some funds for Expansion and Enhancement in its version). The bill also comes down heavily on FRA for not putting the previous grant money out for bids and Amtrak management for not restoring station agents as required in the bill.

  • CAF has coughed up at least two more baggage dorm cars bringing the total to three. Amtrak is testing them before assigning them to revenue service.

Steve Musen

Representative to NARP’s Council of Representatives from the state of Rhode Island a