CHICAGO — Amtrak will begin suspending service on some long-distance trains as of tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 13) in preparation for a possible railroad work stoppage later this week.
Trains immediately affected will be the longest-duration trains — the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief; Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder; Chicago-Emeryville, Calif., California Zephyr; and the Los Angeles-San Antonio portion of the Texas Eagle. Other long-distance and most state-supported routes could also be affected as the Sept. 16 date for a possible work stoppage draws closer.
In a statement, Amtrak said it is “closely monitoring” the ongoing rail labor negotions, which do not involve the passenger carrier or its workforce.
“While we are hopeful that parties will reach a resolution, Amtrak has now begun phased adjustments to our service in preparation for a possible freight rail service interruption,” the company said in its statement. “Such an interruption could significantly impact intercity passenger rail service, as Amtrak operates almost all of our 21,000 route-miles outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC) on track owned, maintained, and dispatched by freight railroads. … These adjustments are necessary to ensure trains can reach their terminals prior to freight railroad service interruption if a resolution in negotiations is not reached.
“Most travel within the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor and related branch lines to Albany, N.Y., Harrisburg, Pa., and Springfield, Mass., would not be affected: Acela would operate a full schedule, and only a small number of Northeast Regional departures would be impacted. Amtrak will reach out to impacted and potentially impacted customers, informing them of the potential situation, offering to change their reservation to another travel date, waiving any difference in fare for departures through Oct. 31, or receiving a full refund without cancellation fees.”