Amtrak trip to New York is 7-hour ordeal
The Sun's Paul West reports that Amtrak Train 174 from Washington to Boston, which he was aboard, arrived in New York's Penn Station just before 6 p.m. after a seven hour trip punctuated with snow-related delays.
The train arrived after one boarding, two re-boardings (including an Acela "rescue" after a breakdown just north of Baltimore).
West described the seven-hour trip as the rail equivalent of a bad day at the Jersey Turnpike, but found it less than surprising in light of the record snows.
Part two of the trip, for passengers headed north to Boston and intermediate stops, will require another train transfer in New York. "Will there be a bar car?" a passenger asked the conductor. He received no reply.
The rain originally became disabled between Essex and Middle River in the vicinity of Orems and Compass roads. Passengers were transferred to an Acela train.
There were no injuries, but conditions were crowded on the stranded train, with many passengers standing.
According to a conductor, the train may have hit a snowdrift, causing damage. The conductor said the undercarriages of the trains are ice-clogged and that a big chunk could have broken loose and damaged the underbody.
"For what it's worth, I heard a loud clunk under our car shortly before the train stopped," the conductor said.
An Acela rescue train, fully loaded with a standing-room-only passenger load, picked up the passengers but stopped unexpectedly about 10 or 15 minutes outside Wilmington. There was a P.A. announcement that the train was "having trouble with one of our cars and the conductor has gone outside to look."
After less than 5 minutes the Acela started rolling again. It moved at a measured pace for Philadelphia, where it unloaded the passengers from the disabled train and headed for New York, well behind schedule.
The substitute train out of Philly, with passengers from four Amtrak trains, made it a few hundred yards from the station before it stopped. Engine trouble. A technician came from the station to see if he could get it moving. It did, but at a walking pace, creeping across from the snowy, scenic Schuykill River as the late afternoon sun illuminated the city.
West said passengers griping about the delays seemed mystified by the disruption. Considering all the people who don't have power, haven't had their street plowed, haven't seen their families for days because they had to work and stay at a hotel for nights on end, West was not convinced it was such a big deal.