Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman, gprimr1

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:11 pm

gokeefe wrote:Revenues could indeed help cover the cost but I doubt Amtrak will pay cash upfront. More likely they will finance it, which yet again would be something that would require extensive documentation of cost-benefit analysis.

I wonder what kind of financing Siemens is willing to offer - maybe better than bank-rate financing. (And probably better than other car builders at the moment.)
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 4480
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:24 pm

There seems to be a conflict here. Mr. Backshop appears to be of thought that the Car Barns will have to be lengthened for the Acela II sets. Mr. O'Keefe is of thought they will not.

This returns to my earlier "water over the dam" thought that if the Barns must be lengthened to handle Acela II sets, then I hold Amtrak was "$.01 wise, but £ foolish" not to have moved forth with the forty additional Coaches when first proposed almost ten years ago. The power was there to hold schedule - including the 150mph "Disneyland Ride".

Now, as Mr. O'Keefe holds, the Car Barns need not be extended, then Amtrak was likely wise to wait for the equipment to be perfected into a design WE want.

But since I fear a "boondoggle in the making" with Acela II, with a "who knows when" delivery date, lengthened Car Barns and forty Coaches should have progressed.
Gilbert B Norman
 
Posts: 13242
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby gokeefe » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:37 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
gokeefe wrote:Revenues could indeed help cover the cost but I doubt Amtrak will pay cash upfront. More likely they will finance it, which yet again would be something that would require extensive documentation of cost-benefit analysis.

I wonder what kind of financing Siemens is willing to offer - maybe better than bank-rate financing. (And probably better than other car builders at the moment.)


If this was anyone else I would wonder too. With Amtrak you might as well not even bother. Nobody can finance cheaper than USDOT RRIF.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10242
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby gokeefe » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:16 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Now, as Mr. O'Keefe holds, the Car Barns need not be extended, then Amtrak was likely wise to wait for the equipment to be perfected into a design WE want.


Here is a link to my post in the Acela thread showing the online source for the information regarding the servicing facility length. It was the November 2016 edition of "Speedlines" the newslettter of the High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Committee of APTA (American Public Transit Association).

And here is a requote of the specific sentence:

The new trainsets, consisting of a power car at each end and nine passenger vehicles, will be slightly longer than the existing Acela but still fit inside the Amtrak maintenance facilities in Washington, New York and Boston.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10242
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby Woody » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:33 pm

JimBoylan wrote:
Woody wrote:Then the 25 existing Viewliner sleepers go to rehab...
...What about the other 25 existing Viewliner sleepers?
Yeah, you're right. We should wish that the current order for V-2s would double the fleet. But the 25 sleepers coming will make only a 50% increase above the 50 in the existing fleet. (The 10 bag-dorms coming will bring the Viewliners, sleepers + bag-dorms, to a 60% increase in capacity.)
Woody
 
Posts: 835
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:03 pm

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby Woody » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:48 pm

gokeefe wrote:
Woody wrote:And the plan for more Acelas is only two more frequencies in the morning rush hour and two more in the evening rush, to allow half-hour frequencies in those two windows. The rest of the day will still offer hourly service.

I would be interested to know if this is documented online somewhere. ...Everything I've read so far has been unequivocal that the additional 8 Acela trainsets delivered by 2022 will result in half hour interval service between NYP-WAS and 1 hour interval service between NYP-BOS. I'm not sure how 8 additional trainsets would only result in four additional roundtrips per day given the fact that some trainsets make a same day turn.

Google "future Acela service, Forbes is at the top:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonrabin ... 48ba811625

The total order calls for 28 new trainsets to be delivered to Amtrak, up from today's 20 trainsets. These additional trainsets will enable Amtrak to offer service between Washington, D.C. and New York City every half-hour during peak times, and every hour between New York City and Boston.
The boldface is my emphasis.
Woody
 
Posts: 835
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:03 pm

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby Woody » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:56 pm

Woody wrote:
gokeefe wrote:
Woody wrote:And the plan for more Acelas is only two more frequencies in the morning rush hour and two more in the evening rush, to allow half-hour frequencies in those two windows. The rest of the day will still offer hourly service.

I would be interested to know if this is documented online somewhere. ...Everything I've read so far has been unequivocal that the additional 8 Acela trainsets delivered by 2022 will result in half hour interval service between NYP-WAS and 1 hour interval service between NYP-BOS. I'm not sure how 8 additional trainsets would only result in four additional roundtrips per day given the fact that some trainsets make a same day turn.

Google "future Acela service, Forbes is at the top:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonrabin ... 48ba811625
The total order calls for 28 new trainsets to be delivered to Amtrak, up from today's 20 trainsets. These additional trainsets will enable Amtrak to offer service between Washington, D.C. and New York City every half-hour during peak times, and every hour between New York City and Boston.
The boldface is my emphasis.

