Here's how Bay Area's supply chain, transit could be impacted by rail strike

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Thursday, September 15, 2022
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With a U.S. rail strike looming, here's how the Bay Area's supply chain, Amtrak, Caltrain, ACE train services could be impacted.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Overnight Thursday into Friday, railways across the Bay Area and beyond will go from busy to barren.

Around 60,000 union freight rail workers are set to strike, fighting for better salaries, benefits and time off.

RELATED: Bay Area Amtrak routes could be canceled as nationwide rail strike looms

Impacts on Bay Area transit riders will be felt immediately.

Once the strike starts on Friday, ACE train will suspend all service until an agreement is reached.

"A suspension of service really puts people in a pretty difficult place trying to find alternative transportations to get to and from work," San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission Marketing Manager David Lipari said. "They already take the ACE service because they don't want to be stuck in traffic on the way to the office, so this certainly has a real human impact."

Despite not being involved in negotiations, companies like ACE, Caltrain and Amtrak operate on freight railroads and cannot safely operate if there's no agreement.

RELATED: Here's how the freight rail strike could affect you

ACE service could be suspended as soon as Thursday with the latest morning and evening trains suspended to ensure no trains are on the corridor by the agreement deadline.

Service along the Capitol Corridor will be entirely suspended beginning Friday.

Certain long-distance Amtrak interruptions will be felt like trains connecting Sacramento and San Francisco.

And Caltrain says riders from Gilroy to San Jose will need alternate travel plans, while the Tamien to SF route remains unaffected.

RELATED: Crippling nationwide railroad strike could happen as soon as Friday

"My contingency plan is I'm going to ride my bike every day all the way from San Jose to Hollister every day they are on strike if the train is not functioning," Hollister resident Alvaro Lopez said. "But hopefully it doesn't come to that."

"Not only are there passenger impacts during this potential worker stoppage but even beyond the passenger impacts are the pretty significant freight and goods movement impacts on the freight railroad which may also even be an even more impetus for this to be resolved fairly quickly," Lipari said.

Supply chain issues can be crippling given the struggles the nation is already feeling from inflation.

30% of all goods transported are on freight rail and the railroad trade group has said trucks cannot keep up with demand.

"Expect more delays and raise in cost as the truck industry going to cause more," CSU East Bay Professor of Management Balaraman Rajan said. "With higher demand, higher prices and that's going to affect inflation."

The bargaining units have until 9:01 p,m, Thursday, 12:01 a.m. eastern, to reach an agreement. But if not, the struggles will begin.

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