US train stuck since weekend in snow

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-47375076

Train stalled in snowImage copyright
Carly Bigby

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Passenger Carly Bigby shared photos of the stalled train

An Amtrak train with 183 passengers on board that was stalled in the snow for nearly 40 hours is now on its way back to Seattle where it departed on Sunday.

Heavy snow and downed trees had prevented rail crews from reaching the train until Tuesday morning.

The train, travelling from Seattle to Los Angeles, hit the tree around 18:20 on Sunday, local media reported.

No one was hurt in accident, but passengers have complained of a lack of access to food, water, and internet.

While the train itself still has power and essentials, passengers have said other items – like nappies and female sanitary products – are running out and stress levels are rising.

One passenger, Rebekah Dodson, told KTVL News: “We’ve gotten yelled at for opening windows. We can’t get off the train because there’s four feet (1.2m) of snow in every direction. There’s nowhere to go.”

In a separate interview with CNN she said several students have “panicked” because their university professors are refusing to accept their excuse for missing classes.

She added that the group includes about 20 students from Japan, and that there is poor mobile phone reception in the region.

The Coast Starlight Train 11 was stuck near Oakridge – a small town that has become further isolated by the wintry conditions, with snow blocking roads and causing the town to lose power.

Image copyright
Carly Bigby

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There are reportedly babies and children on board the train

Amtrak said they are not charging passengers for any food or water. They are working with the Union Pacific rail company to clear tracks.

Passenger Carly Bigby told the BBC another locomotive had arrived around 06:00 local time, but Amtrak informed them “it is going to be a slow go”.

In a statement on Tuesday, Amtrak said the train is now on its way back to Seattle, but “due to weather conditions, additional delays are to be expected along the route”.

Amtrak said that passengers were kept on board the train because of the power outages in Oakridge and to avoid separating passengers between the town’s two small hotels.

Residents in Oakridge say the situation there is also growing dire, as local petrol stations and grocery stores have had to shut due to lack of electricity.

“You can’t get a hold of water, you can’t get a hold of food, you can’t get a hold of any sort of fuel to create heat or to cook with,” Christina Mentzer told KPIC-TV.

“So people are looking for propane, people are looking for gasoline, people are looking for water. Today they’re asking, but as of right now essentially what’s going on is they’re going around town finding where they can get stuff if it gets that bad.”

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