U.S. passenger rail operator Amtrak yesterday announced that will be canceling three of its long-distance routes around the country, due to a potential strike among freight rail workers later this week, adding that it could be forced to cancel further trains.
Reuters reported that, from September 13, Amtrak will start suspending its Southwest Chief route, which runs between Chicago and Los Angeles; the Empire Builder route between Chicago and Seattle; the California Zephyr route connecting Chicago and San Francisco; and a portion of the Texas Eagle route between Los Angeles and San Antonio.
“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 later this week,” Amtrak said in a statement issued on Monday.
While neither Amtrak nor its workers are actually involved in the labor negotiations, the provider could be “significantly impacted” by the dispute because its trains outside of the Northeast Corridor run, “on track owned, maintained, and dispatched by freight railroads,” according to NBC News.
The impending freight rail workers’ strike, which could commence as soon as this Friday, could prompt Amtrak to phase in further route adjustments, and significantly impact Amtrak’s intercity service outside the Northeast Corridor, the operator said. The national rail service provider also warned that the situation could potentially force it to shut down all long-distance and state-supported routes, which primarily run between Chicago and West Coast hubs.
Amtrak did specify that most trains between Boston and Washington D.C., and related lines to Albany, New York; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Springfield, Massachusetts would remain unaffected by the service disruptions, and that, “only a small number of Northeast Regional departures would be impacted.”
Amtrak writes in an advisory that it will attempt to notify customers whose trains are affected at least 24 hours in advance of their canceled departure, and will offer them the option to reschedule their trip or receive a full refund.
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