Pacific Surfliner
A Pacific Surfliner. Photo courtesy of Amtrak

Amtrak issued a warning that Pacific Surfliner service may be disrupted beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday if union workers do not reach a contract agreement with the nation’s railroads.

Union Pacific, BNSF and Norfolk Southern and other railroads have until a minute after midnight Eastern Time on Friday to reach deals with three holdout unions representing about 60,000 workers before a work stoppage affecting freight and Amtrak could begin.

Rail workers have gone three years without a raise amid a contract dispute, while rail companies have recorded robust profits.

The impacted sections of Amtrak’s Southern California route will be from Fullerton to Los Angeles and from Moorpark to San Luis Obispo as those portions of the track are owned or managed by freight railroads.   

“We are hopeful that a resolution will be reached prior to Thursday but as the parties have not yet reached an agreement, we are doing everything we can to notify our customers and provide alternate service options if the rail service is interrupted,” said Jason Jewell, interim managing director of the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency.

“We have closely coordinated with Amtrak and Metrolink to maximize service options for our customers including providing bus bridges where possible,” Jewell said.

If an agreement is not reached by Thursday, Pacific Surfliner service will be adjusted as follows.

Thursday, Sept. 15

  • Trains 586, 794, and 595 will be canceled entirely
  • Train 591 and 594 will operate from San Diego to Fullerton by rail. A bus connection will be available from Fullerton to Los Angeles
  • Train 785 will be canceled from Los Angeles to Goleta
  • Train 777 will be canceled from Goleta to San Luis Obispo

Friday, Sept. 16, Until a Settlement Is Reached

  • Trains 562, 572, 586, 573, 583, and 595 will be canceled entirely.
  • Reduced service between San Diego and Fullerton with additional stops in Orange, Tustin, and Laguna Niguel.
  • All train services between Los Angeles and to Fullerton will be canceled. There will be Thruway Bus connections in place for passengers with a valid Amtrak or Metrolink ticket.
  • All train services between Moorpark and San Luis Obispo will be canceled.
  • Metrolink and limited Pacific Surfliner service will be available between Los Angeles and Moorpark and tickets for either service will be accepted on all trains.
  • Limited Thruway Bus service will be available from Chatsworth to Oakland, stopping at Camarillo, Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Grover Beach, and San Luis Obispo.
  • For the duration of the potential service disruption, Pacific Surfliner trains will also stop at Laguna Niguel, Tustin and Orange stations and accept all Metrolink ticket types between Oceanside and Fullerton.

Unreserved Coach Ticket holders impacted by the service disruption can use their existing ticket for travel on a different date up to one year later. Business Class Ticket holders can adjust their travel date or request a full refund.

Once a settlement is reached, service will resume as quickly as possible.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.