Amtrak to Suspend Some Long-Distance Runs Ahead of Possible Strike

Service on the Southwest Chief, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, and parts of the Texas Eagle routes will be suspended beginning on Tuesday. Photo by Justin Franz.

Amtrak to Suspend Some Long-Distance Runs Ahead of Possible Strike

By Justin Franz 

CHICAGO — Amtrak has announced that it would be suspending service on at least three long-distance routes starting Tuesday ahead of a possible national railroad strike and that could expand to all services outside the Northeast Corridor by week’s end. 

Outside of the Northeast Corridor, most Amtrak trains operate on tracks owned by the freight railroads. Amtrak officials said Monday that they planned to begin suspending some services on Tuesday to ensure that all trains were at their terminals prior to any shutdown. The Southwest Chief, Empire Builder and California Zephyr would all be impacted starting Tuesday, as well as the Los Angeles to San Antonio portion of the Texas Eagle. 

“Amtrak is closely monitoring the ongoing freight rail – rail labor contract negotiations,” Amtrak officials said in a statement to Railfan & Railroad. “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. Such an interruption could significantly impact intercity passenger rail service.”

On Monday, Class I railroads began to secure hazardous material shipments ahead of a potential strike or lockout that could begin at 12:01 a.m. Friday. While the five U.S. Class Is plus Canadian National’s U.S. operations have been able to secure new contracts with some labor groups in recent days, deals with the two largest unions — Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen and SMART Transportation Division — have been elusive. 

This article was posted on: September 12, 2022