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Amtrak is canceling dozens of trains, blaming the ‘inconvenience’ on rising COVID-19 cases among its workers and bad weather

Travelers board an Amtrak train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

  • Amtrak has canceled about two dozen trains, blaming bad weather and COVID-19 cases among workers. 
  • The affected routes include some trains in the Northeast Corridor and a New Orleans route.  
  • The disruptions are similar to ones that airlines are currently experiencing for the same reasons. 

Amtrak said that it would be reducing its schedule and canceling trips on certain routes through January 6, the Washington Post reported Thursday.  

The schedule reductions are due to both winter weather and rising COVID-19 cases among employees as the Omicron variant leads to record-high positivity rates.

About two dozen trains will be affected, including some overnight trains in the Northeast Corridor and long-distance routes between New York and New Orleans. Scheduled trips between Boston and Newport News, Virginia, as well as between Washington, DC, and Springfield, Massachusetts, have been canceled. 

A representative for Amtrak did not immediately return Insider’s request for further comment but told the Washington Post that it “regrets any inconvenience.” 

“We are continuing to monitor changing conditions and will make any further adjustments as required,” the representative said. 

Amtrak warned earlier in December that it could be forced to reduce service because not enough employees had been vaccinated against COVID-19. But with the Biden administration’s federal vaccine mandate in question, the railroad announced on December 14 that it would no longer enforce a vaccine requirement for its employees and that it did not expect to have to cut service.

Cases of COVID-19 have spiked nationally since then. 

Omicron is also crippling airlines

Air travel has similarly been subject to disruptions amid a surge in cases and busy holiday season. Airlines have had to cancel flights as growing numbers of employees test positive for COVID-19 and must isolate.

The FAA warned Thursday that case counts among air traffic control staff could lead to further delays. Roughly 20,000 flights have been canceled since December 24, with some 3,000 flights canceled on Thursday alone.

The US is reporting record-high new daily COVID-19 cases as the Omicron variant has spread to much of the country.

Winter weather in some parts of the US has also contributed to travel delays.

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