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Senators looking for better Amtrak protocol after passengers stranded

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 2:58 PM EST
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WASHINGTON, DC (WDBJ/Warner & Kaine Release) - US Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) are hoping for improvements to Amtrak operations after passengers were stranded on a train for more than 24 hours in Lynchburg during this week’s storm.

“According to news reports, passengers on board described the lack of communication from Amtrak as a nightmare situation. One passenger has said that Amtrak did not tell passengers that they would be spending the night in the train after it returned to Kemper Street Station. While Amtrak released a statement saying that food and water was available for its stranded customers, passengers have reported that the train ran out of food,” wrote the Senators in a letter to Amtrak.

Kaine and Warner continued, “It is unacceptable that Amtrak did not better communicate with passengers during an emergency situation such as this. Inclement weather is uncontrollable. However, Amtrak must have appropriate systems and practices in place to ensure that passengers and crew caught in such weather are not only safe, but also understand the situation and their options. We have long been supporters of Amtrak; but, simply put, Amtrak must do better.

About 220 passengers and six crew members were onboard the Amtrak train, which was headed to New York from New Orleans. Monday morning, the train made it 20 miles outside of Lynchburg before turning around and returning to Lynchburg’s Kemper Street Station due to downed power lines and trees caused by a winter storm.

See the full letter here:

You can find Amtrak’s response below:

“We work hard to provide our customers with the best possible travel experience; part of that experience involves proper communication to our customers. With numerous downed trees and severe weather conditions, we fell short of that expectation. With a deep commitment to doing better, we will be conducting a formal audit on our emergency response to ensure that we can provide the level of communication that our customers have come to expect.”

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