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Passengers trapped on an Amtrak train in rural South Carolina for hours

Passengers on an Amtrak train travelling from Washington, D.C. to Florida were delayed for nearly a full day after its route was diverted in rural South Carolina due to a freight train derailment.

What began as a fun trip to Florida to visit Legoland turned into a nightmare for Michael McFadden and his family after a train ride that was supposed to last around 17 hours turned into a more than 35-hour ordeal.

“We had a limited amount of time for our vacation, and I feel like it’s just finished,” McFadden, 47, told NBC News by phone early Wednesday while still onboard the train with his wife and 7-year-old son.

McFadden said the train left Lorton, Virginia, around 5:30 p.m. on Monday and was scheduled to arrive in Sanford, Florida, around 10 a.m. on Tuesday. But the train had not arrived at its destination by 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, nearly 35 hours after leaving, he said, adding that crew members had announced the train was expected to arrive around 6 a.m.

McFadden, a software engineer for a media company, said his family had planned to travel in November but had to reschedule after their train was cancelled due to Hurricane Nicole.

“I just feel like I have bad luck,” McFadden explained.

The Amtrak Auto Train experienced “significant delays” after a CSX freight train derailed in South Carolina, according to an Amtrak spokesperson in a statement issued early Wednesday morning. According to them, the Amtrak train was detoured off its normal route in order to continue operating south.

According to the spokesperson, passengers were given regular updates as well as meals, snack packs, and beverages, and the train was scheduled to arrive in Sanford, Florida, early Wednesday morning.

McFadden stated that if he had been given the option to get off the train, he would have done so, but that passengers were told they would not be able to do so at any time. He also claimed that after posting a video of an Amtrak employee addressing passengers on YouTube, passengers were asked over the intercom not to share videos or photos on social media.

He also questioned why the train was stopped for hours “in the middle of nowhere” while waiting for relief crew members to arrive.

“What we want to know is why the train had to stop in the middle of nowhere — not even a small station — and have crew drive to the train?” McFadden stated this in an email.

McFadden said his 7-year-old son was “convinced we could get off the train, he put on his shoes” at one point.

“‘You can’t get off the train,’ we had to tell him. He was devastated by this “He stated.

Amtrak did not respond immediately to an overnight request for more information, such as why the train stopped where it did and how long it was delayed in South Carolina.

According to McFadden, the situation “could have been handled (better) if someone decided that revenue was not the most important thing.”

Passengers on an Amtrak train from Detroit to Chicago were also affected by major delays in October, when a trip that was supposed to take around five hours ended up taking nearly twenty after the train lost power, according to NBC Chicago. Passengers were reportedly able to exit the train before it arrived in Chicago in that case.

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