By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. passenger railroad Amtrak will cancel trips on three long-distance routes starting Tuesday because of a potential freight rail strike later this week, and could be forced to cancel other trains.
Amtrak said it will begin suspending service for the Southwest Chief route from Chicago to Los Angeles, the Empire Builder route from Chicago to Seattle, the California Zephyr route from Chicago to San Francisco, and the Los Angeles to San Antonio portion of the Texas Eagle route starting Tuesday.
"While we are 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," Amtrak said in a statement Monday.
The talks do not involve Amtrak or its workers but a strike, which could begin as soon as Friday, could significantly impact intercity passenger rail service outside the Northeast Corridor, the railroad said.
Amtrak warned it could be forced to halt all long-distance and state-supported routes.
Amtrak said most travel between Boston and Washington and related lines to Albany, New York; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Springfield, Massachusetts would not be affected and "only a small number of Northeast Regional departures would be impacted."
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Deepa Babington)