Amtrak passengers stuck on train for 14 hours

CHICAGO -- What was supposed to be a 3-5 hour train ride from Chicago to St. Louis turned into a nearly 14-hour ordeal for dozens of Amtrak passengers.

They had to restart their journey once they returned to Union Station on Tuesday.

Amtrak Train 307 left Chicago around 7 p.m. Monday with 150 passengers on board.

"They told us it was going to be a two hour delay and it kept getting longer and longer," said Autumn Brooks, an Amtrak passenger.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the train was first stopped for four hours near Joliet due to a truck accident. The train was forced to stop a second time neat Dwight because of a track shutdown.

The Livingston County sheriff said nine rail cars carrying corn derailed at the Prairie Central Co-op elevator located near Route 66 and 2000 North Road.

The Union Pacific Train was traveling about 5 miles per hour when it left the elevator after filling up with corn. The sheriff said a mechanical error with the rails caused the cars to leave the track and forced the shutdown.

Unable to continue, passengers said they were stuck on the train for hours - many unprepared to pay for food. Michelle Owens said she was unable take her daily medication because of it.

"I got a kidney transplant nine years ago. I couldn't take it because they weren't offering food except for a little bag of crackers or cookies and that was it," Owens said.

"They wanted to sell their food to us, basically profiting from the fact that we were stuck on their train," said Jake Dorris, another Amtrak passenger.

The train pulled back into Union Station just before 9 a.m. Tuesday. The already exhausted passengers had to wait another hour before boarding buses provided by Amtrak to take them to their destinations.

"We're going to deal with these passengers individually. We will talk to every one of them to assess what went well and what didn't. We apologize profusely. There was nothing we could do to make the train go further because the tracks were closed," Magliari said.

The last bus carrying passengers from Train 307 pulled out of Union Station just before 11 a.m., about 16 hours after their original journey began.
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