What Amtrak passengers need to know about the freight rail strike

Negotiations between unions and railway companies are ongoing. If no deal is reached, the first national rail strike in 30 years could begin as early as Friday.

Although Amtrak is not involved in the negotiations, the service has already adjusted to the potential impact of the conflict.

Here’s what Amtrak passengers need to know about the situation:

Is Amtrak striking?

no “The negotiations do not involve Amtrak or Amtrak employees,” Amtrak said in a statement earlier this week.

So why is Amtrak canceling service?

Amtrak has begun suspending service as a precaution because its route will be affected if freight rail workers strike.

“Amtrak operates nearly all of our 21,000 routes outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC) on tracks owned, maintained and shipped by freight railroads,” said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari.

The passenger rail carrier said it will only operate trains this week to “ensure they have enough time to reach their final destination by 12.01am on Friday 16 September”.

Will it affect Acela service?

no Amtrak says Acela service between Boston, New York and Washington will not be affected. Amtrak expects “only minimal changes” to service in the Northeast region.

And these routes will not be affected, Amtrak said in an alert on its website Wednesday:

Empire Service between New York City and Albany, New York
Keystone Service between New York City and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Amtrak Hartford Line between New Haven, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts
Between Boston and Brunswick, Maine

Which routes are affected?

Amtrak has canceled trains on the routes below, according to Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods.

“Additional updates may come today,” Woods said Wednesday.

CNN Travel has asked for clarification on how long Amtrak expects service on those routes to be affected.

Amtrak said it will try to contact passengers who cancel trains at least 24 hours in advance.

Can I change my card?

yes Amtrak says it will contact customers who may be affected or have offers to change travel dates. Fare differences will be waived for departures up to October 31.

Can I get a refund?

yes Affected customers contacted by Amtrak may receive a full refund without cancellation fees.

Will commuter train service be affected?

Yes, train service not provided by Amtrak may be affected by a freight train strike. Many passenger rail services operate on tracks owned by freight railroads, including Chicago’s Metra and the Maryland Transit Administration’s MARC trains. Check directly with local train providers for potential disruptions.

CNN’s Omar Jimenez, Geneva Sands, Vanessa Yurkevich, Chris Isidore, Matt McFarland and Pete Muntean contributed to this report. Image above: Amtrak cars and locomotives sit in a yard on August 25 in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Boe)