PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – About 70 passengers were stranded for more than two hours on a SEPTA train that lost power moments after it pulled out of the Thorndale station early Thursday morning.
During that time, the passengers had no heat and no access to a bathroom.
The stranded train caused delays up and down the Paoli/Thorndale line.
“Their words were ‘It doesn’t look good,’” passenger Lynn Quinn said train engineers told them. “I feel like maybe I should have stayed in bed.”
Passengers reported hearing a loud bang just before the train lost power.
“We sat, and it progressively got colder, and it got really cold,” said passenger Jason Yerger.
“It was probably as cold inside the car as it was outside,” said Quinn. “I felt like it took them a long time to come up with some type of plan.”
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The passengers, who originally left Thorndale on the 7:14 a.m. train, were transferred to another SEPTA train around 9:30 a.m., which took them back to Thorndale. About 45 minutes later, the passengers boarded an Amtrak train which finally brought them to 30th Street Station, where they arrived around 11:20 a.m. That is more than four hours after they first left Thorndale.
SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said the breakdown could not have happened in a worse location. There is just one track in each direction, and Amtrak trains run through that area as well.
“It takes that much time when you have two tracks and two railroads running to bring another train around, a rescue train around,” he said.
Maloney says the overhead wire was torn down, but SEPTA does not know why. He said the cold does make the copper wire brittle, and the wires in that section are older.
SEPTA suspended service on the Paoli/Thorndale line beyond Malvern for a time Thursday morning as it made repairs.
Reported by Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3