Consolidated Rail Corp., a government aided company that is seeking to restore profitability in the Northeast, yesterday reported a $366.6 million loss for 1977 and forecase no improvement in its finasncial performance for the current year.
Partially because of severe winter weather for two consecutive years, freight traffic on Conrail are about in line with government forecasts.
Of the 1977 loss, $77 million occurred in the fourth quarter. Revenues for the year totaled $3.3 billion and, for the final quarter, $826 million,
Since April 1, 1976, when Conrail opened for business as a successor to the Penn Central and half a dozen other firms, the company has lost $572 million. A planning agency, the U.S. Railway Association, had forecast a loss in the same period of $567 million!
Freight tonnage carried by Conrail last year was more than 10 percent below the company's expectations, resulting in a $200 million loss of revenues ($50 million of which was attributed to coal, ore and dick strikes that curtailed shipments).
The U.S. unvestment in Cinrail to date is $1.15 billion. In additon, the firm obtained $160 million of equipment finacing in the private sector last year.
Last month, Conrail issued a revised five year plan that called for a greater government investment in the firm than provided by the $2.4 billion to become profitable by 1980 - with $1.3 billion of additonal U.S. support and nearly $1 billion of private sector money.
Even those projections are based on several assumptions - such ass changed labor contracts. Reps. Harley Staggers (D.W. Va.) and Fred Rooney (D.Pa.) recently introduced legislation to provide $600 million of additional funds for Conrail although Secretary of Transportation Brock Adams has said extisting funds are adequate and that the problems of Conrail aid should be dealt with in the fiscal 1980 budget.
Conrail's statement yesterday noted that track rehabilitation goals were met last year. Since Conrail started, crews have installed 1,745 Miles of welded rail and 9.53 million new crossties. Heavy repairs have been performed on 26,000 freight cars and more than 1,800 Locomotives.