5-Hour Amtrak Trip to Chicago Turns Into Lengthy Nightmare

For a while there were no flushable toilets
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2022 4:18 PM CDT
5-Hour Amtrak Trip to Chicago Turns Into Lengthy Nightmare
An Amtrak passenger train departs Chicago in the early evening headed south Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Tales of stuck passengers make the news fairly frequently—though they're usually sitting on runways, not tracks. Hundreds of passengers ended up stuck on an Amtrak train that had set out on a 5.5-hour journey from Pontiac, Michigan, to Chicago on Friday. The Detroit News reports it ended up being a 19-hour trip during which power issues left the train without lights, heat, or flushable toilets. MLive reports Wolverine Train 351 set off around 6am EST Friday and stopped in the Ann Arbor area after experiencing engine issues. Wolverine 353 was brought in to pull it. More starts and stops followed, and the trains later had to stop again due to the 12-hour federal cap on shift length for train crews. The trains didn't make it to Chicago until after 12am CST.

Passengers told MLive they didn't receive adequate updates from Amtrak staff, with one recounting, "We’re cold, hungry, people need to use the bathroom. It smells awful. And a percentage of people are having acute anxiety symptoms and screaming." One passenger says he finally exited near Gary, Indiana, and paid $200 for an Uber to get him the rest of the way. A 21-year-old woman who finally decided to exit says she crossed live tracks, found a break in a fence, and called her dad to get her from along the expressway. Passengers tell MLive Amtrak's offer to refund their tickets is inadequate. (More Amtrak stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.