PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Sept. 14, Washington State Department of Transportation Communications Manager Janet Matkin announced that Amtrak Cascades trains could be canceled ahead of a potential strike.
According to Matkin’s statement, the strike does not directly involve Amtrak employees but instead involves BNSF Railway and Union Pacific employees who are negotiating their contracts.
“Our trains cannot operate without the BNSF and Union Pacific dispatchers,” she said.
As a preventative measure, all long-distance Amtrak trains will be canceled on Thursday, Sept. 15. This does have the potential to affect local passengers.
The Coast Starlight train, in particular, has a daily route through Santa Barbara, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Portland.
“Starlight was canceled already because of the fact that they’re long distance and you’d have to logistically figure out where passengers would have gotten stranded and how you get them from point A to point B,” Shelley Snow, the Oregon Department of Transportation‘s strategic communications coordinator, said.
Snow said they are watching how the situation develops and is communicating with Amtrak passengers as information comes in.
“In preparation, we have buses ready for tomorrow’s trains so that if there is a strike tomorrow night, these people would not be stranded,” Snow stated.
If there is a strike, Amtrak trains will be canceled in their entirety starting Friday, Sept. 16. However, there are POINT buses available for travelers who would be affected by the halted service.
“We have buses that go between Eugene and Portland every day, so they will continue to run.” Snow said. “If they were to fill up, we would do everything we could to try to find more buses for that.”