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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak reports record fiscal-year revenue, lowest operating loss since '73


Amtrak continued to get its financial condition on track during fiscal-year 2014 by generating record revenue of $3.2 billion and registering a federally funded operating loss of $227 million — the lowest level since 1973, the national intercity passenger railroad announced yesterday.

In FY2014, which ended Sept. 30, Amtrak covered 93 percent of its operating costs with ticket sales and other revenue, up from 89 percent the year before. The unaudited operating loss of $227 million represented a 37 percent decrease from FY2013's operating loss and 52 percent drop from FY2007's mark, Amtrak officials said in a press release.

As a result of the railroad's strong performance, long-term debt reductions of 61 percent over the past seven years and other factors, Moody's Investor Service confirmed Amtrak's A1/Stable debt rating as of Nov. 12, they said.

"Our efforts to operate a more financially sound railroad for our stakeholders continues to exceed expectations," said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman. "Amtrak's customer value proposition improves each year as seen by our continued ridership and revenue growth for the better part of the past decade."

Amtrak officials attributed the improved financial performance to an ongoing corporate restructuring program that features increased financial transparency, a de-leveraged balance sheet, an emphasis on improved service and increasing ridership.

The railroad also is developing the infrastructure and organization, and employing the equipment needed to ensure its growth continues, Amtrak officials said. In recent years, the railroad has expanded state-supported services, introduced Wi-Fi and eTicketing technologies, procured new equipment for the Northeast Corridor and long-distance services, implemented a major planning effort for next-generation high-speed rail and installed positive train control equipment.

To meet future passenger demands, increased levels of federal capital investment are needed to improve, expand and replace the aging infrastructure that supports intercity passenger rail, said Boardman and Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia.

"Our financial performance over the past year is the clearest indication yet that Amtrak's investments, operating efficiencies and focus on its customers is paying off," said Coscia. "As we continue to make improvements in our operating and financial performance, we call upon the federal government and our stakeholders to support the capital investments necessary to keep moving Amtrak forward."