ST. JOSEPH — Almost 80 Amtrak passengers were delayed three hours Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning when the train they were on broke down about five miles before reaching the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor station.
“We’re all stopped here. ... My entire unit just shut down,” a train employee can be heard announcing on a recording of the incident caught by the Saint Joseph Area Rail and Marine channel of Broadcastify.
When contacted Wednesday by phone, Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari said Pere Marquette Amtrak Train 370 was traveling from Chicago to Grand Rapids when it experienced mechanical problems around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday.
On a Broadcastify recording, train personnel can be heard up and down the line announcing where they were stopping or slowing down their trains so they didn’t hit each other.
On the crippled train, personnel said the passengers were getting cold, so another locomotive uncoupled from its train cars to travel to the passenger train and give it power. Meanwhile, a rescue train was on the way to take the Amtrak train to the station at 410 1/2 Vine St. in St. Joseph.
Magliari said the 78 passengers stayed on the train at the station while waiting for buses, which arrived around 1 a.m., to take them to their final destinations. Silver Beach Pizza, part of the same building as the station, was closed at the time.
Stops along that route besides St. Joseph are Bangor and Holland.
Magliari said Amtrak service was expected to be back to normal Wednesday evening.
Passengers seeking refunds or who want to give feedback about how they were treated during the breakdown can call 800-USA-RAIL (800-872-7245).
Contact: lwrege@TheHP.com, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege