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A packed Amtrak Auto Train was redirected then stranded in a rural part of South Carolina for nearly a day and a half, encountering food shortages and prompting some travelers to call emergency services and complain on social media, claiming they were being held “hostage.”
The train, specifically designed to transport passengers and their vehicles, had started its journey from Washington D.C. on Monday and was expected to reach Sanford, Florida, by Tuesday morning, as reported by The Washington Post. Up ahead of the Auto Train, a CSX train struck a vehicle stuck on the tracks in Lake City, S.C. Two locomotives and 25 train cars were derailed.
As the delay dragged on, some passengers called 911, sure there was a nefarious cause.
While Amtrak spokesperson Christina Leeds told the Post that the train was “impacted by significant delays due to a CSX freight derailment in South Carolina,” some passengers tweeted about the delay or their families tagged Amtrak with complaints.
BREAKING: A travel nightmare is unfolding right now on Amtrak. Passengers on the Auto Train have been stuck on board for 29+ hours, currently sitting in the woods in rural South Carolina. Passengers called the local police saying they’re being held hostage.
— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) January 11, 2023
Eventually, a conductor addressed passengers, reportedly saying, “For those of you calling the police, we are not holding you hostage. We are giving you all the information which we have. We are sorry about the inconvenience.”
The train finally reached its Sanford, Florida, destination early Wednesday. Altogether, the 563 passengers and 333 vehicles endured a 37-hour trip.