That was what passes for journalism at Forbes -- almost word for word from the Amtrak press release below. LOL.
https://media.amtrak.com/2016/08/amtrak ... -upgrades/
The new trainsets will allow for increased service including half-hourly Acela Express service between Washington D.C. and New York City during peak hours, and hourly service between New York City and Boston.
Woody
 
Posts: 835
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:03 pm

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby Woody » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:25 pm

I found this cautionary post by David Gunn, from March 6, 2014, at Paul Druce's blog Reason & Rail.
http://reasonrail.blogspot.com/2014/02/ ... mtrak.html
It seems very pertinent to the current discussion:
... worth recalling that Amtrak's George Warrington testified repeatedly to Congress about how the Acela fleet would place Amtrak on the "glidepath to self-sufficiency." Working with his book cooker Arlene Friner, they convinced a lot of people ... Years later we see the Acela fleet supplying approximately 20-25% of Amtrak's annual revenue. It is a stretch to imagine there is enough market out there to fill so [much more capacity] ... Already the Acelas operate with a great deal of unsold capacity in the WAS-PHL and NHV-BOS legs ...
Woody
 
Posts: 835
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:03 pm

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby gokeefe » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:51 pm

I think the schedule improvements as described in terms of reduced travel times are part of the answer to the "sagging shoulders".

Although it may be a "stretch to imagine" Gunn's statement seems to discount the currently heavily sold out status of the train as an indicator of market strength. If the market really were close to being tapped out I would think we would see signs of weakness in Acela ridership. Obviously he has seen more granular data than the rest of us. Consequently it is hard for me not to take his viewpoint very seriously.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10242
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:47 pm

Woody wrote:I found this cautionary post by David Gunn, from March 6, 2014, at Paul Druce's blog Reason & Rail.
http://reasonrail.blogspot.com/2014/02/ ... mtrak.html
It seems very pertinent to the current discussion:
... worth recalling that Amtrak's George Warrington testified repeatedly to Congress about how the Acela fleet would place Amtrak on the "glidepath to self-sufficiency." Working with his book cooker Arlene Friner, they convinced a lot of people ... Years later we see the Acela fleet supplying approximately 20-25% of Amtrak's annual revenue. It is a stretch to imagine there is enough market out there to fill so [much more capacity] ... Already the Acelas operate with a great deal of unsold capacity in the WAS-PHL and NHV-BOS legs ...

Has Amtrak ever run NHV-NYP-PHL short-turn trains? If that’s where most riders are...
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 4480
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby Nasadowsk » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:00 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:This returns to my earlier "water over the dam" thought that if the Barns must be lengthened to handle Acela II sets, then I hold Amtrak was "$.01 wise, but £ foolish" not to have moved forth with the forty additional Coaches when first proposed almost ten years ago. The power was there to hold schedule - including the 150mph "Disneyland Ride".


I disagree:

1) The Acelas were already a technical failure, and it was obvious they weren't going to age well.

2) If anything, the Acelas are underpowered - their power:weight ratio is quite low for a HST, though their top speed (worthless for any LGV on SNCF) is lower.

3) The bad blood between Bombardier and Amtrak already existed. Why are you going to order from a vendor you hate and can't deliver.

4) We don't know if the tooling still existed. If it didn't, an add-on order would have been very expensive for a a trainset fleet that was going to be replaced in a decade anyway.

5) Additional coaches might have made the sets age even worse than they are now.

Of course, if the Acela IIs fall into the above trap... But Alstom has a better, err, track record, off delivering functional HST sets than Bombardier.

Of course, if a cheaper/more productive Acela II puts them in the black operationally, then it's not a bad purchase, is it?
Nasadowsk
 
Posts: 3825
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:45 pm

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby gokeefe » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:05 pm

Nasadowsk wrote:Of course, if a cheaper/more productive Acela II puts them in the black operationally, then it's not a bad purchase, is it?


Exactly.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10242
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby Backshophoss » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:53 pm

The Acela II sets are supposed to be expandable,that was part of Alstom's pitch to Amtrak, the abilty to add 3 more cars to each set,
If there is the DEMAND for set expansion.
That would trigger the need to expand the Acela service buildings.
This is in the .pdf file that was linked to in the Acela II thread from Alstom(titled Avelia Liberty-Case Study-Amtrak- July 2016)
381 passenger seats to 512 passenger seats,pg 2 of that .pdf
Backshophoss
 
Posts: 5046
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:58 pm

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby gokeefe » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:06 pm

I think Amtrak is going to have an answer to that question in relatively short order in 2022. If the Acela does in fact continue to sell out even after the capacity expansion then it will be a relatively simple case for Amtrak to make that they need to expand the trainsets. Additionally, they will also have the necessary revenue to finance the capacity expansion.

I think the "two step" approach that they have in mind works really well for what they are trying to do. Its sustainable, sensible and gives them an "out" in the event that as David Gunn feared they bring more capacity into service than the market will support. At the moment I don't think they are in danger of doing this given the absurdly high load factors they are currently experiencing.

One scenario that I could see happenning in 2022 would be a slight decline in average fares (~5%) which would be more than offset by the increased volume assuming they continue to sellout. In this instance the trains would simply take a little longer to sellout than they currently do. The really extreme scenario is that everything is sold out with no decline in average fares at which point I think Amtrak would not only finance expansion but might start considering buying entire additional trainsets.
gokeefe
User avatar
gokeefe
 
Posts: 10242
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak Operating Deficit Appears Likely to End

Postby David Benton » Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:40 am

By 2022, I think the question will be the ratio of Acela type equipment to regional type equipment. If Acela 2 is successful , I can't see why they wouldn't buy more of them, over more Amfleet replacements. One reason I can see , what to do with the ASC64's they have just brought , but a lashup between the 64's and a Acela type car would be possible.
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 8054
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

PreviousNext

Return to Amtrak

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], Railjunkie and 12 guests