About 450 Amtrak passengers were stranded in Chicago’s Union Station for almost 24 hours — without food, water or access to reliable functioning restrooms.
The Empire Builder, a train to the Pacific Northwest was scheduled to leave at 2:15 pm Monday — but didn’t actually leave the station until 1:22 pm today, says Chicago Breaking News. Similar reports of horrible delays are popping up all over the country.
Here’s a train to Michigan that left 8 hours late from Chicago and was spotted sitting on a sidetrack waiting for a new crew. And here’s another one to Chicago that stopped mysteriously every hour and forty-five minutes.
The stranded passengers in Chicago say that they had trouble getting a straight answer from Amtrak.
They just keep giving us all of these excuses. Excuse after excuse after excuse,” Beth Kelly, 29, of Lima, Ohio, said earlier. She had been en route to Canada by way of Minot, N.D.
The “excuses” have included engine problems and that no conductor was available for the train, Kelly said.
In a morning update with disgruntled and angry passengers on the train, an Amtrak employee said, “If there’s a rebellion here, I’m with you.”
Passengers say they were allowed to board the train and sleep on hard linoleum floors in the “standing room only” space because the terminals were too cold. In some cars there were no toilets and no one was passing out water.
One passenger said that when she complained about the way they were being treated, the Amtrak employee told her she was being taught a “life lesson.”
Kelly said when she asked a customer service employee what to do, she was told: “Sometimes life puts you in a situation, where you need to learn a lesson. I would figure out what that lesson is supposed to be.”
It’s a good thing for that customer service rep that Kelly had previously learned another important life lesson: Don’t punch Amtrak customer service people in the face… no matter what they say to you.