STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Passengers Stuck on Amtrak Train Since Sunday Arrive Back in Eugene

183 passengers and crew were kept aboard a halted train between Eugene and Klamath Falls after the train struck a fallen tree on Sunday night.

Posted: Feb 25, 2019 4:59 PM
Updated: Feb 26, 2019 9:06 PM

EUGENE, Ore. — Passengers and crew who were stuck aboard an Amtrak train halted near the remote Oregon town of Oakridge since Sunday evening have at last arrived back in Eugene — meaning that most of those passengers will still need to find another way to reach their final destination.

Marla Edge and Beulah Davis are from Klamath Falls. They were traveling separately, but found each other by chance on the stranded train. They used to work together, and haven't seen each other for years.

"We were both returning our cars to Enterprise in Albany. I had already deposited my keys in the box, and I was getting in the cab to go to the train station," Davis said. "Then she said, 'Beulah!' I looked up and there she was." 

The two had plenty of time to catch up. 

On Sunday evening, the Amtrak Coast Starlight train 11 was traveling southeast from Eugene into the Cascade Mountains. Some of the passengers came from as far north as Seattle with destinations in California, although the train had stopped in Eugene with another stop planned in Klamath Falls — the final destination for many local passengers.

Just after 6 p.m. on Sunday, the train struck a downed tree laid out across the tracks. None of the 183 passengers and crew members aboard were injured, according to Amtrak. However, it was far from the end of their ordeal.

"Conditions further deteriorated with numerous track blockages from snow and fallen trees," Amtrak said.

Due to worsening conditions, road closures in the area and "no viable way to safely transport" the passengers away, the train stopped at Oakridge, the company said.

"We are actively working with Union Pacific to clear the right of way and get passengers off the train," said Olivia Irvin with Amtrak on Monday.

Irvin said that passengers were allowed off the train "due to unsafe weather conditions." The tiny town of Oakridge boasts a little more than 3,200 people, and those in the town weren't in a significantly better position — cut off from power and safe routes out of town due to the very same storm.

By Tuesday, passengers on the train who were able to post to social media reported being short on food and essentials such as diapers. 

"There wasn't really any food this morning -- leftover packaged snacks [and] some coffee, which we were grateful for," Edge said. She added however that prior to that they had 3 meals per day, and added the crew was doing the absolute best they could.

That's something Davis echoed, both saying they appreciated all the crew's hard work. 

"They did the best they could, and they did really well," Edge said. 

Amtrak Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Scot Naparstek released the following statement on Tuesday morning:

We sincerely regret the extended delay customers on the southbound Coast Starlight experienced due to extreme weather issues while traveling with Amtrak. With more than a foot of heavy snow and numerous trees blocking the track, we made every decision in the best interest of the safety of our customers during the unfortunate sequence of events. With local power outages and blocked roads, it was decided the safest place for our customers was to remain on the train where we were able to provide food, heat, electricity and toilets. Amtrak crews worked with local resources and the train is now enroute north to Eugene, Oregon. We will be contacting customers to provide refunds and other compensation as appropriate.

The train did indeed begin a slow, limping journey back to Eugene, arriving before noon at the train station it had departed nearly two days prior.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 12438

Reported Deaths: 237
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah296672
Marion189354
Washington189221
Umatilla10418
Clackamas100628
Malheur4002
Union3692
Lincoln3615
Lane3093
Deschutes2680
Yamhill2059
Linn18210
Jackson1810
Polk17912
Jefferson1680
Morrow1541
Klamath1381
Wasco1171
Benton1156
Hood River1060
Douglas640
Josephine571
Clatsop550
Columbia540
Coos540
Lake240
Crook181
Tillamook160
Wallowa150
Baker120
Curry90
Sherman50
Gilliam20
Harney20
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 333357

Reported Deaths: 7089
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1363573824
Riverside25748550
Orange25255424
San Diego19929422
San Bernardino19502307
Fresno828288
Imperial7977136
Alameda7976148
San Joaquin698870
Kern660198
Santa Clara6542167
Tulare5942152
Sacramento571483
Stanislaus497351
Contra Costa485290
San Francisco459050
Ventura424653
San Mateo4045112
Santa Barbara393131
Marin370232
Kings297039
Monterey279018
Solano207528
Merced188412
Sonoma181916
Placer111411
San Luis Obispo10065
Yolo92928
Madera8938
Santa Cruz5693
Napa5184
Lassen4280
Sutter4034
San Benito3622
Butte3384
El Dorado3070
Shasta2006
Yuba1983
Glenn1760
Humboldt1654
Nevada1631
Mendocino1320
Lake1211
Colusa1130
Tehama1071
Tuolumne730
Calaveras670
Del Norte610
Mono521
Siskiyou410
Amador400
Inyo351
Mariposa321
Plumas190
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 88°
Brookings
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 86°
Crater Lake
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 84°
Grants Pass
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 90°
Klamath Falls
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 84°
Sunny and hotter Tuesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Tuesday, July 14 afternoon weather

Image

Volunteers saddened by death of Medford homeless man

Image

Tuesday, July 14 morning weather

Image

Rogue CC postpones fall sports to spring

Image

Monday, July 13th Evening Weather

Image

Rogue Retreat speaks out after homeless man killed in stabbing

Image

California Governor rolls back reopening throughout the state

Image

Rogues fall to Seals in Sunday afternoon pitching duel

Image

Monday, July 13 afternoon weather

Image

Reality Tease