What Amtrak Travelers Need to Know About the Impending Freight Train Strike

Negotiations are ongoing between the unions and the railway companies. If they fail to reach an agreement, the first national railway strike in 30 years could begin early Friday.

Although Amtrak is not involved in the negotiations, service has already been adjusted to a track that could be affected by the dispute. All long-distance Amtrak trains are canceled beginning Thursday, September 15.

Here’s what Amtrak passengers need to know about the situation:

Is Amtrak on strike?

No. “The negotiations do not involve Amtrak or the Amtrak workforce,” Amtrak said in a statement earlier this week.

So why is Amtrak canceling service?

Amtrak is preemptively suspending some services because its tracks will be affected if freight railroad workers go on strike.

“Amtrak operates nearly all of our 21,000 miles of route outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC) on tracks owned, maintained and shipped by freight railroads,” said Marc Magliari, a gatekeeper. -word of Amtrak.

The passenger rail carrier said it would only operate trains this week that it “can ensure they have enough time to reach their final destinations by 12:01 a.m. on Friday September 16”.

Will Acela service be affected?

No. Amtrak said most trips in the Northeast Corridor (Boston, New York and Washington) would not be affected and Acela would operate a full schedule. Branch lines linked to Albany, New York; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Springfield, Massachusetts, would also not be affected.

Amtrak expects minimal changes to northeast regional services.

Which routes are affected?

Amtrak announced that all long-distance trains would be canceled starting Thursday. Some routes were suspended earlier in the week.

The cancellations “may be followed by impacts on most state-supported routes,” Amtrak said Wednesday. Here is a breakdown of suspended services:

Services suspended from Tuesday, September 13:

Services suspended from Wednesday, September 14:

Services suspended from Thursday, September 15:

Amtrak said it will try to contact passengers whose trains are canceled at least 24 hours in advance.

Can I modify my ticket?

Yes. Amtrak says it will contact customers who are or may be affected by offers to change their travel dates. Fare differences will be waived for departures through October 31.

Can I get a refund?

Yes. Affected customers contacted by Amtrak may receive a full refund with no cancellation fees.

Will commuter train service be affected?

Yes, rail service not provided by Amtrak could be affected by a freight train strike. Many passenger rail services operate on tracks owned by freight railroads, including Metra in Chicago and the Maryland Transit Administration’s MARC trains. More on that here. Check with local train providers directly about potential disruptions.

CNN’s Omar Jimenez, Geneva Sands, Vanessa Yurkevich, Chris Isidore, Matt McFarland and Pete Muntean contributed to this report. Top image: Amtrak cars and locomotives sit in a yard August 25 in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Boe)


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