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After a Day and a Half Stuck on Train, Passengers Disembark

Amtrak train pulled back to Eugene, Oregon, train station
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2019 2:54 PM CST
Patricia Bailey, center, and Annette Saba, right, celebrate as they disembark an Amtrak passenger train in Eugene, Ore. Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.   (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)
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(Newser) – The 183 passengers stuck aboard Amtrak Coast Starlight Train 11 were finally able to exit the train Tuesday morning after a tedious 36+ hours. The Seattle-to-Los Angeles train was blocked by downed trees on the tracks in a remote part of Oregon Sunday night; the area had been hit with heavy snow, and had gotten 10 to 14 inches by Monday afternoon. There weren't many hotels nearby, power in the area was spotty due to the storm, and roads were blocked by snow, KOIN reports. Officials decided the safest option was for passengers to stay on the train, which still had power, heat, working restrooms, and food, until help arrived. And on Tuesday it did, with a Union Pacific locomotive coming to pull the train back up north to a station in Eugene, Oregon. Passengers cheered as they walked out into the fresh air, the Oregonian reports.

Volunteers from the American Red Cross were on hand to provide passengers with water and snacks, and Amtrak said travelers would be provided with "refunds and other compensation as appropriate." Company officials said they regretted the "extended delay," but "we made every decision in the best interest of the safety of our customers during the unfortunate sequence of events." Passengers rushed to make alternate travel plans after exiting the trains, and some reveled in the ability to contact family and friends, with many having lost cell service while stranded. Some probably also bought essentials like diapers; crew members reportedly helped desperate parents fashion them out of napkins and safety pins while the train was stuck. There's no word on when the train might continue on its way to Los Angeles, the AP reports. (Passengers stuck on another train got pizzas delivered.)

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