Train travel came to a screeching halt just north of Charlotte because of a grain elevator fire that happened Thursday morning. About 250 Amtrak passengers had to take a bus to their final destination after waiting on the track for hours.
"I'm from Lansing, so been, you know, twenty minutes out of town here, and I've been stuck on the train for three hours now," said Stephen Stauffer from Lansing.
The train left Port Huron at 6 a.m. bound for Chicago. For kids on summer vacation, what started out as an exciting adventure, quickly turned into sheer boredom.
"Did you have any fun Lincoln?" said Stauffer.
"Um, not really," said Lincoln, a kid on the train from Saginaw. "I was sitting there very board. It was very boring."
The train was stuck on the same stretch of rail from around 9 a.m. till noon. Train traffic was stopped because a fire truck was on the tracks to help put the grain elevator fire out.
Daniel Rosenberger, who lives just up the street, was surprised to see the train there for so long.
"We went into town, did some errands and came back and it was sitting across the tracks here," said Rosenberger.
Passengers were supposed to arrive in Chicago around 12:30 eastern time, but they didn't leave here Charlotte till about that time.
"Well it wasn't too bad, I mean they had complimentary water, but um, no complimentary beer or anything like that, but anyhow. It wasn't too bad. The train was always comfortable," said Tim Henhoeffer a man on board the train. "I think everything was handled all right. I mean it would have been nice to proceed nice and slow through instead of, you would have thought the fire would have been out by now, but I guess safety first right."
About six buses took passengers to their final destinations.
"This is a very common occurrence. I used to travel to Buffalo, NY, and very commonly would have to wait 2-3 hours to make a train, so again, that's Amtrak," said Stauffer.
Stauffer says the frequency of delays on Amtrak can be frustrating.
"I have yet to get any compensation for it. I kind of wish I would. I'm going to keep calling until maybe I do," said Stauffer.
Passengers on the train said they were stranded for about 2 hours before Amtrak informed them they would be taken to their final destinations by bus.