Fiscal Report - 2019 vs 2022

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Northwestern

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I wonder if we will keep hearing that long distance Amtrak trains are a big money loser.

From the article:

"revenue on the long-distance network in 2022 was up by $113 million, or 23%, over 2019, the last “normal,” or pre-pandemic year. In contrast, both Northeast Corridor and state-supported service revenue fell by about 30%."
 
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This will make RPA zoom presentation with management regarding the long distance trains Nov 17 more interesting as well as the BOD meeting in KC. They can’t keep holding back capacity indefinitely when trains are selling out.

Now that we know management and the BOD had a hand in reducing capacity let’s see if they admit their mistake or at least change course and start planning for longer consists.
 
The way I read the numbers in that table is that, for the long-distance trains, Amtrak is making more money than on fewer riders than ever with their clever business tactic of limiting sleeper space and charging insanely high sleeper fares. This brilliant tactic might even justify the bonus paid to the Amtrak execs. :) I don't think long-distance trains are going away, but abundantly available, inexpensive sleeper space might be. :(
 
The way I read the numbers in that table is that, for the long-distance trains, Amtrak is making more money than on fewer riders than ever with their clever business tactic of limiting sleeper space and charging insanely high sleeper fares. This brilliant tactic might even justify the bonus paid to the Amtrak execs. :) I don't think long-distance trains are going away, but abundantly available, inexpensive sleeper space might be. :(
Back in the '60s there was a joke going around in India which said that if they could Air India would fly Focker Friendships to Africa and charge demand driven prices, instead of using the new fangled 707s which provide so much capacity that they cannot charge fares as high as they would like and still make the planes look full.

Amtrak is still trying to figure out what the breaking point is on high fares for Sleepers and the way to conduct that experiment is to withhold capacity.

Cynical? moi?
 
So, basically ridership (and revenue) is on its way back.

The NEC maxed at 12.5 million riders in 2019 and has recovered from a low of 4.4 million riders in 2021 to 2022s 9.2 million.
State Supported trains dropped from 15.4 million riders in 2019 to the low of 5.5 million riders in 2021 and have climbed back up to 10.2 million riders in 2022.
Long distance maxed at 4.5 million riders in 2019, dropped to 2.2 million riders in 2021 and has recovered to 3.9 million riders in 2022.

So all of the business lines dropped and recovered ridership in a similar manner.

It would be interesting to see the breakdown of riders into coach, business, first class and sleeper, and also to see the revenue breakdown by these classes.

I've found that NEC fares have been much lower than they were pre-pandemic. This includes coach, business, and sleeper. I mean they were offering $8 coach tickets between Baltimore and Washington, although it seems like maybe they're heading up again. I also paid only $87 for an Acela ticket for Boston to Baltimore this past July. Obviously, if they can increase the fares back to what they were pre-pandemic and hold on to the riders, the revenue situation may improve greatly.

With regard to long distance, I would suspect that the really high sleeper fares must have something to do with the fact the revenue situation is much better than for the corridor service. But, again, I'd really need to see the breakdown of ridership by travel class to make a more definitive statement.
 
I don't think long-distance trains are going away, but abundantly available, inexpensive sleeper space might be. :(

This cynic would say "abundantly available sleeper space went away 50 years ago, and it never was inexpensive." (Yes, it's even MORE outrageous now than it was before -- but it was expensive enough 40 years ago to be well out of reach for my parents, even for one special night of a cross-country tour.)

The sleepers were often sold out, even when the Coast Starlight ran with 3 Superliners in the offseason, when we had both the Broadway and LSL, when the Star and Meteor had 4 or 5 Heritage sleepers *each*.
Timetables of the mid-70s show various overnight trains running temporarily without sleepers. As many as Amtrak bought in 1971 (and it was more than 300) it wasn't enough by 1973 or 1974, and has continued to not be enough ever since, but the inventory has shrunk and shrunk and shrunk with each new equipment purchase.
 
This cynic would say "abundantly available sleeper space went away 50 years ago, and it never was inexpensive." (Yes, it's even MORE outrageous now than it was before -- but it was expensive enough 40 years ago to be well out of reach for my parents, even for one special night of a cross-country tour.)

The sleepers were often sold out, even when the Coast Starlight ran with 3 Superliners in the offseason, when we had both the Broadway and LSL, when the Star and Meteor had 4 or 5 Heritage sleepers *each*.
Timetables of the mid-70s show various overnight trains running temporarily without sleepers. As many as Amtrak bought in 1971 (and it was more than 300) it wasn't enough by 1973 or 1974, and has continued to not be enough ever since, but the inventory has shrunk and shrunk and shrunk with each new equipment purchase.
You all keep saying "outrageously priced sleeper accommodations"....someone show some cited data on the %of sleeper accommodations booked on LDs versus total capacity of those accommodations. If that % is 85-100, then it's not outrageously priced as it's clearly getting booked and used.
 
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