Amtrak Success Stories

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Re: Amtrak Success Stories

Postby jstolberg » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:49 pm

The most astonishing thing about Amtrak’s performance in January isn’t found in the January Monthly Performance Report.
Januarys can be extremely fickle. It could be easy to ascribe good results for Amtrak this January to good weather. We didn’t have terrible storms, and Chicago didn’t get a flake of snowfall. The new ACS Sprinters are more reliable. So, we could say, the reason for the good news is the lack of bad news. But that’s only half the story.

Travel by automobile in January was down, way down.
Image
Monthly gasoline sales, which normally dip in January, were down 4.4% from January 2016. Meanwhile, Amtrak ridership was up 3.4% from a year ago. That’s a 7.8% difference. Sure, gasoline prices were higher than near their lows in January 2016, but gasoline is still relatively cheap. So to see more people riding Amtrak while fewer are driving their own cars – that is noteworthy indeed.

Ridership on the Northeast Regional trains was up almost 63,000 passengers for the month, an increase of 10.9%. That’s only for the Boston-Washington segment. I’ll get to the Virginia parts in a moment. Revenues were up 20.6%. That’s what you call a growth market. And while ridership on the Acela trains was down 2.4%, revenues on the Amtrak signature service were up 12.8%.

The US Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration completed its draft Tier I Environmental Impact Statement for the Northeast Corridor in mid-December and began conducting public meetings in January. http://www.necfuture.com/tier1_eis/feis/ While there are still some major issues to be settled between New York and Boston, there is general agreement on the New York to Washington segment. Although President Trump wants to cut funding for Amtrak’s long-distance routes, the Gateway Program, at a cost of $12 billion dollars, is #1 on his list of infrastructure projects to generate 15,000 jobs quickly and 19,000 indirect jobs. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents ... duced.html USDOT’s Record of Decision on the NEC Future Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement is expected this month.

Ridership gains in Virginia mostly represent a recovery to the norm following bad weather in January of 2016. Ridership Washington-Norfolk, which was 10,620 in January 2015, dropped to 9,448 last year and is back to 10,982 this year. Washington-Newport News ridership was 23,791, dropped to 20,175 and is back up to 22,292. Washington-Lynchburg was 13,963, dropped to 12,064 last year and is now back to 13,958. The improvement is on the Washington-Richmond trains. Ridership was 12,873 in January 2015, dropped to 11,251 last winter and is now up to 14,669. All the routes are making money. Number 22 on President Trump’s list of top infrastructure projects is the Washington Union Station Expansion and Rehab at a cost of $8.2 billion. The President is looking for private development in the station and in the air rights over the station to pay for part of that cost.

Ridership on the Downeaster took a similar fall last winter, but the ridership which was 34,931 in January 2015 is now up to 37,915. Massachusetts is thinking about dusting off a 1997 study on a connector between the Boston North and South stations https://static1.squarespace.com/static/ ... +Study.pdf and is soliciting a $1.5 million update. http://www.masslive.com/news/boston/ind ... n_exp.html

Ridership on the Keystone Service in Pennsylvania was up 15% this year and revenues were up 12.3%. Amtrak has just begun construction of a $36 million project at the Paoli station in conjunction with SEPTA. http://www.progressiverailroading.com/a ... nts--50985

On the west coast, Washington state has begun testing of the new Siemens Charger locomotives. The Washington locomotives haven’t been built yet, so they are testing one for Illinois. Siemens has also completed one for CalTrans and four for Brightline. Ridership on the Cascades trains was up 11.7% in January.
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Re: Amtrak Success Stories

Postby Arlington » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:32 am

Did Amtrak lose the staffer whose job it is to post Monthly Performance Reports? It is nearly time for March's to be posted and still no February.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: Amtrak Success Stories

Postby jamesinclair » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:48 am

Its up!
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Re: Amtrak Success Stories

Postby Arlington » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:55 pm

Thanks! The big news seems to continue to be strong fares (above forecast) but slightly below-forecast ridership.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: Amtrak Success Stories

Postby jamesinclair » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:06 pm

Cascades and San Joaquin show big drops, but on-time percentage is also down massively. Wet winter makes for sad Amtrak riders
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Re: Amtrak Success Stories

Postby east point » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:28 pm

Unfortunately ridership down and revenue up is not a statistical metric l. Best compare RPMs year over year and revenue then you have a better measure. If fewer passengers travel farther then growth may be stagnant. If RPMs same or less then ridership is down.
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Re: Amtrak Success Stories

Postby Arlington » Mon May 22, 2017 4:30 pm

^ I don't see the "statistical metric" distinction that you are trying to draw (or why it matters). Can you elaborate? Particularly since trip-lengths does not seem to be fluctuating much (they are down 2% YOY), I don't fault Amtrak for its emphasis on ridership, as in March's MPR (released this past Friday).

