Amtrak said Thursday that it will reduce its schedule between New Year’s Eve and Jan. 6 as it battles bad weather in some parts of the country and a surge in coronavirus cases among its employees.
About two dozen trains on both its Northeast Corridor and long-distance routes will be affected.
“Amtrak regrets any inconvenience,” the railroad said in a statement. “We are continuing to monitor changing conditions and will make any further adjustments as required.”
Amtrak says 97% of its workforce is vaccinated against the coronavirus, but it has seen an increase in positive cases in line with the surge around the country. The railroad had said this week the surge wasn’t leading to cancellations.
The reductions are about 1.5% of Amtrak’s trains that were scheduled for the week.
The trimmed train schedule mirrors thousands of canceled airline flights since Christmas Eve and disruptions to local transit services as the fast-spreading omicron variant drives case counts to their highest levels of the pandemic. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced the required isolation period for people who have tested positive for the virus, in part out of concern that essential parts of the economy could falter.
Amtrak said it would cancel overnight trains between Boston and Newport News, Va., in the Northeast Corridor between Friday and Thursday. Four other trains between Washington and Springfield, Mass., were canceled between Friday and Sunday.
Long-distance trains on four routes departing Friday were canceled in each direction, as well as trains in both directions between New Orleans and New York on Saturday and Tuesday.
Amtrak has received a $66 billion boost in the infrastructure law that President Joe Biden signed, a huge infusion of money for the passenger service that is expected to underwrite expansion projects.
But the short-term picture has been shakier, with executives warning Congress this month that a coronavirus vaccination mandate threatened to leave it short-staffed. A broader labor shortage was also posing challenges as Amtrak tries to recover from the pandemic’s downturn in travel.