Amtrak cancels all long-distance trains ahead of upcoming rail workers’ strike

Amtrak has announced that all long-distance passenger trains have been canceled ahead of a looming strike by freight rail workers.

While Amtrak workers are not involved in the ongoing labor dispute, more than 21,000 miles of rail outside the Northeast Corridor — Boston to Washington — are owned and maintained by freight companies.

Members of a railroad union rejected a tentative deal with the nation’s largest railroad companies Wednesday, which include Union Pacific, Berkshire Hathaway and Norfolk Southern. Two unions have ratified agreements and three more are at the negotiating table before Friday – when union members have the legal right to strike under federal guidelines.

Amtrak announced the additional cancellations Wednesday after canceling 10 long-distance trains earlier this week.

Trains that will be canceled Thursday are the Auto Train (Washington to Sanford, Florida), Capitol Limited (Washington to Pittsburgh), Cardinal (Washington to Chicago) and Palmetto (South Washington to Savannah, Georgia).

Amtrak workers are not on strike, but more than 21,000 of the tracks are owned and operated by freight railroads.

Other commuter trains such as Chicago’s Metra also announced they would be forced to begin cutting service Thursday.

There are 12 unions representing 115,000 workers who must vote to approve the tentative deals. So far, nine have agreed.

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