Hundreds of passengers on Amtrak’s Auto Train were stuck on board after their trip was rerouted due to a CSX freight train derailment.
The detour caused the train, which runs between Lorton, Virginia, and Sanford, Florida, and takes about 17 hours to complete, to last about double the travel time and left many people upset, NBC News reported.
The train left Northern Virginia on Monday around 5:30 p.m. and had gotten to South Carolina when it was then redirected to avoid blocked tracks. A freight train had hit an unoccupied vehicle on the route in Lake City, South Carolina, WJLA reported. Twenty-five cars and two locomotives derailed in that incident.
During that time, Auto Train stopped in Denmark, South Carolina, and the train’s crew timed out, meaning they were not legally allowed to continue the trip. The train had to stop until a replacement crew could access it from a crossing, WJLA reported.
A limited amount of crews are certified to operate the Auto Train, ABC News reported.
The passenger train, which also carries vehicles, made it to Sanford on Wednesday morning, more than 35 hours after the trip began, NBC News reported.
The Auto Train carried 563 passengers and 333 vehicles, ABC News reported.
Amtrak spokesperson Christina Leeds told The Washington Post that passengers were provided meals, snacks and beverages during the “significant delays” and that onboard crewmembers were working with passengers who were traveling with pets to give the animals bathroom breaks.
Passengers told NBC News they were not allowed to get off the train and wondered why they were stopped in “the middle of nowhere.”
Michael McFadden and his family were on a trip to Legoland that had been postponed from November when Hurricane Nicole forced the cancelation of train service.
He said he would have gotten off the train if given the option, but he wasn’t.
“The question that we are asking is why did the train have to stop in the middle of nowhere — not even a small station, and have crew drive to the train?” McFadden told NBC News in an email.
Some passengers went as far as calling 911 from the train. ABC News reported that a conductor can be heard on video shared to social media asking passengers to stop calling police.
“For those of you that are calling the police, we are not holding you hostage,” a conductor can be heard over the loudspeaker, according to ABC News. “We are giving you all the information in which we have. We are sorry about the inconvenience.”
Auto Train service was canceled on Tuesday, but other similar routes departed on Monday and were detoured and missed stops because of the CSX derailment, ABC News reported.
The Auto Train started in 1983 to help avoid the traffic on I-95, the Post reported.
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