Amtrak Operating Loss Widened in FY 2015

Amtrak said on Wednesday that it had an operating loss of $306.5 million in fiscal year 2015, which is an increase over the FY 2014 $230 million loss that had been the lowest in four decades.

Lost revenue stemming from a May derailment in Philadelphia, including the payment of $50 million in damages, played a major role in the operating losses.

During FY 2015, which ended on Sept. 30, Amtrak said it was able to largely hold the line on revenue and expenses while ridership remained steady during a time of lower gasoline prices.

“Ridership has developed a strong affinity in passenger rail,” said Anthony Coscia, Amtrak’s chairman. “We think that riders will stay with trains even as gasoline prices drop.”

Ticket revenue was $2.2 billion and ridership was 30.9 million, which was a 0.1 decline from the previous year.

Total revenue fell 0.8 percent to $3.2 billion while expenses rose 1.4 percent to $4.3 billion.

NEC ridership rose 0.5 percent fiscal 2015 to 11.7 million, while ridership on long-distance routes slid 1.2 percent to 4.5 million.

Amtrak’s measure of adjusted operating losses doesn’t conform to generally accepted U.S. accounting standards, and excludes such costs as depreciation.

Eight died and NEC service was suspended for several days following the derailment in which a train was going too fast into a curve in North Philadelphia.

Amtrak also cited losses of at least $10 million related to repairs to an electrical system in the Hudson River tunnels between New Jersey and New York City. The tunnel problems disrupted travel last summer.

Amtrak expects insurance to pay for most of the estimated $164 million passenger-claim liability stemming from the Philadelphia crash.

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One Response to “Amtrak Operating Loss Widened in FY 2015”

  1. Nathanael Says:

    Amtrak didn’t mention the losses due to the catastrophic dispatching failures by Norfolk Southern on all the Chicago-east lines at the beginning of the fiscal year, but I’m sure they had an impact too.

    Barring further disasters, 2016 should have much better numbers. Regardless of gas prices.

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