union station
Union Station in downtown Los Angeles was the ultimate destination of the snow-bound Amtrak train. Photo by John Schreiber.

Getting to Los Angeles was never so difficult.

An Amtrak train that was bound for Los Angeles’ Union Station from Seattle when it got stuck for 36 hours in a snowy spot in Oregon with 183 passengers aboard was back on the move again Tuesday — headed back where it originated from.

Coast Starlight Train 11 came to a stop after hitting a tree on the tracks about 6:20 p.m. Sunday near the town of Oakridge. No passengers or crew members were injured.

On Tuesday morning, a rescue train began pulling the train toward Eugene, which is about 45 miles away.

In a statement, Amtrak apologized to customers for the “extended delay,” blaming “extreme weather issues” of about a foot of snow combined with “numerous trees blocking the track.”

It wasn’t clear what Amtrak would do to compensate Los Angeles-bound passengers for the delay, nor was it known if Amtrak helped passengers to contact friends and relatives of passengers who may have planned to meet the train on arrival at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

The train, which departed Seattle on Sunday, will first go to Eugene, with subsequent stops set for Portland, and then Seattle.

The delays may not be over, however.

“Because of weather conditions, it’s really slow and really stop-and-go,” said Amtrak spokeswoman Olivia Irvin, adding she could not estimate when the train would be arriving.

Service workers planned to meet the train and load it up with doughnuts — and dog food for a service animal aboard.

Tim McMahan, a spokesman for Union Pacific, which owns the rail line, told NPR that crews worked through Monday night to clear the tracks so that a Union Pacific locomotive could pull the Amtrak train.

McMahan said despite the delay, Amtrak decided not to deboard passengers and move them into Oakridge because power was out in town amid the heavy snow and the company did not want to divide them among hotels.

Amtrak said it will be providing passengers with refunds “and other compensation as appropriate.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.