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Trains freed from snowy California mountains

Severe Weather
A Springfield City police officer directs traffic as heavy equipment remove snow from downtown Springfield, Ill., streets after a fast moving winter snow storm left 10 inches of snow, Friday, Feb. 1.Seth Perlman / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A passenger train stuck overnight in the Northern California mountains resumed its journey Saturday after a snow plow that was blocking the tracks was removed, officials said.

Two Amtrak trains with about 400 passengers were initially stranded after the accident Friday. One train was pulled to Reno, Nevada, and its 165 passengers were put up in a hotel, Amtrak spokeswoman Karina Romero said.

The other train, which was headed from Emeryville to Chicago, remained in the mountains until the tracks were cleared Saturday morning.

About 60 passengers from the second train were taken by bus back to the San Francisco Bay area overnight, while 155 stayed on board to wait for the line to reopen, Romero said.

The train had heating and lights and passengers were given food, Romero said. No injuries were reported.

The train was scheduled to arrive in Chicago Monday morning about 16 hours behind schedule.

A Union Pacific spokeswoman, Zoe Richmond, confirmed that the company's equipment was blocking the tracks but had no other information.

Storms sock both sides of country
Winter storms at both ends of the country dumped snow and snarled air and land travel, killing at least 10 people and blocking major highways.

Nearly 7.5 inches of snow was reported at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport before the front moved out of the area Friday. About 500 flights were canceled at O'Hare, which canceled 600 flights Thursday and housed hundreds of stranded travelers who spent the night awaiting planes from other cities also affected by the storm.

At least 12 inches of snow was reported in Springfield by Friday morning, said National Weather Service meteorologist Gino Izzi. Other parts of Illinois saw similar amounts.

"If you don't have to be out here, don't," Ty Wilson, a very wet Chicago bicycle messenger, said as he stopped along a slushy street between morning deliveries.

The storm brought snow, freezing rain and sleet to the Northeast, where arriving flights at Newark Liberty Airport were delayed as long as three hours Friday afternoon. Arrivals were delayed by 2 1/2 hours at La Guardia Airport, two hours at Philadelphia International and an hour and a half at New York's Kennedy, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's Web site.

At least four people died Friday on ice-slicked New York state roads. Six people died on Illinois roads Thursday and Friday.

Another storm system made roads impassible in parts of the Pacific Northwest. In Washington state, Interstate 90 was reopened Saturday morning after being closed for three days because of the avalanche danger at the Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascade Range.