TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — An Amtrak train carrying roughly 560 passengers to Florida was delayed for 20 hours after taking a detour around a derailed freight train Monday evening.
A representative for Amtrak told News Channel 8 that Auto Train 53, which was traveling from Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL “detoured off its normal route in order to continue operating south.”
The train left Virginia on Jan. 9 and was supposed to arrive in Florida on Jan. 10 (about 17 hours later), but passengers would later recall the trip “turned into a nightmare.”
For nearly 20 hours, all 563 passengers waited as the lengthy delay grew longer.
“It was the train ride from hell,” Mary-Jane Crowley of Glenville, N.Y., told the New York Times. “What are you going to do? They will not let you out. You just sit there. You just sit and wait and sit and wait.”
One Twitter user, who goes by the username Tara G, posted, “My elderly in-laws are stuck on the train in South Carolina. There has been no communication and no food provisions. Please fix this!”
In a statement to News Channel 8, Amtrak said, “Customers were provided regular updates, along with meals, snack packs, and beverages. Additional food from local businesses along the route was also provided during the trip. The onboard staff worked with pet owners to provide bathroom breaks.”
According to reports, some passengers phoned 911 to report they were being held hostage on the train.
In response, one conductor asked passengers not to call the police saying over the loudspeaker, “Once again, for those of you that are calling the police, we are not holding you, hostage. we are giving you all the information in which we have and we are sorry about the inconvenience.”
The train ultimately arrived in Sanford, Fla. on Wednesday, Jan. 11 with an approximate 20-hour delay.
Amtrak apologized for the delay saying it is working with each customer on fare refunds.
The rail service allows customers to travel with vehicles, including cars, vans, SUVs, motorcycles, and small boats or jet skis.