Metro Transit, Amtrak bracing for potential nationwide rail strike

A potential nationwide rail strike would have a major impact on local transportation companies.

As previously reported by the Associated Press, businesses and the federal government are making preparations in case of a nationwide rail strike at the end of the week.

Officials with the Biden administration are working on a plan to use trucks, ships and planes to try to keep the most crucial chemicals and other goods moving if the railroads stop rolling.

Wednesday morning, Metro Transit said its Northstar Commuter Rail Service may be suspended as early as Friday, citing the potential work stoppage and its operations, which is under contract with BNSF.

Although discussions are still ongoing, Metro Transit says any customers who plan to use Northstar on or after Friday, Sept. 15 should plan ahead and watch for updates. You can also sign up for text or email Rider Alert updates by CLICKING HERE.

According to Metro Transit, bus service is planned to replace the rail service if it is suspended. If needed, the buses will be leaving Northstar stations at the same time as the scheduled Northstar rail departures.

Northstar stations can be found in Big Lake, Elk River, Ramsey, Anoka, Coon Rapids/Riverdale, Fridley and at Target Field. There is also a connection to St. Cloud by bus, and a connection with the Metro Blue and Green lines.

Amtrak says it is “pre-emptively” canceling trips for an additional seven long-distance routes as discussions between union leaders and railroad companies continue, adding that a failure to avert a strike would significantly impact intercity passenger rail service. The company added the negotiations don’t involve Amtrak or its workforce.

Amtrak has stations across Minnesota, including Minneapolis and St. Paul, Red Wing, Winona, St. Cloud, Staples and Detroit Lakes.

The company’s full statement can be found below.

Amtrak will be pre-emptively canceling trips over an additional seven Long Distance routes to avoid possible passenger disruptions while enroute on Wednesday, September 14, 2022.

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.

Most travel within the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor (Boston – New York – Washington) and related branch lines to Albany, NY, Harrisburg, PA, and Springfield, MA would not be affected: Acela would operate a full schedule, and only a small number of Northeast Regional departures would be impacted. Amtrak will reach out to impacted and potentially impacted customers, informing them of the potential situation, offering to change their reservation to another travel date, waiving any difference in fare for departures through October 31, or receiving a full refund without cancelation fees.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.