Ridership (raw people-trips..."lives touched") matters politically (given a reliance on political funding)
Revenue matters budgetarily (in a world where costs are highly constrained)

So It seems the most natural thing in the world that Amtrak likes to discuss Ridership and Revenue (and has a whole section on the MPR named just that)
https://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/501/682/Am ... h-2017.pdf
TotalAmtrak
• March ridership of 2.7 million trips was 3% unfavorable to both budget and the prior year
• Gross Ticket Revenue of $185.7M was 1% unfavorable to budget and less than 1% unfavorable to the
prior year
Northeast Corridor Routes
• Northeast Corridor ridership (Acela and Northeast Regional combined) was 5% below budget and 3%
below last year
• March NEC ticket revenues were 1% below budget but 2% above last year
• Acela ridership was 4% above budget and 3% above last year
• Acela ticket revenues were less than 1% above budget and 1% above last year
• Northeast Regional ridership was 8% below budget and 5% below last year
• Northeast Regional ticket revenues were 1% below budget but 3% above last year
State Supported Routes
• State Supported ridership was 3% below budget and 2% below last year
• State Supported ticket revenues were 2% below budget and 3% below last year
Long Distance Routes
• Long Distance ridership in March was less than 1% below budget and 2% below last year
• Long Distance ticket revenues were 2% below budget and 3% below last year


As it happens, RPMs and Passengers have moved down together:
RPMs: 529M vs 554M last year (down 4%)
Pax: 2.656M vs 2.726M last year (the loss of 69/2726 = the source of the 3% unfavorable to prior year in the quote)

RPMs is the ideal measure of output sold.
ASMs are the ideal measure of output produced.

As long as we know what the metric is, they all can have a "success" or "fail" mode.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: Amtrak Success Stories

Postby Arlington » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:35 am

The May MPR came out on Friday June 30

The Operating Ratio is doing about .02 better than budget, [which feels like] Amtrak is closer to breakeven than it has ever been (running at 1.07 ish instead of 1.09 ish budget)

Executive Summary:
The year to date results are favorable due to higher net ticket revenue, federal and state capital
payments, lower employee benefits, materials, and fuel expense. This is partially offset by lower
reimbursable revenue and lower overhead transfer rates. The change in Operating Ratio
(Strategy Management Objective F1) reflects favorable expenses. Capital spending is under
budget due to engineering related activities, Mechanical Overhauls, Technology projects, and
payments for CAF and PRIIA 212 obligation


Footnote reminder:
(1) Operating Ratio is defined as Total Operating Expense adjusted for Depreciation, Project related costs covered by Capital funding (PRJ), non-cash portion of OPEBs, Superstorm Sandy insurance proceeds related to capital, and the Inspector General's office - covered by a separate grant, divided by Total Operating Revenue less State Capital amortization
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: Amtrak Success Stories

Postby Rbts Stn » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:58 pm

Probably the wrong thread, but what the hell. If this is true I like this Conductor.

From Facebook:

On Amtrak train headed to NYC. Mildly buzzed doltish business men two seats ahead of me are complaining about "the damn trannies who cost the army so much money switching themselves around on the taxpayers' dime." While I contemplate if/what to say to these offensive @$$h0les, the conductor walks by and asks for their tickets.
"Tickets please. Going to New York? Let me ask you gentlemen something. Have you ever gone to war?" The dolts don't understand.
"Have either of you men served your country?" They look at each other, puzzled and shake their heads NO. "Because I have. And if I don't care about the privates of my comrade in arms, why the hell do you?"
Dumbfounded and wounded silence. First dolt:"Excuse me, sir..."
Conductor:"I will not excuse you. If my buddy loses a leg saving my @$$, they sure as hell deserve the support of the Army to be a whole person, whatever makes them whole."
Dolt #2:"We didn't mean anything by it..."
Conductor:"Exactly. Might be a better use of your conversation' to make yourself mean something."
Dolt #2:"I'm sorry." The conductor looks them both in the eye for an uncomfortably long time.
"Wilmington next!" The conductor moves to the next car
The dolts look at each other. "$hit."
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Re: Amtrak Success Stories

Postby Arlington » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:59 pm

Any reason why the August Monthly Performance Report is not posted at https://www.amtrak.com/about-amtrak/rep ... ments.html yet?

July's was published August 30, so I was thinking August's would have been out Sept 30.

I know that Sept's is always delayed in the general "year end rush", but would like to see August's
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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