By David Shepardson
DETROIT, Sept 13 (Reuters) - U.S. passenger railroad Amtrak will cancel trips on another seven long-distance routes Wednesday because of a potential freight rail strike as soon as Friday.
Amtrak workers are not involved in the labor dispute but Amtrak operates almost all of its 21,000 route miles outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC) on track owned, maintained, and dispatched by freight railroads.
Amtrak said while it is "hopeful that parties will reach a resolution, Amtrak has now begun phased adjustments to our service in preparation for a possible freight rail service interruption later this week."
The new trains being suspended include the City of New Orleans that provides service to Chicago, Coast Starlight (Seattle to Los Angeles), Crescent (New York to Orleans), Lake Shore Limited (New York to Chicago), Silver Star (New York to Miami), Sunset Limited (New Orleans to Los Angeles) and the Texas Eagle (Chicago to Los Angeles).
On Monday, Amtrak said it would begin suspending service on four routes Tuesday including the Southwest Chief route from Chicago to Los Angeles, Empire Builder route from Chicago to Seattle, California Zephyr route from Chicago to San Francisco, and the Los Angeles to San Antonio portion of the Texas Eagle route.
Amtrak said it will only operate trains this week "that we can ensure will have enough time to reach their final destinations by 12:01 a.m. on Friday."
Most travel within the Amtrak-owned NEC -- Boston - New York - Washington -- and related branch lines to Albany, New York; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Springfield, Massachusetts -- would not be affected: high-speed Acela trains will operate a full schedule, "and only a small number of Northeast Regional departures would be impacted." (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrea Ricci)