Amtrak Train With 183 Passengers Stranded For Day & A Half On Snowy Tracks In Oregon

Tuesday, February 26th 2019, 1:07 pm
By: News 9

A train that was stuck in wintry conditions outside Oakridge, Oregon, for a day and a half is now heading to nearby Eugene, Amtrak said Tuesday.

The Coast Starlight train 11 -- with 183 passengers on board -- had been stuck since Sunday evening when it hit a tree that fell onto the tracks while it was heading from Seattle to Los Angeles. Amtrak said no one was hurt, CBS Seattle affiliate KOIN reported.

Passengers stayed on board during the massive delay.

"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 executive vice president and chief operating officer, Scot Naparstek, said in a statement Tuesday.   

Amtrak said earlier that heavy snow and trees on the tracks had made it difficult for crews to reach the train, and that road closures due to the snow and downed trees had complicated matters. 

Passengers described challenging conditions.

Carly Bigby, who was heading to Klamath Falls, Oregon, on what is ordinarily a three-hour trip, told KOIN the snack cart was empty and people were running out of diapers for their kids.

"A lot of the [older] kids have been really good but they're having to run up and down and it's a lot. Especially the food -- it's not really food they're liking," Bigby said. "Moms are doing all they can right now."

She said Verizon was the only cellphone provider with coverage in the area, so some people hadn't been able to easily contact family members. 

"If someone wants to deliver a pizza, that'd be great," Bigby joked.

Dodson told CBS affiliate KTVL, "We've opened windows, we've gotten yelled at for opening windows. We can't get off the train because there's four feet of snow in every direction, there's nowhere to go."

She sent the station a video:

In the video, a fellow passenger told Dodson he'd been on the train for 32 hours. "We're running low on supplies," Dodon said. "It is now 6 o'clock at night (on Monday). It is dark. There is more snow on the way and we are stranded for another night. … Please send help if possible. Thanks."

Amtrak's Naparstek said the railroad service would contact customers to give refunds and other compensation "as appropriate."