Passengers stranded on an Amtrak train for more than a day in a remote and snowed-in part of Oregon said the train was moving again Tuesday after it got stuck when it hit a tree that fell on the tracks.
Amtrak train that has been stranded in Oakridge, Oregon, is now moving,
headed to Eugene, Oregon, pulled by a Union Pacific locomotive,” a
spokesperson said in a statement to ABC. “The train had been inoperable
due to weather conditions and downed trees. UP crews worked overnight to
clear the tracks.”
The Coast Starlight train left Seattle for Los Angeles early Sunday. It hit the tree a tree southeast of Eugene, Oregon, Sunday evening. The 183 passengers were kept on the train because the heavy snow had knocked out power in the town of Oakridge, the closest populated place to the train, Amtrak said in a statement.
More than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow had fallen in the area by Monday.
Rebekah Dodson boarded the train Sunday afternoon in the small Oregon city of Albany and had expected to be in Klamath Falls by 9:50 p.m.
The train at about 6:20 p.m. Sunday “came to a sudden halt and the conductor said that they had some damage from some low-hanging limbs because of the sudden snow storm and they were going to stop and fix it,” Dodson said.
In a statement, Amtrak said it was able to provide food
throughout the ordeal, but in videos shared by passengers, they said
they had been running out.
“They have M&M’s, beer and water,” passenger John Gray said. “That’s down from what they had before which was sandwiches hot dogs, liquor, soda.”
Passengers and relatives of passengers told ABC News they were unhappy with communication about how the situation was being handled. The mother of one passenger said Amtrak tried to charge her daughter for a blanket.
“Yesterday Courtney was cold and so she asked for a blanket and they were going to charge her for a blanket,” Kim Song said.
Later Tuesday morning, Amtrak Executive Vice President and COO Scot Naparstek sent a statement to ABC News:
“We sincerely regret the extended delay customers on the southbound Coast Starlight experienced due to extreme weather issues while traveling with Amtrak. With more than a foot of heavy snow and numerous trees blocking the track, we made every decision in the best interest of the safety of our customers during the unfortunate sequence of events. With local power outages and blocked roads, it was decided the safest place for our customers was to remain on the train where we were able to provide food, heat, electricity and toilets. Amtrak crews worked with local resources and the train is now enroute north to Eugene, Oregon. We will be contacting customers to provide refunds and other compensation as appropriate.”
ABC Owned Stations and ABC News contributed to this report.
Story by abc7chicago.com