Video: N.Y.-bound Amtrak train delayed

updated 12/31/2005 8:24:49 PM ET 2006-01-01T01:24:49

Exasperated passengers were stuck on an Amtrak train for close to 20 hours while engineers waited for a derailed freight train to be removed.

Amtrak Train 98 started to move again Friday around 1:30 p.m., with the hopes of reaching New York by Saturday. Two passenger trains behind it were delayed for less time.

The train had left Orlando, Fla., on Thursday around 1 p.m., but was delayed in Jacksonville for roughly 12 hours because of the derailment. It started moving again about 4 a.m., but stopped again in a patch of forest outside Savannah about two hours later.

“We’re stuck in the woods,” passenger Eleanor Meyer said in a cell-phone interview. “People have ran out of money buying food. This is unbelievable. You have to run to different cars because certain cars have run out of toilet paper.”

Meyer was trying to return to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., after taking her 19-year-old triplets on their first trip to Orlando, Fla.

“I took this train because I’m afraid of flying,” she said. “Right now flying is the only way to go.”

Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black said the CSX freight train’s derailment came at a “choke point” in the north-south lines that gave trains no chance to pass.

Amtrak arranged to provide free lunches on the New York-bound train and two other trains stuck south of Savannah — the Silver Star and a train carrying automobiles and passengers.

Cranky, scared and worried
Meyer said young children on the train were cranky and scared, and older people were concerned about running out of their medication.

Peter Nicholson of Newtown, Pa., returning with his wife from a visit to Orlando’s theme parks, said he was glad he brought books to read during the delay: The mammoth “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

But he worries how long the passengers can hold out.

“You wonder how long you have to try to spread out your money and where your food is coming from,” he said. “There’s nowhere to go if you needed something. If anybody got sick, I don’t know what they would do.”

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