Passengers said they were trapped for several hours on Amtrak

Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 7:11 AM CDT
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CHICAGO (WLS) - Passengers hoping to take a train from Detroit to Chicago said they ended up having to flee the transportation after they were trapped on the train for hours without electricity, working bathrooms, water or food.

Jake Tobias and Melissa Behring from the Detroit area had a big trip planned to Chicago Friday night, boarding their Amtrak train in Royal Oak Michigan early that morning.

“And it was set up to six in the morning roughly and get in around 10:30 local time in Chicago.” Tobias said.

But the five-hour journey turned into an all-day ordeal.

Amtrak said the train had a mechanical issue and stopped west of Ann Arbor to couple with another train.

Passengers on board said that was only the beginning.

“Within the first hour they ran out of water. There was no water for anybody to drink,” Behring said.

“They were calling engineering crews hoping to get some power restored,” Tobias said.

But power was never restored for the rest of their ride.

Amtrak said a medical issue forced another delay, and when the train got to Hammond, Indiana, the couple said they received another frustrating announcement from Amtrak crews.

“They said our workers have hit their hourly limit,” Tobias said. “We’re going to have to wait for a new crew.”

That’s when the couple and dozens of other passengers took matters into their own hands.

“We jumped off the train. We were following some other people through the woods. We hopped a fence. We waited by the side of the road, tried to get Uber,” Tobias said.

“Yeah, on the freeway,” Behring said. “I really think that they needed a plan to get people off of those trains when they don’t function and move them to their destination.”

In a statement Tuesday, a spokesperson for Amtrak said in part, “We began contacting customers from both trains over the weekend to repeat our apologies and offer them refunds or transportation credit for a future trip at their option.”

Passengers said while it is a nice to offer compensation for the trip, they’re still losing money on the plans that were lost or canceled.