North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby electricron » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:55 pm

All this discussion going to other cities in or around North Carolina ignores a basic truth about North Carolina’s williness to subsidize trains. The truth being ignored is that it doesn’t subsidize any trains. The truth is that the NCRR subsidies all the trains and provides all the local matching funds needed for receiving Federal funds. Which means profits gained leasing the corridor to freight railroads funds all the passenger trains and all the track improvements. Not one penny is allocated by the State to fund these trains.
So, any realistic expansion discussion should be limited to NCRR owned corridors that NCRR can afford alone, or with Federal matching funds.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:38 pm

electricron wrote: The truth is that the NCRR subsidies all the trains and provides all the local matching funds needed for receiving Federal funds. Which means profits gained leasing the corridor to freight railroads funds all the passenger trains and all the track improvements. Not one penny is allocated by the State to fund these trains.


I am not sure that is true (although I may be misunderstanding you). I was under the impression that all NCRR revenues were required by law to go towards the capital costs of improvements to the railroad. Operational subsidies to the Carolinian and the Piedmont come from the NCDOT budget IIRC.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:43 pm

ignore -- sorry
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby deestrains » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:55 pm

Bob Roberts wrote:I am not sure that is true (although I may be misunderstanding you). I was under the impression that all NCRR revenues were required by law to go towards the capital costs of improvements to the railroad. Operational subsidies to the Carolinian and the Piedmont come from the NCDOT budget IIRC.


The assertion that the NCRR provides any subsidy for operations of passenger trains is quite incorrect. While Amtrak does not specify the source of funds on its timetable, other than to say 'State of North Carolina', documents by the NCRR and NCDOT make this at least somewhat clear.

Compare the NCRR's annual reports:
http://www.ncrr.com/about-ncrr/reports-studies/

With a recent NCDOT presentation such as this one:
http://www.ncleg.net/documentsites/committees/JointAppropriationsTransportation/2017_Session/3.22.17_RailDivision_NCRR/3.Worley_NCDOTRail_Division.pdf

Note the lack of 'payments to Amtrak' anywhere in the NCRR annual report documents. Page 19 of the 2016 report shows no expense except depreciation larger than $2.49 million; whereas the Piedmont and Carolinian cost much more than this; perhaps $17-$18 million per the NCDOT

Page 8 shows the state funds expended for the Carolinian and the Piedmont, well above anything on the NCRR's statement of operations.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Alex M » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:54 am

Reading through some of the Amtrak performance reports, particularly the financial section, it seems that the Carolinian is operationally in the black, while the Piedmonts are not too far from breaking even. As far as rolling stock for the piedmont service, could this fall under capital spending from the NCRR? With all of the stimulus funded outlays for capital improvements, would this free up NCRR profits to be spent elsewhere?
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby electricron » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:01 am

Alex M wrote:Reading through some of the Amtrak performance reports, particularly the financial section, it seems that the Carolinian is operationally in the black, while the Piedmonts are not too far from breaking even. As far as rolling stock for the piedmont service, could this fall under capital spending from the NCRR? With all of the stimulus funded outlays for capital improvements, would this free up NCRR profits to be spent elsewhere?

Yes it could. And presently NCRR owns the rail corridor towards Willmington from Raleigh. That's where NCRR will start to spend their own money next; along with upgrading a rail corridor towards Richmond from Raleigh (mostly Federal money).
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Arlington » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:56 pm

Alex M wrote:Reading through some of the Amtrak performance reports, particularly the financial section, it seems that the Carolinian is operationally in the black, while the Piedmonts are not too far from breaking even.

Yes, it is quite impressive: the Carolinian seems to be running at Tickets=Direct Costs, but then it looks like NC pays an extra couple of millions that cover Amtrak's overhead (advertising & HQ) and a very small accounting profit. Good for both Amtrak and NC. (https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/proj ... y-2017.pdf)

It'd be really nice if small, cumulative service improvements like Raleigh Union Station coming Jan-Feb 2018 could boost the train into not needing NC op subsidies

EDIT: Hey, how did I miss this fabulous overview of NC Trains? presentation from March, in which NCDOT proposes extending the Carolinian to HartfordCT, with the goal of attracting enough new one-seat NEC riders that the train would no longer need operating subsidy (makes sense: the Lynchburger is helped by beyond-NYP traffic)

And some great stats in that PDF about expenditures (the Carolinian costs are down to $4.4m/yr, Piedmont's are up to $11m/yr and they share another $1.5m, for a total budget of $17m/yr
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby gokeefe » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:34 pm

Here's the latest highly detailed performance report from the Rail Division of NCDOT.
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