Speed Reads

A Treacherous Trip

How a 17-hour Amtrak trip turned into a 37-hour debacle

Passengers on an Amtrak train traveling from the Washington, D.C., area to Florida got much more than they bargained for when their trip was unexpectedly delayed, causing them to be stuck on the train for nearly a full extra day. 

What was supposed to be a 17-hour journey ended after 37 hours on Wednesday morning, when the train finally rolled into the station at Sanford, Florida.

The train had left Lorton, Virginia at 5 p.m. Monday, and was scheduled to arrive in Sanford by 10 a.m. Tuesday. The trip had started normally, however, the train was forced to take a detour Monday night due to a nearby freighter derailment, and ended up sitting on the tracks for hours in a rural area near Denmark, South Carolina.

Amtrak reportedly told passengers that they would not be allowed to disembark the train at any time. Videos obtained by ABC News reportedly showed angry passengers calling 911 from the halted train, prompting a conductor to beg them to stop. 

"For those of you that are calling the police, we are not holding you hostage," the conductor was reportedly heard saying over the loudspeaker. "We are giving you all the information we have. We are sorry about the inconvenience."

Passenger Michael McFadden, who was traveling to Florida with his family to visit Legoland, told NBC News, "I just feel like I'm bad luck, that's how I feel."

"The question that we are asking is, why did the train have to stop in the middle of nowhere — not even a small station, and have crew drive to the train?" McFadden added.