Rail Passengers Statement On Amtrak #351 Wolverine Disruption
October 11, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (22-16)
Contact: Madison Butler, [email protected]
October 11, 2022
RAIL PASSENGERS ASSOCIATION STATEMENT ON AMTRAK #351 WOLVERINE DISRUPTION
WASHINGTON – The Rail Passengers Association has posed several questions to Amtrak about the circumstances surrounding the nightmarish service disruption on Friday’s Wolverine #351 and #353 services that turned into a 13-hour delay.
“I was dismayed to learn over this weekend about the embarrassing comedy of errors which affected so many passengers on the Wolverine,” Association President & CEO Jim Mathews said in a prepared statement Tuesday. “Amtrak is facing many challenges right now, including many that are out of the railroad’s control: things like shortages of mechanics and key employees, freight train delays, weather events, and so forth. In this instance, however, while Amtrak might not have been able to control the mechanical issue that started this problem, it certainly had control over how it responded. Passengers were treated shamefully, and their safety was put at risk. We have heard stories all summer long about disrupted trips and passengers being treated poorly, and this is a sad continuation of that trend.”
Rail Passengers is asking about what kinds of alternate transportation or accommodations were considered, how passenger welfare was addressed, and how supervisory managers monitored the unfolding rescue plan as it seemed to flounder.
“Amtrak’s performance in this incident is, sadly, very much like the performance it showed in the winter this year when snow storms massively delayed a train in Virginia coming from Roanoke,” Mathews continued. “In February, in part because of our urging, Amtrak promised Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia that Amtrak would make improvements to how they deal with passengers during service disruptions, and that they would ensure that alternative arrangements would be made quickly and that those arrangements would be communicated to passengers. That does not appear to have been the case here.”
About Rail Passengers Association
The Rail Passengers Association is the oldest and largest national organization serving as a voice for the more than 40 million rail passengers in the U.S. Our mission is to improve and expand conventional intercity and regional passenger train services, support higher speed rail initiatives, increase connectivity among all forms of transportation and ensure safety for our country's trains and passengers. All of this makes communities safer, more accessible, and more productive, improving the lives of everyone who lives, works, and plays in towns all across America.
"The support from the Rail Passengers Association, and from all of you individually, has been incredibly important to Amtrak throughout our history and especially so during the last trying year."
Bill Flynn, Amtrak CEO
April 19, 2021, speaking to attendees at the Rail Passengers Virtual Spring Advocacy Conference