PORTAGE (WKOW) — The trip home for Rodrick McCain hit a snag Tuesday night when the Amtrak train he was traveling on got stranded in Portage. He was one of about 200 passengers on the train from Chicago heading west that got stuck after weather conditions shut down railways in Wisconsin.
“They told us us we were probably going to be here for an hour. And then after that they found out it was going to be another hour. And then after that it was more,” McCain said. “They was talking about maybe moving us through that 25 mile an hour zone. But then the problem was that we had so much backup with other trains. And so that’s the reason why we couldn’t go anywhere.”
“All I can say is I would rather be on the train than in the water. They stopped us because there’s this huge bridge we’re going to be crossing and apparently there’s a bit of a wipe out. Some kind of a washout, I suppose,” said Beth Chenosky, who was on her way to Calgary.
McCain said some people went to a hotel, but he opted to stick it out on the train.
“Really didn’t have no issues or anything like that. A lot of people were just kind of disappointed because everybody wanted to go where they needed to go,” McCain said. “They going to promise us lunches for the coach passengers because a lot of us ran out of money.”
“They gave us water. They set out lukewarm water. But it’s water still. They gave up water and some pretzels, said Christopher Golston of Chicago.
While some passengers summed up their experience as pleasant, others told a very different story. Golston said a man had to be taken to the hospital after becoming ill.
“The dude woke up this morning. They were passing out free coffee and water. But he couldn’t even get to his free coffee and water before he fell out and had a seizure,” he said.
“There’s several toilets that aren’t working. I don’t know if they’re going to get them fixed between now and our departure,” Chenosky said.
After sitting on the train for more than 18 hours, passengers are finally on their way home. The train rolled out of the Portage station just after noon Wednesday.
“Real exciting because I really want to hurry up and go home and relax.” McCain said.
McCain hoped for a better way to end his vacation. But he understands things could have been worst.
“The things is that there’s nothing we can do about it. Nothing Amtrak can do about it. This is mother nature.”
Amtrak issued a statement saying :
Both Amtrak Empire Builder trains that were delayed in Central Wisconsin have resumed their journeys: east to Chicago and west to Seattle and Portland. We appreciate the patience of our customers and the work by CP to restore the route used by these daily trains.
The eastbound Train 7/27 is more than 18 hours behind schedule and the westbound Train 8/28 is more than 22 hours behind schedule.
As always, we’d like to hear from our customers on what we did well and or otherwise. Customer Relations cases can be opened on Amtrak.com or by calling 800-USA-RAIL.