More than 500 people who were riding on an Amtrak Auto Train just had the worst trip of their lives. The train left Lorton, Virginia, at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, carrying 563 people and 333 vehicles, and was supposed to arrive in Sanford, Florida, around 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.
Because a CSX freight train derailed in South Carolina, it had to take a different route. It stopped in a wooded area near the city of Denmark in Bamberg County, where it stayed for 20 hours.
“Just before 11:00 p.m. Monday, a CSX freight train came in contact with an unoccupied vehicle on the tracks at Charles Street in Lake City, S.C., resulting in the derailment of 25 rail cars and two locomotives, which remained upright,” CSX said in a statement.
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“There were no injuries to the crew of the train and no hazardous materials involved. CSX crews are on site working to safely clear the tracks and restore the area.”
ABC 7 in Washington, D.C., said that passengers had to wait so long because the Amtrak crew had run out of time and couldn’t legally drive the train. So, they had no choice but to wait until a certified backup crew showed up.
BREAKING: A travel nightmare is unfolding right now on Amtrak. Passengers on the Auto Train have been stuck on board for 29+ hours, currently sitting in the woods in rural South Carolina. Passengers called the local police saying they’re being held hostage.
— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) January 11, 2023
Even so, passengers started to take matters into their own hands by calling 911 from the train during the delay, ABC News said, citing onboard footage in which a conductor can be heard telling people to stop calling the police.
“For those of you that are calling the police, we are not holding you hostage,” the Amtrack staffer can be heard over the loudspeaker. “We are giving you all the information which we have. We are sorry about the inconvenience.”
The conductor could also be heard telling people not to open their windows to smoke on the train, according to ABC News. ABC 7 says that the Amtrak Auto Train is different because people have to bring their cars with them on the train. The outlet said that many passengers book rooms with chairs that can be turned into beds, while others book traditional seats.
TRAPPED ON A TRAIN: Passengers on an Amtrak train were left stranded on a rural stretch of track for 29 hours. ABC’s Andrea Fujii explains why. pic.twitter.com/rp5Mb0gUJ8
— ABC World News Now (@abcWNN) January 11, 2023
A spokesperson for Amtrak told the news outlet on Wednesday that passengers were given regular updates, as well as meals, snack packs, and drinks, as well as food from local businesses. Even so, ABC7 reported that the train only had enough food for 1.5 meals for each passenger.
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