Video: Passenger: 'They handled this situation very poorly' news services
updated 1/8/2010 5:46:01 PM ET 2010-01-08T22:46:01

Pulling into Chicago almost a full day behind schedule, one Amtrak passenger recounted "the train from hell," and others are vowing they will never use the rail service again.

Amtrak's California Zephyr arrived 19 hours late full of "tired, hungry and stinky" passengers, according to a story posted on WMAQ's Web site.

The train was plagued by severe weather and other mishaps, the Chicago NBC affiliate reported.

The train struck a pickup in Iowa, causing one of the delays, though the biggest culprit was weather.

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"There is a pass in Nebraska between two hills where the snow drifts were more than two stories tall," Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told WMAQ.

Some passengers complained of a short supply of food and water while others criticized Amtrak's crew for not keeping them informed.

The rail service will pay for hotel rooms for passengers who need them, and will offer refunds on a case-by-case basis.

Winter weather prompted Amtrak to suspend service past Minneapolis on Friday, WMAQ reported, and trains between Chicago and Denver have been suspended until tracks can be cleared.

Two separate Amtrak trains are having problems of their own, WMAQ said:

  • A Denver-bound train that left Chicago arrived 23 hours late.
  • A San Antonio-to-Chicago train derailed in St. Louis on Thursday, temporarily stranding 176 passengers.

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