Amtrak Blue Water Line a "No Show" in East Lansing

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

EAST LANSING (WILX)--Imagine waiting for a train that never came, in below zero weather. That's what happened to nearly twenty people at the Amtrak station in East Lansing, Tuesday.

Some of them gave up and went home, while others waited five hours for another ride.

The delay started Monday in northern Illinois, where two Amtrak trains got stuck in the snow and a third spent the night in a rail yard. It caused a ripple effect on the Michigan Blue Water line that runs from Chicago to Port Huron, which stops at East Lansing along the way.

Tuesday morning, more than a dozen passengers had no clue that their 8:45 am ride to Chicago wasn't going to make it.

"They didn't say why. Eastbound was running late. When I got here the Wolverine line was at the station and that's going the wrong way!" said Jene Davis, who was looking for a connecting train in Chicago.

"We couldn't get any accurate information from the conductor, or engineer," said Alex Brown, who was going to Chicago for a conference.

According to an Amtrak spokesperson, the crews based out of Chicago are backed up, and the train itself broke down due to the weather.
Adding to the problem was that the station was closed, forcing passengers to wait outside in the frigid temperatures.

"Lot of them had little babies. They couldn't come in and this little room was already back with fifteen people," said Davis.

According the spokesperson, the operator and their backup called in sick. There was no one to help or tell the passengers what was going on, and nothing had been canceled on the Amtrak website.

The people who stuck it out did get to Chicago but not by a train. A bus from Dean Trailways showed up at 12:40 pm to take anyone to Chicago that had an Amtrak ticket.

"As long as I get there, that's what matters," said Brown.

Amtrak arranged the bus as a one time solution. Wednesday, everything should be running as normal.

Train numbers 352 and 353 on the Wolverine Route were canceled for the rest of the day.
Four other trains on that route were expected to operate as scheduled.


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