Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak revenue’

Revenue Losses One of Amtrak’s Greatest Challenges

October 29, 2020

Steep revenue losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are confronting Amtrak with one of the greatest challenges it has faced in its 49-year history, the carrier’s Office of Inspector General has concluded.

That assessment came in a biennial report by the office reviewing the passenger railroad’s top performance and management challenges.

The IG said Amtrak must find ways to protect its resources, including how it uses $3.1 billion in currently available cash, and its ability to manage projects after losing a significant number of managers from a voluntary buyout plan.

“This year, the challenge of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic supersedes and permeates the company’s ability to address all other challenges,” the report said in a summary.

However, the IG said Amtrak also has opportunities to imagine a future that takes a fresh, holistic view of its circumstances and the forces that affect it.

The report is available at

Amtrak Revenue, Ridership Rose in FY2019

November 12, 2019

Amtrak said that it posted a record “best operating performance” in fiscal year 2019 by handling 32.5 million passengers and earning $3.3 billion in operating revenue.

The fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, saw the carrier set ridership, revenue and financial performance records, Amtrak said in a news release.

The news release said Amtrak is on track to break even financially in FY2020.

On a year-over-year basis, ridership increased by 800,000; operating revenue rose 3.6 percent to $3.3 billion; operating earnings improved by $140.9 million, or 82.6 percent, for a loss of $29.8 million; and capital investment climbed 9.4 percent to $1.6 billion.

By comparison, Amtrak posted an operating loss of $170.6 million in FY2018.

Ridership of long-distance trains increased less than 1 percent. Most of the growth in ridership came in the Northeast Corridor and state-supported corridor services.

Amtrak said Acela ridership was up 4.3 percent, Northeast Regional was up 2.9 percent and state-supported services were up 2.4 percent.

Amtrak said it is the first major U.S.-based railroad to implement a safety management system, which led to a 26 percent reduction in passenger incidents, 72 percent fewer serious employee injuries, a 10 percent reduction in Federal Railroad Administration reportable injuries and a 3 percent reduction in trespasser and grade crossing incidents.

In its annual report, Amtrak said it completed installation of positive train control on nearly all trackage that it owns.

The exception is about a mile of restricted speed track in the Chicago Terminal.

During FY2019, Amtrak spent $1.6 billion on capital expenses, which was 9.4 percent higher than the previous year. Highlights of this included:

  • A $437 million program to refurbish the interiors of cars assigned to Acela Northeast Corridor service ($4 million) and Amfleet II cars for coach class along the East Coast.
  • Northeast Corridor state-of-good-repair programs of $713 million for repair or replacement of 24,080 feet of catenary, 79,985 concrete ties and 1,784 bridge ties, and 283 miles of high-speed surfacing.
  • An $850 million contract awarded to Siemens for 75 new Charger diesel locomotives to be assigned to national network trains.
  • A request for proposals for a new fleet of single-level passenger rail cars to replace Amfleet I cars, the oldest in the fleet.
  • Station improvements of $143 million station improvement program including installation of a digital train announcement board at Philadelphia 30th Street Station; enhanced Metropolitan Lounges in Washington Union Station, Boston South Station, 30th Street Station and the Great Hall at Chicago Union Station; commercial close for $90 million of improvements at Baltimore Penn Station; and renewed service at Springfield (Massachusetts) Union Station, which included new passenger amenities.
  • Other capital investments were $78 million for ADA-related design and construction improvement projects at more than 40 locations nationwide, and $110 million in technology, including an updated customer mobile app. Amtrak also began development of an “omnichannel strategy to enable customers to easily complete purchases, access information and engage in transactions across multiple channels.”

Amtrak said nearly 90 percent of its passengers who responded to a survey “expressed overall satisfaction with their experience.”

This included improvements in customer satisfaction scores for clean train interiors, restroom cleanliness and information about delays. Acela and Northeast Regional customers noticed improvements and were increasingly likely to recommend Amtrak to family, friends, and colleagues.”

Amtrak did not specify if the customer satisfaction survey was conducted for services outside the Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak said its on-time terminal departure performance was 93 percent across the system departing on time with the best performance turned in on the Northeast Corridor where trains departed on time from Washington Union Station more than 97 percent of the time.

Amtrak did not report on-time arrival figures per train or route.

