TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Amtrack Passengers Stranded in Woods in Georgia

Amtrack Passengers Stranded in Woods in Georgia

Associated Press News Wire (
Fri, 30 Dec 2005 12:50:26 -0600

A trainload of frustrated passengers has been stuck on an Amtrak train
stranded in a patch of woods in south Georgia for more than 24 hours.

Amtrak Train 98 has been stalled near Georgia's border with Florida
while engineers wait for a derailed CSX freight train to be removed.

Meanwhile, the train's passengers -- including many cash-strapped families
headed home from vacations -- are getting frustrated.

"We're stuck in the woods," said Eleanor Meyer. "People have ran out
of money buying food. This is unbelievable. You have to run to
different cars because certain cars have run out of toilet paper."

Meyer is trying to return to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., after taking her
19-year-old triplets Katherine, Christine and Janice to their first
trip to Orlando, Fla.

"I took this train because I'm afraid of flying," she said. "Right now
flying is the only way to go."

Young kids are cranky and scared, she said. The elderly are wondering
how their medicine will last longer. And Meyer herself is on the last
drops of the medicine treating her nasty cold.

Peter Nicholson of Newtown, Penn., is returning with his wife from a
visit to Orlando's theme parks. He said he's lucky he brought books to
read during the delay: The mammoth Lord of the Rings trilogy.

But he worries how long the passengers can hold out.

"You wonder how long you have to try to spread out your money and
where your food is coming from," he said. "There's nowhere to go if
you needed something. If anybody got sick, I don't know what they
would do."

The train left Orlando on Thursday around 1 p.m. and was delayed in
Jacksonville for roughly 12 hours. After moving for about two hours,
it's been held up in a patch of forest outside Savannah for now about
24 hours.

In all, eight Amtrak trains were affected by the delays, said Amtrak
spokesman Cliff Black.

Black said the CSX freight train's derailment came at a "choke point"
in the north-south lines that gives trains no chance to pass.

People who can't pay for food will be dealt with on a "case-by-case
basis," he said. "For now, there's plenty of food on the train."

"We're hopeful it will get moving very soon," he added, "We hope to
have the train moving and out of there sometime Friday night or Saturday.".

Back in the woods, passengers scoffed at the train's name, the Meteor.

"It's not a meteor," Meyer said. "But we do need a mediator. We really
need to be rescued. We were stalled there for about an hour before
anyone from the crew bothered to come tell us what was going on."

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: This must certainly be one of the
grander moments in the glorious history of the Toonerville Trolley.
If it has not occurred to Amtrack authorities by now to (a) either
split the wrecked train in two parts and clear the way or (b)
considering they were already delayed 12 hours in Jacksonville, simply
evacuate the trains passengers, bus them to the nearest airport and
have airplanes take everyone to their home town immediatly, then I do
not suppose another eight or ten hours stranded there will change
anything. I mean is anyone besides me old enough to remember when we
had real, honest-to-God reliable rail service in America? PAT]

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