Amtrak train stranded in Oregon for more than a day finally on the move again
A stalled Amtrak train is finally on the move 40 hours after it struck a fallen tree during a winter storm in Oregon, leaving its almost 200 passengers stranded.
The railroad announced in a tweet Tuesday morning that the Coast Starlight train was "on the move" and to expect delays.
The train had departed Seattle on Sunday and became stranded almost 321 miles away in Oakridge, Oregon just after 6:15 p.m, Amtrak said in a statement.
None of the 183 passengers aboard the train or crew members were hurt in the crash, but because of deteriorating weather conditions, Amtrak said it was unsafe to try and move people from the train.
In addition to snow, wind gusts were more than 20 mph and temperatures had dipped to the low 30s Sunday.
Scot Naparstek, Amtrak's executive vice president and chief operating officer, apologized to travelers and said in a statement Tuesday that the train is now en route to Eugene, Oregon.
"We sincerely regret the extended delay customers on the southbound Coast Starlight experienced due to extreme weather issues while traveling with Amtrak," he said.
"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," he said, adding that the "safest place" for customers was on the train where they were "provided food, heat, electricity and toilets."
As travelers waited for help, they took to social media to detail their grievances.
"This is hell, and it's getting worse," passenger Rebekah Dodson posted on Facebook on Monday. "Today has been crazy ... helping people out of panic attacks and chasing down toddlers. Among other things, the last 18 hours has been insanity and gone by in the blink of an eye."
Another passenger, Kim Shelton, said during a phone interview on NBC's "Today" on Tuesday morning that people were scared as they waited for help. She also said Amtrak did not provide them with regular updates during the ordeal.
"There has been so little communication from Amtrak. I am very disappointed,” Shelton, who is traveling with her daughter, said. “We’ve had two people have anxiety, heart-related issues. We have just had to take care of each other. There has been no help from outside.”
Naparstek said refunds and "other compensation" will be provided to customers.
Union Pacific, a railroad transport company that worked with Amtrak to get the train moving, said Tuesday that Coast Starlight was hooked up to one of its locomotives to be pulled back to Eugene.
"UP crews worked overnight to clear the tracks," the company said.