Written by David Shepardson
DETROIT (Reuters) – U.S. railroad Amtrak said it will temporarily cancel all of its long-distance trains starting Thursday — along with some state-subsidized trains — due to a possible disruption to freight rail business that could start the next day.
Amtrak workers are not involved in the labor dispute, but the railroad operates nearly 21,000 miles (33,800 km) outside the US Northeast Passage on the owned track, which is maintained and dispatched by freight rail.
railways including Union Pacific (NYSE:) and BNSF from Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:) and Southern Norfolk (NYSE:) It has until one minute after midnight Friday to strike tentative deals with three disapproving unions representing about 60,000 workers before a business shutdown affecting shipping can start Amtrak.
Amtrak made its announcement Wednesday after it decided earlier in the week to cancel 10 long-distance trains across the United States before the Friday deadline.
Trains that will be canceled starting Thursday are: Auto Train (Washington to Sanford, Florida), Capitol Limited (Washington to Pittsburgh), Cardinal (Washington to Chicago) and Palmetto (South Washington to Savannah, Georgia). Prior to COVID, Amtrak had about 4.4 million passengers annually on long-distance trains.
Late Thursday, Amtrak said it would also cancel some state-subsidized train services that start late in the day, including Capitol Corridor, Amtrak Cascades, Heartland Flyer, Illinois, Michigan and Virginia, as well as San Joaquin and part of the Pacific Surfliner. and Springfield Services.
Some commuter train systems such as Mitra in Chicago said they will have to start cutting service on Thursday. Minnesota’s Northstar Commuter Rail, which is operated under contract by Berkshire Hathaway’s BNSF subsidiary and serves the Minneapolis area, said its service may be suspended as early as Friday.
Moody’s (NYSE: NYSE) said Amtrak’s decision to suspend long-haul trains is “negative in terms of credit, as it will impact customer retention and revenue, resulting in higher operating losses. However, given the company’s reliance on federal funding and expected operating losses, the suspension will have a limited credit impact on Amtrak unless it continues.”