Amtrak again posted record revenue and earnings for its fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 2018. Strong management and improved product delivery and customer service led the company to its best operating performance in company history, despite challenges during the year.
Preliminary results for Fiscal Year 2018 are:
- Operating Earnings: ($168.0 million) – best Amtrak operating performance to date, improved 13.3 percent over FY 2017 total of $193.7 million
- Ridership: 31.7 million customer trips –steady year-over-year, with growth offset by reductions due to service disruptions
- Total Revenue1: $3.38b illion – increased 2.2 percent over FY 2017
- Capital Investment1,: $1.46 billion – the highest level of capital investment in recent Amtrak history
Northeast Regional and State Supported lines saw growth in ridership, while Long Distance service was down 3.9 percent due to the hundreds of trains truncated or canceled due to weather events, infrastructure outages, planned repairs, and poor on-time performance across much of the host railroad network used by Amtrak trains.
In response to two significant derailments early in FY 2018, Amtrak began implementation of a Safety Management System (SMS), a proven safety program that anticipates and mitigates risk, and continued its aggressive efforts to implement Positive Train Control (PTC).
Also notable this fiscal year, Amtrak invested more than $1.46 billion on capital assets, including state-of-good-repair work on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), equipment refreshes, station upgrades, technology improvements and other customer-friendly benefits that support the long-term future and growth of intercity passenger rail.
“We made significant advancements to improve safety and the customer experience, posting our best operating performance in company history,” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia. “We remain on track to cover total operating costs from ticket and other revenues in the next few years, which will allow us to focus funding on business improvements and expansion.”
“With refreshed train interiors, improved amenities and renewed stations and infrastructure, our customers are noticing a difference,” said Amtrak President & CEO Richard Anderson. “We are continuing to make passenger rail the preferred mode of travel for business and leisure.”
Other Amtrak highlights in FY 2018 include:
- Began implementation of an SMS, a proactive, data-driven safety program used in many complex industries. We are the first major U.S. railroad to deploy SMS and have already seen improvements in a broad range of train safety metrics.
- Installed operational PTC on more than 13,000 miles of the Amtrak network. When 2019 arrives, we expect to have nearly all of our track, all of our training, and locomotive PTC work complete. Amtrak plans to be operating PTC across nearly all tracks we control and across a significant portion of the host railroad network.
- Invested in customer-facing enhancements, including a refresh of theAmfleet I and Acela interiors, as well as improved Wi-Fi service.
- Manufacturing began for the new Acela Express fleet, which will increase capacity and redefine the customer experience on Amtrak’s premium NEC service.
- Started an en route train cleaning program on the NEC, which has received positive feedback from customers who noticed the cleaner onboard experience.
- Issued an RFP for new or rebuilt locomotives to supplement and replace our aging National Network diesel locomotive fleet, and an RFI for passenger vehicles to replace our Amfleet I equipment used on Northeast Regional trains and several State Supported services.
- Modernized and improved the passenger areas of stations, including new restrooms in New York, and added lactation suites at several major stations.
- Invested more than $51 million on ADA-related design and construction improvement projects at more than 100 locations nationwide.
- In coordination with our Gateway Program partners, advanced critical elements of the Hudson Tunnel Project including preliminary engineering and environmental review, began early construction on Portal North Bridge and are working with the Federal Transit Administration on financial plans to begin major construction on both projects.
- Improved the reliability and performance of our infrastructure by completing our FY 2018 New York Penn Station renewal work on time and budget and completing an overhaul of the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge.
- Made investments to double our infrastructure maintenance capacity by committing $370 million on new equipment for improving the NEC.
- Together with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, launched new service to Roanoke, serving more than 54,000 customers in the first year.
- In partnership with North Carolina, added a third frequency to the daily Piedmont service between Raleigh and Charlotte, serving more than 13,000 customers.
- With our state partners at the Connecticut Department of Transportation, launched additional Amtrak service on the Springfield Line and assisted the state in their implementation of CTrail Hartford Line Service, which carried a combined total of more than 21,000 customers over its opening weekend and more than 10,000 customers during the first full week of operation.
- Added Thruway bus service for customers to connect to the Empire Service, Lake Shore Limited, and Maple Leaf trains at Amtrak stations in Rochester, Syracuse and Utica, New York, and at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for connections to State College, Lewisburg and Williamsport, Pennsylvania, as well as several other locations.
- Offered real-time and frequent information via social media @AmtrakAlerts and @AmtrakNECAlerts.
- Implemented new contemporary food service on the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited and introduced new menus on the Northeast Regional.
- Reached new seven-year labor contracts with all unions providing reasonable wage increases for employees and medical plan cost control.
- Streamlined the Amtrak management staff, creating service line leaders for strategic focus and redirecting staff to business-critical positions.