Worker Shortages Hindering Amtrak

Labor shortages have been a hot topic in news media reports in recent months and apparently that trend has affected Amtrak.

The Rail Passengers Association reported on its website last Friday that rumors are flying that the passenger carrier may be forced to impose service reductions due to lack of staffing, perhaps before the Thanksgiving holiday travel week.

RPA President Jim Mathews wrote that Amtrak is “chronically understaffed” and one consequence could be reducing some long-distance trains to tri-weekly service frequency and reducing the number of trains operating in the Northeast Corridor due to a shortage of operating personnel.

Mathews emphasis that this is not a certain outcome, but only that his organization is hearing that it is a possibility.

He said lack of enough employees is one factor behind why Amtrak hasn’t yet expanded traditional dining car service to long distance trains operating in the East and why train consists are shorter than in previous years.

The latter is rooted in lack of enough personnel to pick up the pace of returning stored cars to service.

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