As you’re snuggled up to your cubicle space heater and dreading that icy walk home, sure, you’re allowed to feel the cold and be grumpy about it. But imagine being stuck on an Amtrak train for hours, overnight, huddled in your coat and hungry, with flooded bathrooms and nonworking toilets. Those are some of the conditions passengers stranded on three trains in Illinois said they faced before their rescue this morning.
More than 500 passengers were marooned on the trains after snow made the trains’ passing impossible, reports USA Today. Those people are now on buses back to Chicago and set to be home soon after the end of their ordeal.
It all started at about 3:30 p.m. CT yesterday when the three trains were stopped about 80 miles from Chicago, an Amtrak spokesman said. Drifting snow and ice were to blame.
Passengers called into various media outlets as conditions deteriorated on the trains, reporting long periods without food, uncomfortable cold and as seems to always happen when passenger vehicles break down, bathroom problems.
“The conditions [ares] cold; we’re wearing coats,” one passenger said. “And my husband is a diabetic. He hasn’t had any food all day. The bathrooms are flooded. The sinks are full with water and the toilets are flooded.”
Another passenger had a better time of it, telling news outlets that on her train, she and other travelers received beef stew and mashed potatoes with a dinner roll, coffee and water yesterday evening. This, despite the fact that staff couldn’t explain what was going on until later.
“The staff of the train have really been trying to make everyone as happy and comfortable as possible,” she said.
The problem could be that one of the two trains didn’t have full-service café cars, only “one food service option,” the lowly snack bar.
“There were always working toilets on all the trains,” the spokesman said, adding that some toilets might have malfunctioned but “we were never without toilets.”