An Amtrak passenger train that was stranded in snowy Oregon for more than 36 hours after hitting a fallen tree on the tracks is moving once again, Amtrak officials announced Tuesday.
“Amtrak crews worked with local resources and the train is now enroute north to Eugene, Oregon,” Amtrak Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Scot Naparstek said in a statement. “We will be contacting customers to provide refunds and other compensation as appropriate.”
Amtrak Coast Starlight Train 11, which operates a daily service from Seattle to Los Angeles, was carrying nearly 200 people when it stalled outside Oakridge, roughly 150 miles south of Portland, around 6:18 p.m. Sunday.
None of the 183 passengers and dozen crew members were injured, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told CNN. Worsening conditions such as snow and more fallen trees made it impossible for the train to continue or for rescue crews to transport those aboard via alternate transportation for more than 1.5 days.
“We sincerely regret the extended delay customers on the southbound Coast Starlight experienced due to extreme weather issues while traveling with Amtrak,” Naparstek said in his statement Tuesday.
He continued: “With more than a foot of heavy snow and numerous trees blocking the track, we made every decision in the best interest of the safety of our customers during the unfortunate sequence of events. With local power outages and blocked roads, it was decided the safest place for our customers was to remain on the train where we were able to provide food, heat, electricity and toilets.”
The train was stocked with ample food supplies, according to Amtrak. But passengers told local media there was limited cellphone service and that diapers for young children were running low.
“A lot of the [older] kids have been really good but they’re having to run up and down and it’s a lot. Especially the food ― it’s not really food they’re liking,” passenger Carly Bigby told KOIN. “Moms are doing all they can right now.”
Passenger Rebekah Dodson told KGW 8 she could see houses when the train was stalled by Oakridge but that snow prevented anyone from getting on or off the train. Several passengers have had panic attacks during the standstill, Dodson told NBC.
“There’s two or three feet of snow on each side of us,” she said. “We’re stranded.”
Still, passengers say most people remained calm as they tried to pass the time during the nightmarish ordeal. One person played ukulele for children in the cafe car, KGW 8 reported. New friendships were forged through card games and drinking, one passenger told the outlet.
This story has been updated to note the train is running again.