LOCAL NEWS

Passengers Stuck On Amtrak Train In Utah County For 20 Hours

Jun 7, 2020, 10:14 PM | Updated: Nov 2, 2022, 6:40 pm

PROVO, Utah — Dozens of passengers on an Amtrak train were stranded in Spanish Fork Canyon overnight due to mechanical issues. After being stuck for more than 20 hours, they’re finally off.

Helper, Utah definitely wasn’t their final destination, but after their train hit a boulder and broke down on the tracks, 39 passengers said they’re grateful to be off.

Terry Cook was one of dozens of passengers stuck onboard the Amtrak, and you could say his experience was less than pleasant.

“It was totally terrible,” said Cook. “Well you had no bathrooms, you didn’t have air, no electricity, so you could do nothing but sit there in the dark.”

The California Zephyr Train 5 was traveling from Chicago to Emeryville, California, but something got in the way.

A large boulder was blocking the tracks in Spanish Fork Canyon, about 35 miles east of Provo. The train hit it, damaging the engine.

“The toilets were terrible, the power went out, no one could use the restroom,” said Cook.

Daniel Cano said there was no electricity, and the whole train smelled awful from the bathrooms. He didn’t think they’d be stuck that long, but he was wrong.

“They kept on telling us we were leaving… 15 minutes later we were still there. 20 minutes later we were still there,” said Cano. “For like a 7-8 hour period, they didn’t talk to us at all.”

Amtrak later said due to ongoing mechanical issues, Train 5 would terminate near Provo, and passengers would transfer to Train 6.

20 hours later, passengers were transferred to another Amtrak train and brought to Helper. From there, they were loaded onto a bus.

Cano thought that should have happened much earlier.

“We’re assuming if they’re Amtrak, they can get buses,” said Cano. “Stuff like that, they never did. What I would say to Amtrak is you guys need to do something better.”

Amtrak said they’ll work to give refunds to each of the passengers, but all Cano could think of was getting home.

“I’m very so happy that I’m about to leave you right now and go home and see my wife,” he said.

An Amtrak spokesperson said they don’t know how the boulder ended up on the tracks, but it could have been weather related.

They said they apologize for the extended delay.

KSL 5 TV Live

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Passengers Stuck On Amtrak Train In Utah County For 20 Hours