BOSTON (CBS) – An Amtrak train heading to Boston was stuck in the Bronx for about four hours overnight, leaving passengers freezing with no heat on board.
Northeast Regional Train 66 from Washington, DC was coming through New York City early Friday morning on its way to South Station when the rail line said there was a problem with overhead wires that had come down.
The train stopped unexpectedly in the Bronx shortly after 3 a.m. with 188 passengers on board.
“It’s freezing cold. The bathrooms aren’t working. There’s no power and there’s very little communication on behalf of the Amtrak crew to let us know what’s happening, when it’s happening,” passenger Brenda Shipley told WCBS NewsRadio 880. “And it’s really, really cold.”
“They wouldn’t send another train to get us,” Shipley said, adding that some passengers were anxious because they were going to miss flights out of Boston or medical appointments there.
“We all understand mechanical problems happen, but they have mishandled this thing from a customer service perspective. They’ve mishandled this from a mechanical perspective. They should have done something else. There’s no blankets, there’s no water, nothing and the crew basically ran and hid. They would not even face us and tell us what was going on.”
Several other riders complained on Twitter.
Amtrak said power was restored at 7:10 a.m. and the train was moving again around 7:30 a.m.
“Once the train arrived in New Rochelle, NY shortly after 8:00 a.m. this morning, the passengers were transferred to train #190 bound for Boston,” Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert told WBZ-TV in an email.
All of the passengers ended up arriving at South Station on two trains just after noon.
“I’ve never been more happy to be back in my entire life. I’m not leaving for a long time,” passenger Jennifer Schumacher said after disembarking.
One rider discussed the problem that caused the unplanned stop.
“The train runs off an overhead wire. They lost connection to that, you’d think they’d figure it out. Didn’t know it would take four hours,” passenger Kurt Hellauer told WBZ.
A female passenger thought of a kitchen appliance when it came to comparing the temperature in the train car early Friday morning.
“It was cold. Let’s put it this way – I think my refrigerator was a little warmer at home!,” Sharon Rice said.
Eventually, the passengers were loaded onto another train but not until they had to stand on a freezing platform for 20 minutes.
A reporter asked, “What was Amtrak’s response?” “Zero, zero response,” said another passenger.
“Today we fell short of providing the outstanding service that customers should expect from Amtrak, and we are sorry for the delay and the significant inconvenience, including the loss of heat onboard,” Amtrak Chief Operations Officer Scot Naparstek said in a statement Friday.
“We also regret that some passengers did not receive adequate information about the situation while we worked to fix the problems.”
Passengers told WBZ Amtrak offered them certificates for a free train ride, but they didn’t think that was nearly enough.