OSCEOLA, Iowa — Osceola is home to the busiest Amtrak station in the state of Iowa, but its rail service will temporarily come to a screeching halt due to the possibility of a nationwide rail strike.

Amtrak announced Wednesday that it would cancel all long-distance routes that would not reach their final destination by 12:01 a.m. Friday, which is when the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation (SMART) Union plans to begin a strike.

The affected routes include the California Zephyr, which travels between Chicago and San Francisco with stops in Omaha, Denver, and Salt Lake City. The California Zephyr is the route which serves Osceola and Iowa’s other Amtrak stations.

While rail service is on the brink of suspension, city leaders say the depot itself will remain a draw for the town. The historic Osceola depot was built in 1907 and recently underwent a full restoration back to its original glory.

“If rail traffic doesn’t come through for a while, we use this facility as a community gathering space, an event space, or for other special functions,” said Osceola city councilman Thomas Bahls.

Although the depot can serve a financial purpose while Amtrak is away, Bahls reiterated that the train is still the priority in Osceola.

“It’s a great facility, but we want to use it moving forward as an attendance space for passenger rail travel,” Bahls said.

More than 7,000 passengers boarded Amtrak trains at Osceola last year, according to the United States Department of Transportation. That’s half of pre-pandemic traffic; the station averaged more than 15,000 passengers a year from 2010 to 2019.