Amtrak moves closer to break-even point during fiscal year

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Amtrak posted record ridership and earnings results for the fiscal year, ending Sept. 30.

The government-owned passenger railroad posted revenue of $3.2 billion and cut its operating loss 15 percent to $194 million. Ridership rose 1.5 percent from the previous year, with a one percent gain on the Northeast Corridor, which includes stations in Wilmington and Newark.

Amtrak, which has extensive operations in Delaware that at last report employ nearly 1,200, reported it recovered 94.7 percent of its operating costs.

“Amtrak had a record-breaking year in 2017. To our customers and partners, we thank you for your business. To our employees, we commend you on your dedication and service,” said Amtrak Co-CEO Wick Moorman. “More and more people are choosing rail travel and for good reason. Amtrak offers a more comfortable and convenient travel experience with great amenities such as free Wi-Fi on most trains, plenty of leg room, and no middle seat.”

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Other Amtrak highlights in FY 2017 include:

  • Completed more than $420 million of state of good repair and renewal infrastructure work, including significant track replacement, numerous projects in the New York area, and a new maintenance facility in Seattle.
  • Began a major Infrastructure Renewal program at New York Penn Station, which accelerated important construction work. Amtrak installed 897 track ties, 1,100 feet of rails (or six football fields of track), 1,000 tons of ballast, 7 turnouts (switches), 4 complex diamond crossings, and 176 yards of concrete.
  • Streamlined Amtrak’s senior management structure for increased organizational effectiveness, better alignment with the account structure created in the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act), and greater transparency to customers and stakeholders.
  • Continued with deleveraging of the Amtrak balance sheet, decreasing total debt from $3.3 billion at Sept. 30, 2007, to $1.2 billion at Sept. 30, 2017, a reduction of 64 percent over the 10 year period.
  • Continued to be an industry leader in efficient sales distribution with more than four-fifths of Amtrak’s customers using Amtrak’s self-service channels for their reservations and ticketing.
  • Launched a national partnership with Lyft. Eighty percent of Amtrak customers who have used Lyft indicate it makes their Amtrak trip easier. Amtrak will explore opportunities with additional travel partners in 2018 to provide additional connectivity to and from Amtrak trains.
  • Completed “Project unITy,” a corporate-wide effort to integrate, simplify and centralize technology and data services.

In Wilmington, a private-public partnership plans to build a transportation hub near the Amtrak/SEPTA station for DART buses as well as provide additional parking for the station that is one of the busiest on the corridor.

A new Newark train station is also in the works as well as a station in Claymont. No plans for an Amtrak stop have been announced for Claymont. That station provides SEPTA service to Philadelphia that is underwritten by the state.

In a fiscal 2017 report, Amtrak reported a slight declining in boardings from Wilmington and a slight increase from Newark. Delaware did see a temporary reduction in service, due to work at Penn Station in New York.

Boarding figures

NRK – Newark, DE

FY 17 – 13,614

FY 16 – 12,896

WIL – Wilmington, DE

FY 17 – 688,432

FY 16 – 691,694

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