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Amtrak Working to Restore Suspended Trains as Tentative Rail Agreement Reached

The White House calls the agreement a win for the economy.

An Amtrak train at an outdoor train station.
Anadolu Agency/Getty

Amtrak is working to restore canceled trains after the White House on Wednesday evening said a tentative labor agreement has been reached between unions and freight rail companies. 

Amtrak suspended several of its long-distance train routes this week under the threat of a potential freight strike, according to Reuters. Many of Amtrak's passenger routes run on tracks owned, maintained and operated by freight railroad companies.

On Thursday, Amtrak said on its website that it was "working to quickly restore canceled trains" and would reach out directly to impacted customers. 

"This tentative agreement will keep our trains moving, stations bustling, and employees proudly serving customers as we move them across this great country," said Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner in a statement on Thursday. He added that Amtrak would welcome customers back to suspended routes starting today and Friday. 

Thousands of freight rail workers and their unions were threatening to strike over issues including paid sick leave and working conditions. The economic consequences of a rail strike could have been disastrous and exacerbated existing supply chain problems.

"The hard work done to reach this tentative agreement means that our economy can avert the significant damage any shutdown would have brought," the White House said in a statement. "It is a win for tens of thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure that America's families and communities got deliveries of what have kept us going during these difficult years. "

Amtrak's Northeast corridor routes that connect Washington, DC, with New York and Boston were not affected by the service suspensions, as those rails are owned by Amtrak.