FY2019 was the first full year in which all congressionally-mandated state and commuter partner cost-sharing agreements (under PRIIA) have been in effect.

Amtrak also said it received a credit upgrade to ‘A’ from S&P and an affirmation of an ‘A1’ credit rating by Moody’s, “reflecting significantly reduced operating losses and a stronger balance sheet, with no net debt.”

Amtrak Sets Ridership, Revenue Records

October 29, 2014

Amtrak said this week that it set a revenue record in fiscal year 2014 and achieved a slight increase in ridership over the prior fiscal year.

Ticket revenue reached in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 hit $2.189 billion, a 4.0 percent jump over the previous year.

Ridership was more than 30.9 million, an increase of 0.2 percent over adjusted FY 2013 numbers.

“The slower growth in ridership than in recent years is due, in part, to a harsh winter season and on-time performance issues associated with freight train delays and infrastructure in need of replacement,” Amtrak said.

Ridership on long-distance routes and state-supported services declined by 4.5 percent and 0.6 pecent, respectively in FY 2014.

Eight routes outside the Northeast Corridor set ridership records, including the Adirondack, Auto Train, Blue Water, Capitol Limited, Empire Service, Piedmont, and Washington-Lynchburg.

“However, meeting future growth in passenger demand requires investing in the infrastructure that supports intercity passenger rail and resolving unacceptable congestion delays caused by freight railroads that own the tracks,” said Amtrak President Joe Boardman in news release. “As more and more people choose Amtrak for their travel needs, investments must be made in the tracks, tunnels, bridges, and other infrastructure used by intercity passenger trains, particularly on the Northeast Corridor and in Chicago.

“Otherwise, we face a future with increased infrastructure-related service disruptions and delays that will hurt local and regional economies and drive passengers away.”

Amtrak Sets FY 2013 Ridership Record

October 18, 2013

Amtrak set another ridership record this year, its 10th consecutive record in the past 11 fiscal years.

In fiscal year 2013, which began on Oct. 1, 2012, and ended on Sept. 30, 2013, Amtrak carried 31, 559, 945 passengers, a 1 percent increase over FY 2012.

The gains came despite extensive service disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy and periodic disruptions in Connecticut.

Ticket revenue set a record as well, increasing 4.2 percent to $2.1 billion. Much of the increased ridership came aboard regional and short distance trains where ridership increased 2.2 percent and revenue rose by 4.4 percent in revenue.

The large increase was posted by the Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service trains, which added extra capacity when Amtrak refurbished, Wi-Fi equipped Amfleet I train sets.

Lincoln Service ridership rose by almost 10 per cent while revenue increased by 22.7 percent.

The most-improved long-distance train was the Coast Starlight, where patronage rose by 5.5 percent.

Amtrak President Joe Boardman said earlier this week that capacity constraints have limited growth of all services.

Acela Express trains are usually sold out after noon Wednesday through Friday and again on Sunday, and we are severely restricted in the number of trains that can use New York’s Penn Station,” Boardman said.

Boardman said that Amtrak expects to in November issue a request for proposals for the next generation of high-speed, multiple-unit electric train sets for the Northeast Corridor, but there are no plans to order any more coaches for long-distance trains or Northeast Regionals.

“We’ve rebuilt everything we have, but as some of the new cars ordered by the states are delivered, we will have the ability to move seats (in the displaced Amtrak equipment) where we have demand,” he said.

Amtrak’s order for 130 sleeper, dormitory-baggage, diner, and baggage cars now under construction by CAF in Elmira, N.Y., will add some first-class, high revenue capacity next year, but will largely replace existing cars that are more than 50 years old.

Boardman also reported that Amtrak recently supplied an engineer to BNSF because the freight railroad lacked sufficient qualified crews to operate a train over the route normally used only by the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

“We expect to continue operating the Chief on its present route and are in discussions with the states to keep it running there rather than moving it to the [BNSF] Transcon (in 2016),” Boardman said. “There is a new mine opening in the region and we’re hopeful that BNSF will be running more trains on the line, but we’re not expecting their needs will change.”

Boardman reiterated his contention that greater Northeast Corridor revenues have helped offset long-distance train operating support losses.

With a new Amtrak reauthorization and surface transportation legislation soon to be debated, “there has to be a contract in Congress for the national mobility that the long-distance train (network) provides,” he said.