Amtrak says it has fully restored rail service after canceling some trains, fearing the fallout from a looming strike by freight rail workers that was averted.
“Amtrak has fully restored service and all trains will depart from their starting point today [Friday]”, the railway said in a statement.
“Some customers at intermediate stations may still be affected. Customers should check train status on Amtrak.com or the Amtrak app for more information about their trip.”
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With a tentative agreement reached to prevent a freight rail strike, Amtrak is working to get its schedule back on track.
“Amtrak is working to quickly restore canceled trains and is contacting affected customers to accommodate the first available departures,” Amtrak said in a statement Thursday morning.
The deal between the railroad unions and management was announced shortly after 5 a.m. ET Thursday in a White House statement.
Although the negotiations did not involve Amtrak or Amtrak’s workforce, passenger rail service was adjusted on routes that could be affected by the dispute.
By Wednesday, Amtrak had announced the suspension of all long-distance Amtrak trains starting Thursday. And later Wednesday night, Amtrak added that some state-maintained trains — such as those in Virginia — would not run Thursday night.
More details on whether the dispute resolution will change those cancellations are expected soon.
Here’s what Amtrak passengers should know about the situation:
Is Amtrak overwhelming?
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 service because its tracks will be affected if freight rail workers strike.
“Amtrak serves nearly all of our 21,000 route miles outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC) on tracks owned, maintained and shipped by freight railroads,” said Mark Magliari, Amtrak spokesman.
The passenger rail operator said it would only operate trains this week that it “can guarantee will have sufficient time to reach their final destinations by 00:01am on Friday 16 September”.
Will Acela service be affected?
No. Amtrak said most trips within the Northeast Corridor (Boston, New York and Washington) will not be affected and the Acela will operate on a full schedule. Connected branch lines to Albany, New York; Harrisburg, PA; and Springfield, Massachusetts, will also not be affected.
Amtrak expects minimal changes to Northeast Regional service.
Which routes are affected?
Amtrak announced that all long-distance trains will be canceled starting Thursday. Some routes were suspended earlier in the week.
Some state-run trains were added to those canceled from Thursday evening. State routes include: Capitol Corridor, Amtrak Cascades, Heartland Flyer, Illinois Service, Michigan Service, Pacific Surfliner (partial), Piedmont, San Joaquins, Springfield Service (north of Springfield), and Virginia Service.
Here’s a breakdown of the suspended long-distance services:
Services suspended from Tuesday 13 September:
Services suspended from Wednesday 14 September:
Services suspended from Thursday 15 September:
Amtrak said it will try to contact passengers whose trains are canceled at least 24 hours in advance.
Can I change my ticket?
yes Amtrak says it will contact customers who are or may be affected with suggestions for changing travel dates. Fare differences will not apply to departures until October 31.
Can I get a refund?
yes Affected customers contacted by Amtrak may receive a full refund without cancellation fees.
Will rail services be affected?
CNN’s Pete Muntean, Omar Jimenez, Geneva Sands, Vanessa Jurkiewicz, Chris Isidore, Matt McFarland and Forrest Brown contributed to this report. Top image: Amtrak cars and locomotives stand in a yard on Aug. 25 in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Boe)