Amtrak train in South Carolina stalled for 20 hours, conductor tells riders who dial 911 they’re not ‘hostage’
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Hundreds of passengers were stranded on an Amtrak train in rural South Carolina for a nearly 24-hour delay with limited food supplies after the train was rerouted Tuesday, according to reports.
An Amtrak car train, a specialized train that allows passengers to take their vehicles with them to drive after their rail trips, departed Washington, D.C., on Monday and was expected to arrive at its final destination of Sanford, Florida, around at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. the Washington Post reported.
Instead, after the train made its scheduled stop in Lorton, Virginia, around 5:30 p.m. Monday, it was derailed by a CSX freight train, coming to rest in a wooded area near Denmark, South Carolina.
ABC News reported that the train was stuck in the rural area for more than 29 hours afterward. But on Wednesday morning, Amtrak spokeswoman Christina Leeds said that was not correct.
The train arrived in Sanford, Florida, on Wednesday morning with an approximate 20-hour delay, Leeds told Fox News Digital.
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“The Auto Amtrak train experienced significant delays due to a CSX freight derailment in South Carolina,” she said. “The train was diverted off its normal route to continue operating south, adding extra time to the journey. Regular updates were provided to customers, along with meals, snack packs and drinks. Additional food was also provided by local businesses along the route.during the trip.
“Amtrak apologizes for the delay,” Leeds added. “We will work with each customer to refund the fees.”
In one video, a conductor can be heard making an announcement after several passengers reportedly called 911 or otherwise called local police saying they were being held hostage on the train.
“Once again, for those of you who are calling the police, we are not holding you hostage,” the speaker is heard announcing to the passengers. “We are giving you all the information we have. We are sorry for the inconvenience. Once more information is available, we will let you know soon.”
Tracks are seen in front of a train car during a tour on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line near Wilmington, Delaware, on January 11, 2019. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via / Getty Images)
The train was further delayed while waiting for a new crew with specialized training to operate it. The original crew could no longer legally operate the train, the reports said.
In an email to the Post, Leeds also said that employees on board were working with pet owners to arrange bathroom breaks for the animals.
The Amtrak logo on the side of the dining car stopped at the depot in Lamy, New Mexico, near Santa Fe. (Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
But several passengers told the media that feces had been spotted on the floor of the train and the dogs were initially not allowed off the train in South Carolina.
A statement from CSX to news station WJLA in Washington, DC, provided more details.
“Shortly before 11:00 p.m. Monday, a CSX freight train came into contact with an unoccupied vehicle on the tracks at Charles Street in Lake City, SC, resulting in the derailment of 25 rail cars and two locomotives, which remained standing”, he said. . “There were no injuries to the train crew and no hazardous materials were involved. CSX crews are on site working to safely clear the tracks and restore the area.”
Passengers reportedly said the train had started moving again on Tuesday night.
A passenger walks on an Amtrak train near Memphis, Tennessee, on February 25, 2022. (Jon Cherry/Bloomberg via / Getty Images)
One passenger told WJLA they were told they had to wait at least another 90 minutes after reaching their final destination in Florida for their vehicle to be unloaded from the train.
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Debuted in 1983, the Amtrak Auto Train is advertised today as “a stress-free rail ride, bypassing the I-95 traffic jam.” Amtrak has been plagued by extended delays in recent years. More than one in five Amtrak trains were late in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In October, passengers who took what was supposed to be a five-hour Amtrak train ride from Detroit to Chicago instead waited 19 hours without electricity, water or food.