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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Anderson: "Just Doin' My Job"

   
Author Topic: Anderson: "Just Doin' My Job"
Gilbert B Norman
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Those around here who think Amtrak is all about a Paul Theroux experiential journey aboard a Long Distance train, might disagree, but the results speak for themselves:

Open Content:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-15/even-in-a-year-marred-by-accidents-amtrak-s-losses-shrink

A "just in case" Fair Use Quotation:

  • Amtrak’s operating losses narrowed to a new best in its 2018 fiscal year even while the railroad experienced a spate of high-profile accidents and rushed to install new safety equipment ahead of a federal deadline, according a preview of its annual results released by the company.

    Amtrak’s adjusted earnings -- its preferred method that excludes depreciation and other expenses -- were an operating loss of $168 million in its year ending Sept. 30, a 13 percent improvement from the previous year, the company said. Revenue grew 2.2 percent to $3.4 billion while ridership held steady at about 31.7 million customer trips.

    All told, it was "the best performance in Amtrak’s history," Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said in an interview.

    The financial improvements came against a backdrop of deadly accidents and a major push to improve safety throughout the fiscal year. Five people were killed and more than 160 injured in two major accidents last year, one last December in Washington State and another in February in South Carolina.

    Anderson said Amtrak’s operating losses would have likely been less than $100 million if not for those two accidents.

Posts: 9390 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
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It is encouraging to see that Amtrak is improving its financials. How would Congress react if the annual subsidy actually started to decline?

Delta Airlines had a pamphlet called Rules of the Road. On page 2 there is a list of behaviors that would be incredibly beneficial if applied to Amtrak's operations:
quote:
  • Listen closely and communicate openly, honestly and directly
  • Encourage change and innovation Promote broad employee involvement
  • Embrace diverse people, thinking and styles
  • Treat each other with dignity and respect
  • Debate constructively, decide definitively and support actively
  • Set clear roles, responsibilities and expectations
  • Demand and accept responsibility
  • Follow through with clear, consistent consequences
  • Develop and leverage deep customer insights
  • Be courageous and optimistic



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Gilbert B Norman
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Even though an explanation of the term Adjusted Operating Earnings is offered within the September Monthly Performance Report, I'm not certain if this Adjusted Operating Earnings fully meets the definition of the accepted term Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, Amortization (EBITDA). It does represent an effort to state the Amtrak Loss on a Household Accounting (or what I often referred to with my clients as "Cookie Jar Accounting") basis.

What is of concern to me is with all the allegations of Amtrak "funny numbers" floating about, this latest practice is simply "grist for the mill" to those holding such views.

Posts: 9390 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
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I agree with your list, Vincent. However, what are the chances we will see some improvements? I'm pessimistic.

I don't see Amtrak's subsidy declining. Maybe, as Mr. Anderson suggests, we will see some new equipment.

When working for the federal government, quite a few years ago, I found that going above budget was an asset. That's when funding increased. No rewards for going under budget.

Richard

Posts: 1790 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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