If we’ve learned anything from the Carnival Poop Cruise earlier this year, it’s to bring an electrical generator wherever — or however — we travel. That’s probably impractical, but as passengers on an Amtrak train stuck for 14 hours outside of Richmond, Va. learned, when the electricity is spotty, having a working potty is a luxury.
More than 250 travelers were stranded on Amtrak Train 91 from New York City to Miami on Sunday, and passengers say the experience was less than delightful: Toilets that couldn’t be relied on, there were problems with the air conditioning, and claims that the train personnel all but up and vanished for much of the ordeal.
“I’m home. I smell like a toilet, but otherwise I’m OK,” one passenger told the Associated Press afterward. The train stopped at 5:30 yesterday and didn’t get going again until about 7 a.m. this morning.
She says that while Amtrak staff explained the problem and apologized, she only had one visit to her car all night, and that she and fellow passengers weren’t kept up to speed on why the train wasn’t moving. To that end, local police arrived to check on passengers who had complained to the media about the lack of face time with staff.
“My biggest complaint was after 10 o’clock they vanished. They vanished while we were in the middle of nowhere,” she said, adding that the power went off, rendering the bathroom situation “horrible.”
“Unfortunately we had the last seat, right next to the bathroom,” she said. “If you’re on a train with a bunch of kids, no bathroom is not an option.”
A spokesman responded to the complaints and said the company would look into it, but that power stayed on.
“I can say with certainty at no point did the train lose electrical power,” he told the AP, adding that electricity could’ve been disrupted during a switch to reserve power.
“All we can do is apologize,” he said. “We did the best we could under the circumstances. Our trains are not usually delayed for this amount of time.”
Again: I want to bring my own power source from now on. Toilets are important.