Entirely East Lansing staff writer
“This was a 16-hour journey that should only have been 3 hours,’ said Maddie Sherer, East Lansing resident and Michigan State University student.
Amtrak train 364 was scheduled to leave Union Station in Chicago at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Amtrak customer service said that many travelers had reported that there was no update given on delays. After leaving the station at 6:30 p.m., the train then broke down in Niles, Mich. Officials said that it “wouldn’t run at all.”
Sherer said, “when we were stuck they said it was an electrical issue, and then nothing else.” She also stated that they were basically in the dark about the whole situation. “I am not using Amtrak ever again,” she said. Sherer commented that she has used Amtrak frequently in the past and she has never had an experience like this before.
East Lansing resident Corey Giorez was told that the train was delayed in Chicago because of air brake issues. At Niles, “we all got crammed onto an already full train, still no answers.” He said, “when we got to the station, the buses that were supposed to be there weren’t.”
He also said, “I’m going to fly for the rest of my life.”
East Lansing resident Rima Addiego had been trying to leave Chicago since Monday. The train was so delayed the day before she decided to stay another night because her daughter was unwell. At Battle Creek, which was where the train stopped, there were no buses as promised. “A 15-minute projected layover ended up being over 2 hours,” she said, “I’m very frustrated because I’ve been trying to get information and I was treated very very badly.”
“I feel really bad because all the conductors passed the buck to somebody else,” Addiego referred to the lady at the ticket office in the train station at Battle creek. She said that when she spoke to Amtrak earlier they said that it was the responsibility of the conductor to inform passengers what was going on every 15 minutes and that “we had not been told anything since the initial 15 minutes.”
“There has to be a program for trains that break down. There is a process, there is a protocol, and I don’t know what it is,” Addiego stated.
According to a customer service representative, the trains have not been updated since 1975. “We didn’t have these problems when it was cold,” she said, “it’s been the coldest it’s been in 20 years.” She also stated that there has not been a let up this winter so that they could have done repairs. In addition. Amtrak stopped their service to and from chicago for five days to get repairs done last month. “It’s just been one thing after another,” she said.