Amtrak officially announced a series of nationwide cancellations regarding its long-distance train routes earlier this week just before a nationwide railroad strike could kick off that could start as soon as Friday.
BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific all banded together to announce embargoes against various shipments earlier this week as the current negotiations continued to deteriorate. Amtrak, whose employees are not at all involved with the negotiations, carries out business most on tracks maintained and set up by the various freight companies.
Amtrak is “hopeful that parties will reach a resolution,” despite the fact that the company “has now begun phased adjustments to our service in preparation for a possible freight rail service interruption later this week,” as stated recently in a report from Reuters.
The trains that service Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, San Antonio, New Orleans, San Francisco, and many other major cities are still subject to outright cancellation. Amtrak will only make use of trains this week if they “will have enough time to reach their final destinations” before Friday morning.
Despite this, all travel in the Northeast Corridor — which encompasses Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., and related branch lines in Pennsylvania and New York — will mostly be unaffected as Amtrak operates and maintains the majority of the lines for those routes.
The Biden admin set in place a Presidential Emergency Board through the use of an executive order over two months ago in order to kick off negotiations, all while Labor Secretary Marty Walsh joined rail company executives and union leaders this past Wednesday at the negotiation table. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) confirmed this past Monday that Congress, which maintains the authority to step in and halt strikes, would be willing to step in “if needed.”
“There is a role for Congress if in fact they fail to reach an agreement,” claimed Hoyer. “Obviously a railroad strike at this point in time would be extraordinarily detrimental to our economy and the American people. And we want to avoid that.”
The supply chain bottlenecks due to government lockdowns spawned by COVID and labor shortages have impacted the economy in America harshly over the past two years.
“We have made crystal clear to the interested parties the harm that American families, businesses and farmers, and communities would experience if they were not to reach a resolution,” expressed White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to the gathered media on Tuesday, going further to add that the admin is working with trucking, shipping, and air frieght companies in order to “see how they can step in and keep goods moving in case of this rail shutdown.”