Amtrak Stops Long Distance Service Amid Labor Dispute Between Workers And Rail Freight Industry

A major labor dispute is beginning to affect rail passengers.

The New York Times reports:

“Amtrak said Wednesday that it was canceling all long-distance passenger trains, effective Thursday, because of a possible work stoppage on freight railroads whose tracks Amtrak uses.

The announcement was made as the rail freight industry and two key unions remained at an impasse in contract negotiations. A federally mandated 30-day ‘cooling off’ period ends at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, opening a door to strikes and lockouts. Amtrak said the negotiations do not involve its employees.

Amtrak noted that outside the Northeast Corridor, which connects Boston, New York and Washington, most of its service runs on ‘track owned, maintained, and dispatched by freight railroads.’ As a result, it said, only trains that can reach their final destination by the Friday deadline were continuing to operate.

It said most travel in the Northeast Corridor and on related branch lines to Albany, N.Y.; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Springfield, Mass., would not be affected, since those rails are controlled by Amtrak.

What Amtrak called “phased adjustments” to its schedule began with service suspensions on Tuesday on some of its longest routes, including the Southwest Chief between Los Angeles and Chicago, and the California Zephyr between Chicago and San Francisco.”

For the rest of the story, visit The New York Times here.

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