Auto-Train Corp. yesterday reported increased losses from operations in the quarter and six-month periods ended Oct. 31, but president Eugene K. Garfield said he "is confident" that a period of reduced revenues and increased costs has ended.
Garfield said he expects "strong earnings for the third and fourth quarters," which cover the company's traditional strong winter base of travel business. Based in Washington, Auto-Train carries passengers and their automobiles between Lorton and Sanford, Fla., near Disney World.
In the first six months of the current fiscal year, Garfield said, Auto-Train had a loss of $1.5 million on revenues of $13.3 million compared with a loss in the same period last year of $990,342 on revenues mf $12.9 million.
The second quarter alone produced a loss of $1.1 million compared with a loss of $568,953 a year earlier as revenues declined to $6 million from $6.2 million.
Garfield attributed the recent downturn in revenues to suspension of a Louisville-Florida train on Sept. 3 as well as lower sales in the summer and early fall. But demand for seats on the Washington-Florida route is "even stronger than last year" for the Christmas-New Year's period, Garfield added.
In addition, a new sales program scheduled to start after Jan. 1 and reduced operating costs should help the coming spring and summer periods "to benefit materially when compared to last year," according to the company's founder and chief executive.
Starting in mid-January Auto-Train is planning a new service with Eastern Air Lines, permitting travelers to fly to and from Florida while their cars are transported by Auto-Train.