Amtrak Suspends Some Long Range Routes Ahead Of Possible Strike

Amtrak Coast Starlight (Los Angeles - Seattle) made a technical stop at Moorpark Station

Photo: iStockphoto

Amtrak has suspended some of its long range routes ahead of a potential freight rail strike, the company said in a statement obtained by CNN on Tuesday (September 12).

“Amtrak is closely monitoring the ongoing freight rail – rail labor contract negotiations," Amtrak said. "The negotiations do not involve Amtrak or the Amtrak 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 later this week."

The routes suspended include Chicago to Los Angeles, Chicago to Seattle and Chicago to San Francisco, as well as a portion of a route that runs from Los Angeles to San Antonio, according to CNN.

The company referred to the suspensions as "initial adjustments" which "could be followed by impacts to all Long Distance and most State-Supported routes.”

The decision comes amid a labor dispute that could result in the first national railroad strike in 30 years, which may begin as early as Friday (September 16).

About 60,000 union members who work for Amtrak, many of which are engineers and conductors comprising two-person crews on trains, plan go on strike.

An additional 45,000 union members belong to unions that have already reached tentative deals with railroads, however, a strike including engineers and conductors would halt the freight rail system, which accounts for nearly 30% of freight in the United States.

The company said that a potential strike would "significantly impact" 21,000 route miles operating outside of the northeast, where Amtrak owns tracks and would likely only see minimal impacts.

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