A midnight train from Georgia finally began moving Tuesday afternoon after being stuck in Virginia more than a day and a half after leaving Atlanta. Those passengers were not alone; Amtrak reported delays of several hours for trains along the East Coast.

Amtrak train Crescent 20 departed Atlanta late, at about 2 a.m. Monday, headed north on a route that would take it to Washington, D.C. That trip usually takes about 14 hours, but a winter storm literally stopped the train in its tracks.

Tuesday morning, passengers still aboard the train reported they were without food, functioning toilets and information from the rail service as to what happens next.

“All we’ve been told is there are trees on the tracks preventing us from moving forward,” passenger Sean Thornton said Tuesday morning. “Nobody has eaten for about 20 hours and the toilets in coach are completely backed up. The snack bar sold out of food yesterday. Passengers have been banned from leaving the train.”

Thornton said passengers had repeatedly asked for more information, but got nothing.

“We would all be more comfortable just knowing whatever Amtrak knows about the number of trees on the tracks, stations the train can move to, information like that,” said Thornton, who is traveling with a child.

Amtrak, a for-profit corporation that receives federal subsidies, announced Thursday it would reduce its schedule between New Year’s Eve and Jan. 6 amid bad weather and a surge in coronavirus cases among employees.

The winter storm that swept across Atlanta early Monday wreaked havoc on train service. Amtrak’s service alerts website lists trains delayed by several hours on account of downed trees and other issues.

Amtrak confirmed the Crescent 20 train stopped in Virginia because of weather conditions.

“Our staff is working to make sure food and water is available for customers,” it said Tuesday afternoon.

Enoch Cook of Baltimore boarded in New Orleans. He said the weather turned bad north of Atlanta, and one or more downed trees forced the train to stop about 30 miles north of Lynchburg, Va. Cook said the train was stranded there for about eight hours before heading in reverse back to Lynchburg.

Shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday, passengers got word they were about to receive food. But Cook said the train didn’t move again until after 4 p.m.

Cook wondered why Amtrak wasn’t better prepared for the winter storm.

“When they know in advance, they should make sure the tracks are clear,” he said.

Bella Thornton, 9, looks out the window of Crescent Train 20 on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. The train, which departed Atlanta early Monday morning has been delayed by a winter storm that dropped trees on the train tracks. (Photo courtesy of Sean R. Thornton)

Credit: Photo courtesy of Sean R. Thornton

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Credit: Photo courtesy of Sean R. Thornton