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By The Way
Detours with locals. Travel tips you can trust.

What to know about railroad strike cancellations after tentative deal

Trains sit parked in Louisville, Kentucky on September 14. (Luke Sharrett/for the Washington Post)
5 min

Debra Edwards was getting her suitcase organized in her Chicago hotel room Tuesday morning when a message from Amtrak popped up on her phone. Her bucket list trip — scheduled to depart Wednesday — was canceled. There was no additional information on who to contact for assistance.

“I would have been pulling out of Denver right now,” Edwards told The Washington Post on Thursday.

Edwards’s long-distance train from Chicago to California was one of many that Amtrak canceled this week as a preemptive measure ahead of a potential nationwide railway strike. While the labor dispute was between freight railroads and unions that represent their employees, most Amtrak routes outside of the Northeast Corridor and many commuter rail systems operate on freight tracks.

Amtrak, commuter rail dodge crisis as strike threat likely averted

On Thursday, the White House announced a tentative deal between carriers and union leaders to avert a strike. In an alert the same morning, Amtrak said it’s “working to quickly restore canceled trains and reaching out directly to impacted customers to accommodate on first available departures.” Operations should be normal again by Friday, The Post has reported.

Back in her home of Dayton, Ohio, Edwards said Amtrak had not contacted her beyond the alerts and boilerplate responses she received via email. The recent retiree, 65, is out hundreds of dollars after a tumultuous scramble to find new accommodations, transportation and navigate refunds and cancellations.

Here’s what customers dealing with similar issues should know about the unfolding situation.