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It will suspend ACE service, shutdown truck movements out Of intermodal facilities, stop train traffic, impact supply chain
UP train
Union Pacific trains — such as this one crossing Louise Avenue — could stop running through Manteca starting Friday if a railroad strike occurs.

Freeways feeding the Altamont corridor are going to be more congested starting Thursday.

And by Friday Manteca motorists will get a “holiday” from having to wait for the 40 plus daily freight trains that pass through the city’s 14 rail crossings.

At the same time the start of what could be another major supply interruption of consumer goods and material needed to keep factories running could occur.
And as many as 1,000 independent truckers contracting with firms to move truck-trailer containers daily out of the Union pacific intermodal facility between Manteca and Lathrop as well as the Santa Fe Railroad intermodal facility 10 miles northwest of Manteca on Austin Road will no longer have work .

Also, farmers harvesting perishable products such as fruits and vegetables could have problems getting them to market especially if a backlog starts developing at packing/processing  and cold storage locations up and down the valley if commodities sent by rail cross country can’t find other ways to move to market.

It’s all because a pending national railroad strike impacting freight service. It  will also force the suspension of Amtrak as collateral damage given the commuter service operates on the Union Pacific Railroad corridor.

On Thursday, ACE service will be cut in  half to avoid having any trains on the corridor when the strike deadline is reached at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time on Friday.  Once a strike concours, all railroad personnel will walk off their jobs meaning there would be no support for the safe movement of ACE trains.

As such that would require them to stop wherever they are at.

The trains being cancelled on Thursday include the 6:59 a.m. and 7:51 a.m. trains  departing the Lathrop-Manteca station. The last two eastbound trains from San Jose — the 5:38 p.m. and 6:38 p.m. trains — will be suspended.

Then starting Friday all ACE service — if there is a strike — will cease until further notice.

“(San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission) is working closely with both our host railroad and community partners to address the impact of a work stoppage on operations,”  noted Stacey Mortensen, SJRRC Executive Director. “Our promise to our passengers is to continue to keep them up-to-date. If a stoppage occurs, we’ll do everything possible to restore service as quickly as possible.”

Should  strike occur, ACE’s average daily ridership of just under 2,700 passengers will need to find other ways to reach jobs.

The largest share  of the ACE riders board trains at stations in Lathrop/Manteca as well as Tracy. That means they will need to either drive themselves or find other means to navigate the Altamont Pass Corridor that ranks as one of the nation’s most congested commuter routes.

The biggest impact of the strike — if it occurs and lingers — won’t be commuters but consumers and eventually workers.

Trains, according to the Department of Transportation, in 2021 moved 28 percent of total national freight movement based on tons moved per mile. Of that, 52 percent were bulk commodities including agriculture, energy products (oil and such), automobiles as well as components for manufacturing processes such as chemicals, equipment metals, minerals, paper, pulp, and food.

The remaining 48 precent are intermodal shipments that move by both trucks and rail. The shipments are primarily consumers goods that travel most of the rail after reaching intermodal facilities by truck and then being taken from intermodal facilities by trucks to distribution centers.

The Association of American Railroads trade group put out a report last week estimating that shutting down the railroads would cost the economy $2 billion a day.

The coalition negotiating on behalf of the nation’s biggest freight railroads — including Union Pacific, CSX, Norfolk Southern, BNSF and Kansas City Southern — has announced eight of the 13 tentative agreements needed to avert a strike by some 115,000 rail workers.

The deals that have been announced so far have closely followed the Presidential Emergency Board’s recommendations that called for 24% raises over five years, $5,000 in bonuses and one additional paid leave day a year. But the two biggest unions representing conductors and engineers have been holding out because they want the railroads to go beyond those recommendations and address some of their concerns about strict attendance policies and working conditions.

The railroads have said they would begin curtailing shipments of hazardous materials and some other goods Monday in advance of a possible work stoppage at the end of the week. That would ensure that containers of those dangerous goods aren’t left stranded along the tracks.

The heads of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers — Transportation Division union that represents conductors, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen union that represents engineers, criticized that decision as a move to increase pressure on shippers and Congress to intervene.

The federal law governing railroad contract talks won’t allow a strike or lockout before Friday.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email