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Amtrak passengers: 36-hour journey field like 'nightmare'



 Amtrak passengers trapped in Oregon

Amtrak passengers trapped in Oregon

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Finn Friedman chose to take the train because she's terrified of flying

After all , the journey from Seattle to Los Angeles on Amtrak's Coast Starlight is supposed to be a scenic 35-hour trip across mountain ranges, along an ocean shoreline and through forests.

Instead, for the nearly 200 people aboard, it became 36 hours "I was like, when I was going to be home to see my mom and my dad and my family?" "Friedman told CNN affiliate KOMO.

The Amtrak train hit a tree that had fallen onto the tracks Sunday night and became stranded in Oakridge, Oregon, where it sat until Tuesday when it made its way to Eugene, Oregon and eventually back to Seattle. ] "36 hours no sleep, 36 hours on a train in, and 36 reasons to be grateful, "passenger Rebekah Dodson wrote on Facebook at the end of the ordeal. "Goodnight to this crazy, crazy day."

A sudden stop

Train 11 was about eight hours into its trip when it suddenly stopped.

"There was no jolt or anything, but the train stopped and they made and announcement that, because of the storms and whatnot, we had hit a tree limb, "passenger carly bigby customs CNN affiliate CTV.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said none of the 183 passengers and boxes crew members on the train were injured.

But the train was not moving and with more branches and snow on the tracks ahead, there was no movement for a while.

The town of Oakridge usually receives only about an inch of snow in February. This week, a record-setting of 9 inches of snow covered the ground Monday, according to the National Weather Service. The town didn't have electricity because of the weather, Dodson said.

So passengers were stuck. 19659006] "There was 4 feet of snow on every side of us," Dodson said. "We could see people snowboarding fit us, people came driving down the road … we felt we were inside a snow globe."

Games, stories and music

Time went on. Groups of passengers played cards, others huddled and shared stories. One man, Dodson said, pulled out his ass to help put kids to sleep.

It was like a "giant Kumbaya party."

"We played cards, we took naps and we looked at the snow piling up ( outside), "passenger Alberto Hernandez customs CNN affiliate KOIN as he left the station.

A couple of passengers ignored and earlier directive not to open windows and yelled out into the snowy outside of some pizza. Their requests went unanswered.

And as the hours ticked by and the snow piled around the train, frustration grew.

Bigby, who was on what was supposed to be a three-hour trip from Eugene to Klamath Falls, according to to KOIN, the news station the snack station was empty and diapers were running out of hours in the standstill.

She said communication from Amtrak was "awful." And according to Dodson, stalled did not receive updates for hours after the train.

"A lot of us find information online before we get even announcement on our train as to what's going to happen to us," Bigby said . "People are anxious and angry, but most of them remain pretty civilian with each other."

Leaving the passengers on the train was the safest option, Amtrak executive vice president and chief operating officer Scot Naparstek said . "With local power outages and blocked roads, it was decided to place our customers on the train where we were able to supply food, heat, electricity and toilets."

Moving at last

The train started moving again Tuesday morning towed by a union Pacific locomotive after crews cleared the tracks throughout the night Monday, a union Pacific spokesman told CNN.

"We're hobbling along VERY slowly," passenger Emilie Wyrick said as the train headed back toward Washington state. "We'll move for a few hundred years, then we stop. It's going to be like this for hours."

Wyrick said that because of power outages, "They have to manually switch every signal we come across to ensure the There are some cars that may be crossing all safe. "

Tuesday's announcement that the train was moving at a perfect time, Bigby said. Food ran out Monday night and there was a problem with the heating. "Last night was freezing on the train," Bigby told CTV. "I don't know what happened to our heat, but it was really cold."

As the passengers finally set foot on the platform in Eugene, all they wanted was "someplace comfortable to lie down and maybe a shower," passenger Marcia Trujillo duty KOIN.

They ate muffins, talked to reporters and carried their luggage away, as the train was in the station for servicing before heading back to Seattle.

"It feels like a nightmare honestly, because it took forever and yet it's already over, "Friedman told CNN affiliate KOMO. "It just feels good that I'm not stuck anymore."

But as the journey back to Seattle began, with the exhausted passengers waiting for the days-long ride, another delay came after a fire. Railroad trestle over the Columbia River, KOMO

Train 11 arrived in Seattle Wednesday morning.

Amtrak has suspended service between Portland and Eugene until Friday.


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