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Train With 180 Passengers Gets Stuck In Winter Weather For Over 40 Hours

As someone who has taken many train trips through the Rockies before, it never really occurred to me that a train might get stuck out there. The locomotives are just so massive and powerful, it doesn't seem like anything should be able to stop them, right? But of course, there's only so much they can overcome.

Turns out, I'm luckier than I realized. But one thing that doesn't surprise me is how well train passengers handled it all. It all just reinforces my belief that train is the way to go when you can.

Normally, the Seattle-Los Angeles trip on Amtrak takes about 35 hours, but one train spent even longer sitting in one spot on the tracks.

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The train was already well along its normal route when, at about 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 26, it came to a rest about 40 miles outside of Eugene, Oregon after hitting a tree that had fallen across the tracks.

It wouldn't pull into a station until Tuesday.

Thankfully, nobody was injured in the collision.

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However, the train was surrounded by snow, and conditions worsened quickly.

Not only couldn't the 183 passengers on board go anywhere, rescue crews couldn't even reach the train, let alone clear the tracks. Amtrak made the decision to keep the passengers "where we were able to provide food, heat, electricity and toilets."

So, given how passengers have been known to react on airplanes when their flights are grounded, you'd think this train would have descended into anarchy, right?

Emilie Wyrick

Seriously, when an Aeromexico plane spent four hours on the tarmac in Oakland, the pilots had to call in the cops when passengers started to revolt.

Apparently the folks who travel by train aren't quite as quick to panic.

"It's just been like a giant kumbaya party."

"Strangers are playing cards. A teenager played his ukulele to kids to get them to sleep. Ladies who have never met before were dancing in aisles," passenger Rebekah Dodson told CNN.

And compared to nearby Oakridge, Oregon, the passengers were actually in a half-decent way.

Record snowfall in the area knocked out power to Oakridge, so they were better off on board the train.

And the passengers were already geared up for a long trip, so they were somewhat prepared with games and cards and such to entertain themselves.

Yes, the mood on board seemed to be much more upbeat than you'd expect.

At the 29-hour mark, people were still in the mood for mirror selfies to help document the experience. But it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows.

As Rebekah told CNN, some of the L.A.-bound passengers were students who were anxious about getting back to class and feared that their professors wouldn't accept being stuck on a train as an excuse.

Also, the train wasn't supplied for such a long trip, so by Tuesday morning, the train had nothing left for breakfast but pretzels, cookies, and club soda.

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And that was the last of the food. Thankfully, the train started moving again, albeit slowly.

"We'll move for a few hundred yards, then we stop. It's going to be like this for hours," passenger Emilie Wyrick told CNN. "They have to manually switch every signal we come across to ensure the train and any cars that may be crossing are all safe."

Finally, over 40 hours after the ordeal began, the train pulled into the station in Eugene, Oregon.

The train wouldn't be going to L.A. anymore; instead, it would head back to Seattle after taking on supplies and getting some maintenance in Eugene.

Amtrak has said that it will be contacting customers regarding refunds and compensation for the ordeal "as appropriate."

h/t CNN