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MetroLink services were interrupted Friday, thanks to "a higher number than usual" of operators calling off work, officials said.

As a result, Blue Line trains were only operational between the Shrewsbury-Lansdowne I-44 and Forest Park-DeBaliviere MetroLink stations, according to an announcement from Bi-State Development, the organization that oversees Metro, the St. Louis-area transit system.

Those interruptions would remain in effect until further notice, the agency said, and passengers of both Blue Line and Red Line routes could experience 15- to 20-minute delays.

Union representatives for MetroLink operators said that the situation was not related to any campaign of theirs, despite ongoing contract negotiations.

"I didn’t know anything about it until I got to work this morning," said Reginald Howard, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union's Local 788 chapter.

"We’re in the midst of contract negotiations right now but, like I said, this has nothing to do with unionized efforts," Howard added. "I don’t feel like we’re at that point yet."

The union contract expired on June 30.

Metro bus routes have encountered similar disruptions in recent weeks, due to a shortage of drivers who called off work or turned down additional assignments. Amid a shortage of about 50 drivers, Metro officials said in late July that some managers had climbed behind the wheel to take on driving duties.

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Reporter covering energy and the environment for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.