Passengers on Amtrak's Cardinal service (Train 51) heading toward Chicago, Illinois from New York have been stranded in West Virginia since approximately 8:00 pm due to last night's storms, Jalopnik can confirm. Amtrak says 232 passengers were on board when downed trees forced them to stop. It'll be another few hours before some of them are able to move again on buses, while others are stuck on the train for an indefinite amount of time.
UPDATE: The AP is reporting that all passengers have been boarded onto buses, not just the ones bound for Cincinnati.
The train was traveling last night from New York to Chicago when storms forced it to stop at approximately 11:00 PM Eastern Time near Prince, West Virginia. The cause, according to the Fayette County Sherrif's department, was a large number of trees on the tracks.
National Park Service Rangers have been dispatched to the scene to check on them, according to the Sherrif's office. A reader with a sister on the train says he last heard from her since 9:00 am this morning when her phone died.
The train is a long-distance train and still has power, according to Amtrak, so passengers were provided with air-conditioning. Food was also on board and crew members were sent in town for more provisions for passengers. The passengers will be moved onto buses because the tracks, which are owned and operated by CSX, are still covered with downed trees.
"The plan is to bring buses to Prince and take the folks towards their destination," said an Amtrak spokesperson. "Because of the severe weather and because there are many transportation companies looking for buses we had to get buses from Pennsylvania and there are federal hours of service rules that limit them to travel to Cincinnati."
This means passnegers going to Cincinnati will be taken towards their destination in a few hours when the buses — likely having to contend with downed trees themselves — finally arrive. Amtrak had no estimate for when buses taking passengers beyond Cincinnati will be made available.
Photo Credit: RedArrow