Amtrak Delayed by Extreme Weather

January  07, 2014

      It was a long night for hundreds of travelers trying to get to Chicago from California and western Illinois. They slept, or at least tried to, on three Amtrak trains that were stuck on the tracks due to snow and ice blocking their route. 

      Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the Southwest Chief from Los Angeles, and the train from Quincy, were forced to stop last night in Bureau County when the tracks became impassable. Behind them, the California Zephyr was held in Galesburg.

      "All these passengers were sheltered in place. It was not a fit night to take people off trains and onto chartered buses. And we couldn't get chartered buses that quickly anyway."

      Red Cross and other emergency crews were alerted and on standby overnight, just in case they were needed. 

      One of the trains finally returned to Princeton about 3 am, and its passengers were bussed to Chicago. People riding on the other two finally made it to Chicago by bus, early this afternoon.

      Magliari says crews are trying to clear the tracks, so limited service may be possible Wednesday but he doesn't expect full service to be restored until Thursday, or even Friday.  He suggests travelers check the website for service alerts - amtrak.com/alert.