No Love for the Amtrak Board of Directors

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FrensicPic

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Just happened upon this blog:
“J’ACCUSE: AMTRAK’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS”
https://ntbraymer.wordpress.com/2019/08/05/jaccuse-amtraks-board-of-directors/

Not holding back and posting an article by M.E. Singer/Rail Provocateur.
"I fervently believe how Amtrak’s problems today can be laid directly at the feet of a Board so thoroughly conflicted due to their overt lack of experience, expertise, and appropriate focus."

These are concerns that have been thoroughly discussed here and other forums.
 

dlagrua

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Good article. I agree with many points made. What I do not understand is why members of congress were not made aware of the false accounting system Amtrak uses that makes the LD trains look like they are losing money. Most times that we have ridden on them, those trains were full or close to it.
 

jis

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There is no accounting system that shows that LD trains are not losing money. The argument is mostly about two things - how much are they losing when compared to corridor trains, and, what is the incremental loss if any above the rails when shared costs like HQ etc. are excluded.

And yes. The RPA document presenting this has been given to the relevant Congress people. They don’t like to talk too much about it though, unfortunately.
 
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dlagrua

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There is no accounting system that shows that LD trains are not losing money. The argument is mostly about two things - how much are they losing when compared to corridor trains, and, what is the incremental loss if any above the rails when shared costs like HQ etc. are excluded.

And yes. The RPA document presenting this has been given to the relevant Congress people. They don’t like to talk too much about it though, unfortunately v
You touched on the basic argument but if I may expand on this; AFAIK ( and I could be mistaken) the LD trains are made to bear the costs of services and stations that have nothing to do with those trains. According to what I have read, even NYP services such as Redcaps, station costs and NEC track costs are charged to these trains. Remove them from the accounting formula and the LD trains present a different story. Just for arguments sake lets remove the entire NEC from the accounting equation. Now what happens to the LD train costs vs revenue? How do you see it?
 

jis

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You touched on the basic argument but if I may expand on this; AFAIK ( and I could be mistaken) the LD trains are made to bear the costs of services and stations that have nothing to do with those trains. According to what I have read, even NYP services such as Redcaps, station costs and NEC track costs are charged to these trains. Remove them from the accounting formula and the LD trains present a different story. Just for arguments sake lets remove the entire NEC from the accounting equation. Now what happens to the LD train costs vs revenue? How do you see it?
That is what the mis-allocation discussion is about. Read the RPA document. LD trains still lose money overall.
However, several LD train are cash positive incrementally. Neroden has discussed this at length in various threads on this forum in the past.

The important thing to understand is that using similar computation taking into account all costs, all other modes lose money too. Then the argument changes to what is it that we are gaining externally as a result of the investment in the transportation sector. Localized to LD trains it is - what additional economic activity is being supported along the routes of the LD trains by the presence of the LD trains that would otherwise not exist, and that is a discussion that cannot be based just on Amtrak accounting. It is a broader discussion and there is evidence that that comes out at least marginally in favor of continuing to run the LD trains.

Of course if you carefully remove all the cost line items from the account, then everything makes money :D But that is not a very useful exercise for the purposes of analysis, since it is a trivially obvious result.
 

Thirdrail7

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. According to what I have read, even NYP services such as Redcaps, station costs and NEC track costs are charged to these trains. Remove them from the accounting formula and the LD trains present a different story. Just for arguments sake lets remove the entire NEC from the accounting equation. Now what happens to the LD train costs vs revenue? How do you see it?
I believe they were even attributing different catenary costs to the LD trains over the NEC at one point.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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In reading that story, one could exchange the terms "Amtrak board member" with "Congressional member", and it would still ring true. ;)
 
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