ST. LOUIS – Amtrak is cancelling seven long-distance trips starting on Wednesday amid the looming possibility of a railroad labor union strike.

A railroad work stoppage could begin as soon as Friday due to a labor dispute between railroad companies and unionized workers.

Officials from the railroad industry have not yet reached a contract agreement after two years of negotiations with two unions representing much of the work force. Friday marks the end of a federally mandated 30-day cooling-off period that could put a hold on Amtrak and other railroad services.

Amtrak released the following statement to FOX 2 on the decision to cancel several routes:

“Amtrak is closely monitoring the ongoing freight rail – rail labor contract negotiations. The negotiations do not involve Amtrak or the Amtrak workforce. While we are hopeful that parties will reach a resolution, Amtrak has now begun phased adjustments to our service in preparation for a possible freight rail service interruption later this week.

Such an interruption could significantly impact intercity passenger rail service, as Amtrak operates almost all of our 21,000 route miles outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC) on track owned, maintained, and dispatched by freight railroads. These initial adjustments include canceling some Long Distance routes starting on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, and could be followed by impacts to all Long Distance and most State-Supported routes. 

These adjustments are necessary to ensure trains can reach their terminals before freight railroad service interruption if a resolution in negotiations is not reached.”

If negotitaions are unsettled by Friday, a a nationwide rail service interruption could cost more than $2 billion per day of a shutdown, according to a report the Association of American Railroads.