Amtrak Has Canceled All Long-Haul Train Routes Due to a Looming Freight Rail Strike

Condé Nast Traveler

On Wednesday, Amtrak canceled all of its long-distance train routes until further notice due to a looming rail strike among freight train workers.

Although Amtrak is not involved in the rail strike, the impending demonstration is already causing devastating interruptions for Amtrak’s route network, the majority of which is operated on “track owned, maintained, and dispatched by freight railroads,” the company said in a statement. 

While the freight worker strike hasn’t been officially confirmed, Amtrak says it has begun “phased adjustments to our service in preparation for a possible freight rail service interruption later this week.”

Those preemptive adjustments include canceling all long-distance train routes that operate outside of the Northeast Corridor. Here’s what passengers should know about the widespread cancellations. 

Which Amtrak train routes are canceled?

Amtrak says that it will “only operate trains this week that we can ensure will have enough time to reach their final destinations by 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 16.” 

That means that as of Wednesday, September 14, the following routes are suspended:

  • Southwest Chief, which stops in Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, and Los Angeles
  • Empire Builder, which stops in Chicago, St. Paul/Minneapolis, Spokane, Portland, and Seattle
  • California Zephyr, which stops in Chicago, Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Emeryville (San Francisco)
  • City of New Orleans, which stops in Chicago, Memphis, and New Orleans
  • Coast Starlight, which stops in Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, and Los Angeles
  • Crescent, which stops in New York, Atlanta, and New Orleans
  • Lake Shore Limited, which stops in New York, Boston, Albany, and Chicago
  • Silver Star, which stops in New York; Washington, D.C.; Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; Orlando; Tampa; and Miami
  • Sunset Limited, which stops in New Orleans, San Antonio, Tucson, Phoenix, and Los Angeles
  • Texas Eagle, which stops in Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, San Antonio, and Los Angeles

How long are Amtrak long-distance routes canceled for?

Amtrak hasn’t specified an end date for the route cancellations, so for now, they seem indefinite.

Which Amtrak routes are still operational?

Amtrak owns the Northeast Corridor infrastructure, so most routes in that region will be largely unaffected. The Acela high-speed train that runs between Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., will operate a normal full schedule. Related branch lines to Albany, New York; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Springfield, Massachusetts, will not be affected either. 

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