Virginia senators question Amtrak on train stranded in storm

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U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) have sent a letter to Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn and Amtrak President Stephen J. Gardner, seeking information on why a train was stranded for nearly 40 hours during a recent winter storm.

Amtrak Crescent Train 20 left New Orleans on Jan. 2 en route to New York with approximately 220 passengers and six crew members on board. The train made it 20 miles outside of Lynchburg, VA, before downed power lines and trees forced it to return to Lynchburg’s Kemper Street Station.

Amtrak said in a statement that food and water were available, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported passengers said there was no food or toilets, and they were not informed when their trip would resume.

“It is unacceptable that Amtrak did not better communicate with passengers during an emergency situation such as this,” the letter said. “Inclement weather is uncontrollable. However, Amtrak must have appropriate systems and practices in place to ensure that passengers and crew caught in such weather are not only safe but also understand the situation and their options.”

The trip resumed on the afternoon of Jan. 4. Passengers were brought McDonald’s food after they had been without food since the previous day, the Associated Press said.