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Amtrak trains carrying 500 passengers stuck in snow drifts near Chicago

Amtrak train passengers stranded near Chicago.
Amtrak train passengers stranded near Chicago.
Photo by Charley Gallay

For some 500 passengers aboard three Amtrak trains, the past 12 hours have become a nightmare after being stranded in snow drifts since Monday. According to ABC News on Jan. 7, the trains got stuck in rural Illinois as a result of the extreme weather conditions that are sweeping across the country.

The Amtrak trains were all headed to Chicago, but the snow proved to overcome them as they were stopped about 80 miles west of the Windy City. The three trains involved are the Illinois Zephyr from Quincy, the Southwest Chief from Los Angeles and the California Zephyr from the San Francisco Bay area.

You can imagine how difficult it may be for so many people to be using the facilities. This makes for very difficult living conditions with the toilets and sinks flooding. However, the good thing is that they have food and protection from the weather elements inside the train while frigid temperatures are swirling outside. They seem to have made the best of it with filming their own videos and photos to keep as souvenirs. They certainly have a story to tell their grandchildren someday.

The latest update from the Chicago Sun-Times has said that officials are working on getting the 500 passengers onto charter buses to take them to Chicago during the early morning hours.

Illinois has joined the ranks of the wintry weather known as the polar vortex that has brought brutal frigid temperatures to this part of the country. With temperatures plummeting to readings such as -40F with the wind chill factor, it can cause frostbite or hypothermia to happen so quickly, within just a few minutes. Combine the freezing temperatures along with record-breaking snowfall, traveling can become hazardous, even for Amtrak trains.