Stranded Amtrak train passengers arrive in Eugene

An Amtrak train headed for Los Angeles with nearly 200 people on board came to a standstill after hitting a tree that had fallen onto the tracks.

Posted: Feb 26, 2019 5:40 AM
Updated: Feb 26, 2019 1:26 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- An Amtrak train headed for Los Angeles with almost 200 people on board came to a standstill Sunday evening after hitting a tree that had fallen onto the tracks, and now the rescued train has made its way to Eugene.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told CNN that none of the 183 passengers and dozen crew members were injured, but that "conditions further deteriorated with numerous track blockages from snow and fallen trees."

"Due to worsening conditions, area road closures and no viable way to safely transport passengers or crews via alternate transportation, Train 11 stopped in Oakridge, Oregon," he said. "We are actively working with Union Pacific to clear the right of way and get passengers off the train."

The train still has power and there is enough food on board -- for which passengers will not be charged, Amtrak said on Twitter.

Passenger Carly Bigby told CNN affiliate KOIN 6 the snack cart on the train is empty and people have run out of diapers for their children.

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

Bigby also said some people don't have good cell phone reception in the area where the train is stuck, and haven't been able to easily contact their family.

"It's just been like a giant kumbaya party," another passenger, Rebekah Dodson, told CNN. "Strangers are playing cards. A teenager played his ukulele to kids to get them to sleep. Ladies who have never met before were dancing in aisles."

Morale among passengers has been good, she said. Some college students have "panicked" because their professors won't accept their excuse for missing class.

But, surrounded by snow, they weren't able to go anywhere.

Train 11, which operates daily between Seattle and Los Angeles, struck the fallen tree around 6:18 p.m. Sunday, Magliari said.

Amtrak anticipates the train will return to Eugene on Tuesday morning, he said.

Stay with KEZI 9 News for updates.

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