Amtrak announced the cancellation of three long-distance, nationwide routes that rely on freight lines beginning on Tuesday, citing a potential strike from railroad workers by the end of this week.
Amtrak, which operates on more than 21,000 miles of tracks, is not involved with the negotiations between railroad workers and freight companies but operates many of its 300 daily trains on freight rails that would be impacted by the strike.
In a series of alerts, Amtrak announced that cross-country routes with stops across the Western and Midwestern U.S. would be impacted. Amtrak said in its advisory that it was canceling the routes out of an abundance of caution.
Beginning Tuesday, Southwest Chief routes running from Chicago, Ill., to Los Angeles, Calif., are canceled, Amtrak confirmed on Twitter.
In the service alert Tuesday, the national railroad serviced promised to notify affected travelers at least 24 hours in advance and offer a full refund for canceled routes.
Routes in the northeast, including Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., do not operate on freight rails and will not be impacted by the closures.
Up to 15,000 railroad workers could go on strike Friday if a deal is not reached between several union organizations and railroad companies Union Pacific, CSX, Norfolk Southern, BNSF and Kansas City Southern.
Ten of 12 unions have reached agreements with a coalition representing the railroad companies. The remaining two unions, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, represent 90,000 workers.
The freight rails carry about one-fifth of the country's grain supply, so the strike could have a huge impact on an already-troubled U.S. economy grappling with high inflation.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Monday said Congress could move to stop a strike by blocking it.