Amtrak train heading back to Seattle after 183 passengers stuck since Sunday – MyNorthwest.com

An Amtrak train heading from Seattle to Los Angeles was stuck in Oakridge, Oregon for two nights after striking a fallen tree around 6:30 p.m. Sunday night after a recent snowstorm.

No one was injured in the crash.

After the train was freed, it made it back to Eugene about 11:30 a.m.  Amtrak said it would be heading back to Seattle,  but a railroad bridge owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe caught fire Tuesday morning, according to KOIN 6 News.

BNSF told KOIN the bridge, known as the Slough Bridge, is the only bridge between Oregon and Washington in which trains can cross the Columbia River.

The fire is out. Portland Fire said the flames were believed to have been started by workers on the bridge.

As of noon, all traffic was stopped, including Amtrak and Union Pacific, while the bridge was being inspected.

Traffic on the bridge is expected to resume at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The train started its journey in Seattle at 9:45 a.m. Sunday and became stuck in Oakridge, Ore. that night.

Amtrak spokeswoman Olivia Irvin said heavy snow and debris on the tracks kept the 183 passengers on the Coast Starlight Train stuck in the area.

Amtrak tweeted at about 7:20 a.m. that the train was back on the move and was returning to Seattle, but that due to weather conditions, delays were expected along the route.

The slow-moving train took several hours to get to Eugene.

Union Pacific, which owns the tracks, released a statement Monday night:

“The Amtrak train in Oakridge, Oregon, is inoperable due to weather conditions and downed trees. UP crews are in the process of clearing the track and are expected to reach the train by 6 a.m. PT.”

Amtrak made the decision to keep the passengers on the train because power is out in the city.

Also, with only two small hotels in town, they didn’t want to separate the passengers prior to having them reboard for departure.

Amtrak initially said there was enough food on the train, but a passenger, Rebekah Dodson, told KIRO 7 that by Tuesday morning, the snack carts were empty and people were making diapers out of napkins and safety pins.

Amtrak Executive Vice President Scot Naparstek apologized in a statement.

“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,” he said.

Officials decided that the train was the safest place for passengers to stay because it had food, heat electricity and functioning toilets, Naparstek said.

He said Amtrak will contact customers “to provide refunds and other compensation as appropriate.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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