Amtrak Releases Corrected 5-Year Financial Plan

July 27, 2017

As noted in last week’s ETW, Amtrak has released its own five-year business plan and financial forecast. The original version of the plan (preserved here for posterity) had inaccurate tables in the back of the report relating to route-by-route ridership and financial forecasts. Amtrak has now released a corrected version of the document.

Amtrak projects that in five-years, it will be making an operating profit of almost $100 per passenger on its Acela routes, even as Amtrak continues to lose over $120 per passenger on its long-distance routes. On a long-distance per-train basis, the Palmetto only loses $12 per passenger, while the Sunset Limited is predicted to lose $408 per passenger in 2018. (The document does not allocate capital costs by route, which would make the Northeast Corridor routes look less profitable – or not profitable at all – and which would make the long-distance routes look even worse.)

Amtrak predicts that its losses on food and beverage service on its trains will continue to accelerate (from $46 million in 2017 to $62 million in 2021) so they will begin transferring money from ticket revenues, or relying on “future expense reductions or revenue increases” to fill the gap completely starting in 2019.

Amtrak’s five-year plan anticipates total federal appropriations of $1.6 billion in 2018, rising to $1.9 billion in 2021.



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