Delayed Amtrak Auto Train arrives 37 hours after departure

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Passengers traveling on an Amtrak Auto Train from a Washington, DC, suburb on Monday night should arrive in the Orlando area by Tuesday morning. But the planned 17-hour journey suffered significant delays caused by a cargo derailment.

The train arrived at the station in Sanford, Fla., on Wednesday morning, ending the 37-hour journey. The 563 passengers and 333 vehicles on board were delayed by almost 20 hours.

The southbound Amtrak Auto Train was diverted from its normal route due to a CSX freight derailment on Monday night and was stopped in Denmark, South Carolina while awaiting the arrival of a new crew, Amtrak said.

“The train was diverted from its normal route to continue operating in the south,” Amtrak told ABC News on Tuesday, confirming that the train was moving again.

“We have been providing customers with regular updates along with meals, snacks and drinks,” he said. “Onboard staff are working with pet owners to provide bathroom breaks.”

An Amtrak train pulls to a stop at Union Station on December 9, 2021 in Los Angeles.

Mario Tama/Getty Images, ARCHIVE

The Amtrak Auto Train, which departed Lorton, Va., at 5:00 pm on Monday, was initially scheduled to arrive in Sanford, Florida, at 10:00 am on Tuesday. Only a few certified crews are able to operate the Auto Train, which transports passengers and their vehicles daily between the two destinations.

The CSX freight train collided with an unoccupied vehicle on the tracks in Lake City, South Carolina, shortly before 11 pm on Monday, CSX said in a statement. No injuries were reported.

The Auto Train service on Tuesday was cancelled, while the Silver Meteor and Silver Star trains that departed on Monday are operating on a siding and missing stops due to the derailment, Amtrak said.

Passengers were apparently calling 911 from the train when it was stopped, according to several videos obtained by ABC News, in which a conductor can be heard asking people to stop calling the police.

“For those of you who are calling the police, we are not holding you hostage,” a conductor can be heard over the loudspeaker. “We’re giving you all the information we have. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

The conductor can also be heard telling people not to open their windows to smoke on the train.

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