People stuck on board an Amtrak train for more than 29 hours had to be told by the conductor they were not being held hostage: report

  • Amtrak passengers were stranded in South Carolina after a detour due to another train derailing.

  • Some passengers fresh out of patience appeared to have started calling the police, per ABC News.

  • A train conductor could be heard in a video telling passengers they weren't being held hostage.

An Amtrak trip from Virginia to Orlando turned into a nightmare this week when passengers were kept on board the train for more than 29 hours.

ABC News reported that the Auto Train in question left Lorton, Virginia, at 5 p.m. on Monday and was meant to reach Sanford, Florida, by 10 a.m. on Tuesday. However, the Amtrak train was taken off its normal route after a CSX freight train collided with a vehicle on the tracks during the South Carolina leg of the journey, the report said.

This was just the beginning of the mess. The Amtrak passenger train's journey was then halted in South Carolina. Passengers had to wait for a certified backup crew to arrive, as only specific crews can operate Auto Trains, per ABC News. Additionally, safety laws control how many hours train employees are allowed to work.

Late Tuesday, the ABC News journalist Sam Sweeney tweeted that passengers had been "stuck on board for 29+ hours." The local ABC affiliate WPDE reported that the train started moving again just before 10 p.m. on Tuesday.

Some passengers who were out of patience with Amtrak after being delayed for hours also appeared to have started calling the police, ABC News reported.

Sweeney posted a video on Twitter in which a train conductor could be heard saying over the loudspeaker: "For those of you that are calling the police, we are not holding you hostage. We are giving you all the information which we have. We are sorry about the inconvenience. As soon as more information is available, we will let you know shortly."

It's unclear how many passengers were on board the train.

"The Amtrak Auto Train had significant delays due to a CSX freight derailment in South Carolina," a representative for Amtrak told Insider. "The train was detoured off its normal route in order to continue operating south, adding additional time to the trip. Customers were provided regular updates, along with meals, snack packs, and beverages. Additional food from local businesses along the route was also provided during the trip."

The representative said they were delayed roughly 20 hours.

Some people tweeted angry messages at Amtrak, telling the company to solve the problem and get the train going.

"Hey @Amtrak my parents have been stuck on the auto train that left Lorton yesterday around 5pm," one person said on Tuesday night. "Need some answers - food is limited, bathroom facilities are gross, and children/elderly are aboard. They were supposed to arrive almost 12 hours ago."

Another said: "Any help heading towards the fully booked Amtrak auto train full of elderly passengers that is now almost 10 hours past arrival time? No food, no access to medical care, crew has disembarked, no replacement. Stuck in SC."

Some Twitter users appealed to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for help, while others described "deplorable" conditions on the train.

Amtrak told ABC News late Tuesday that the train's staffers were "working with pet owners to provide bathroom breaks."

"We have been providing regular updates to customers, along with meals, snack packs and beverages," the company told ABC News.

January 11, 2023: This story has been updated with a statement from Amtrak.

Read the original article on Business Insider