Breaking: Amtrak to resume full operations as labor strike averted

Following the breakthrough in negotiations on the national freight labor strike, Amtrak announced in a statement Thursday morning that it will resume operation of its previously suspended rail service.

“Amtrak is working to quickly restore canceled trains and reaching out to impacted customers to accommodate on first available departures,” according to the company’s public statement.

As of Friday, Amtrak plans to operate on a normal schedule nationwide, Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari said in an email sent to TPG.

The tentative rail agreement impact on Amtrak

President Biden’s statement. THE WHITE HOUSE

After all-night negotiations, the White House announced Thursday morning that rail companies and the rail worker labor unions had reached a tentative agreement.

“The tentative agreement reached tonight is an important win for our economy and the American people,” President Joe Biden said in a White House-released statement. “For the American people, the hard work done to reach this tentative agreement means that our economy can avert the significant damage any shutdown would have brought.”

Amtrak and its workers were not part of the labor dispute, but since Amtrak operates on railways owned by major freight rail lines, any freight rail strike would have negatively affected Amtrak’s ability to operate trains along those lines.

“Amtrak operates almost all of our 21,000 route miles outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC) on track owned, maintained, and dispatched by freight railroads,” Magliari said in a statement prior to the negotiations. If the strike had occurred, Amtrak would not have been able to operate along those freight rail lines.

Amtrak had therefore suspended all national service on long-distance lines beginning Wednesday to “ensure trains can reach their terminals before freight railroad service interruption if a resolution in negotiations is not reached.”

With the tentative agreement in place and freight rail workers promising to stay on the job until the final resolution is ratified, Amtrak can resume service on the previously canceled rail lines.

Related: TPG’s guide to Amtrak’s Guest Rewards program

Amtrak’s plans for service resumption

Amtrak’s California Zephyr train. AMTRAK

Amtrak announced Thursday morning that it will resume full operation of the rail services it had preemptively suspended before the potential freight rail strike.

The rail company said in a statement it is currently working to “quickly restore canceled trains,” and it expects to be operating on a full regular schedule as of Friday, according to its corporate spokesperson.

Passengers with canceled, delayed or altered train service should expect to receive an email from Amtrak about updates to its schedule.

If you need to change your plans, Amtrak is offering customers the opportunity to rebook without change fees or without paying any fare difference for departures through Oct. 31. Affected travelers are also eligible for full refunds without cancellation fees.

It’s currently unknown how fast Amtrak will be able to deliver on its return to normal operations or if any unexpected delays may affect the resumption of service. TPG recommends checking for the latest service updates at Amtrak Alerts on Twitter or the alerts and notices page on its website.

Related: How to save money on Amtrak tickets

While Amtrak said it is reaching out to affected passengers regarding cancellations and rescheduling, TPG recommends you be as proactive as possible in managing your canceled or upcoming reservations.

Featured photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.