An Amtrak train bound for Los Angeles from Seattle has been marooned on a snowy Oregon railway for more than 36 hours. The train collided with a fallen tree on Sunday evening and got stuck.
Despite the harrowing circumstances—a finite supply of food, limited cellphone service, cramped quarters, and a dreary winter landscape on all sides—the atmosphere in the train has been surprisingly festive, . Strangers have been making friends and even dancing in the aisles. Free food provided by Amtrak has been served by crew members eager to help maintain the chipper morale. But the cheerful vibes might soon vanish: Passengers were informed on Tuesday morning that breakfast would be their last meal.
The incident came after Oregon was buried in snow from winter storm Ryan over the weekend. The region is still blanketed in the white deluge. "Ryan brought significant snow to southern parts of Oregon's Willamette Valley on Monday, resulting in tree damage and power outages," .
The train moved briefly on Monday, but only lumbered for half a mile before stopping again, owing to the unsafe conditions. Passenger Rebekah Dodson described the snowy abyss to "We can’t get off the train because there’s four feet of snow in every direction, there’s nowhere to go.”
The train screeched to a halt in Oakridge, Oregon, after it was struck by a fallen tree at 6:18 p.m. on Sunday, per CNN. Nobody was hurt in the incident. The all-encompassing snow and ice is making it nearly impossible to safely transport passengers away from the stagnant train. A nearby highway has been rendered inaccessible by the wintry conditions; the only salvation is getting the idled train moving again.
The impasse is expected to end Tuesday. Amtrak notes the train should be able to make it to nearby Eugene. And by the sound of it, time is certainly of the essence:
“We have to put wash clothes together to make diapers for a couple of the kids on the train," Dodson told KTVL. "We got together and got some feminine products together because several people had run out already, so it’s going to be a rough night.”