An Amtrak train shuffling holiday commuters out of New York City was stuck in Queens for more than five hours on Sunday.
The Acela 2230 left Penn Station around 9:30 a.m. and was supposed to arrive in Boston around 1:35 p.m., but a faulty power connection caused the train to stall as it rolled through the train yard in Long Island City, according to Amtrak.
The train was powered down from at about 10 a.m. until shortly after 3 p.m. as Amtrak tried to address the problem, riders said.
“During that time, because of the power, none of the toilets were flushing — the toilets were quite full,” said Nicholas Yeh, 23, a teacher from Boston who was on the train.
Yeh said he expected to arrive back home around 8 or 8:30 p.m. — about seven hours after the scheduled arrival.
Jason Abrams, a spokesman for Amtrak, said only that debris in the catenary wires caused damage to the train’s pantograph, or power collector. The railroad tweeted at 3:07 p.m. that the train was “back on the move operating about 5 hours 15 minutes late.”
Family members of commuters stuck on the train complained of a lack of information as they waited.
“Can someone give a real time update? I have a family member on this train and answers aren’t forthcoming from Amtrak,” tweeted the account @mariamb18.
“Please provide an accurate update. I called customer service and got yelled at. We need to know what is going on. 6 hours is not acceptable,” tweeted another.
Before Amtrak got the passengers moving, Yeh said it appeared that Amtrak would either pull the train back into Penn Station or bring another train up alongside to have commuters switch over.
Once the train did start moving, it stopped again because of an apparent issue with the brakes of one car, Yeh said. Still most riders seemed to remain calm during the fiasco.
“Most of the passengers were pretty level-headed,” he said. “The conductors were doing a great job keeping us informed and up to date.”