Monday, April 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Deep freeze strands rail, air travelers nationwide

CHICAGO — The Amtrak train slowed to a crawl as it hammered through snowdrifts in an empty stretch of Illinois countryside, delivering thuds and jolts to passengers, until it lurched into a mound big enough to grind its 8,000-horsepower engine to a halt.

About 90 miles short of their Chicago destination, passengers ended up stuck on the train overnight, reading books, watching movies on computers and taking what amusement they could from a conductor who cracked jokes over the intercom. Food ran low and some tempers boiled over, but staff kept the heat on, entertained children and even escorted small groups of people outside for smoke breaks.

“You hear those horror stories about the cars that stop in the snow and they freeze to death. I thought, ‘Oh God, this is going to happen, we’re going to be in blankets,’” said passenger Chris Smith.

They weren’t alone. Across huge swaths of the country, the polar vortex froze travel and left motorists, airline passengers and commuters fighting to stay in motion and, when that failed, fighting to stave off boredom and cold. Airlines again canceled several thousand flights Tuesday, as the extreme cold slowed everything from baggage-handling to refueling. On the roads, powerful winds pushing snow into desert-like dunes forced authorities to shut major highways, including a 75-mile stretch of Interstate 81 north of Syracuse, N.Y., to the Canadian border.

The snow-bound train stuck near the tiny village of Arlington in north-central Illinois was one of three Amtrak trains carrying a total of 500 passengers that got stuck in the state overnight. Amtrak officials eventually got them to safety, then bused them to their destinations.

Smith’s train began its journey in warm Los Angeles but rolled into trouble in the frozen Midwest.

“They started to cut through heavier and heavier drifts,” said Smith, 45, a sound designer for films who got on the train at Garden City, Kan. “The passenger on my side was joking, he said, ‘I think we ran over somebody.’ They weren’t huge bumps, but it was enough to jerk the train.”

When the train stopped altogether, around 4 p.m. Monday, a conductor came on the loudspeaker and quipped, “As you can see, there’s a little bit of snow out there.”

“At first it was kind of funny, and our conductor had a good sense of humor about it, and then it stopped being funny,” said Carley Lintz, a 21-year-old journalism student on her way back to Northwestern University from her home in Gardner, Kan.

The crew served a dinner of beef stew over rice, but the lounge car eventually ran out of everything but drinks, Smith said. Several passengers speaking to news outlets by cellphone earlier Tuesday had complained about deteriorating conditions, including flooded sinks and toilets, but Smith and others on his train only saw overflowing trash cans.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said emergency workers were on standby, and that train crews handed out food and prepared for any medical issues, though he said there were none.

As night set in, some tried to sleep. Others paced. There was enough of a 3G signal for those glued to smartphones and tablets to stay connected. Another train coming to the rescue also got stuck. Local authorities arrived. Crews shoveled and plowed, and passengers eventually were moved to a second train, taken back to Princeton, Ill., and put on buses to Chicago. The ordeal lasted some 17 hours.

Airlines and airports continued to suffer under the strain of the cold Tuesday, though conditions appeared to be slowly improving.

United Airlines still was operating reduced schedules at its hubs in Chicago, Cleveland and Newark, N.J., partly because it was dangerous for ramp workers to be loading bags outside in the extreme cold.

JetBlue said that by midafternoon, it was operating a full schedule of flights at Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark, N.J., and Boston’s Logan Airport after suspending flights there late Monday.

Chief operating officer Rob Maruster said of the temporary shutdown, “We own it … and I think we have to make it right” with displaced passengers. The airline is offering travel vouchers of varying amounts.

Travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt said he thought JetBlue did the right thing and avoided having thousands of passengers possibly stranded at frozen airports. Passengers were inconvenienced, he said, but at least got to stay warm at home or at a hotel instead of “stuck on a plane going nowhere.”

It was a flight cancellation that led Chicago high school teacher Rob Chambers, his husband and mother-in-law to take the train back to Chicago after the couple got married in Delaware, where same-sex marriage is legal. But their trip came to a halt in Indianapolis for more than a day because tracks were closed by heavy, blowing snow.

“We’re calling it the honeymoon ride home and here we are stuck in Indianapolis,” Chambers said by cellphone.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Rodriguez musicians win big in Reno

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

 
 
Hundreds turn out for Kroc Easter Egg hunt

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1

Jelly Belly artist finds her work sweet

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Heroes for Hire event goes haywire

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

Center offers baby mammal care class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield police arrest 6 in alcohol sting

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3

4-H Paper Clover Campaign starts

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
9th Annual Peace Summit on calendar

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Tour past, present, future in Mountain View

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Best of the best compete at dog show

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Event allows for safe medication disposal

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Kids Fishing Derby to take place Saturday

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Church offers document shredding

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Suisun City to host 3rd annual MS walk

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Club plans home garden tour in Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Local government meetings

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Il Fiorello to host mushroom class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Silent movie night set in Rio Vista

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Street-sweeping dealership comes to Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11, 1 Comment | Gallery

Networking event at Solano College

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

 
North Bay Pediatrics marks anniversary

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

Firm facilitates building lease in Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

 
Weather for Monday, April 21, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

.

US / World

Bid, Dick, bid: ‘Dick and Jane’ artworks for sale

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Bee colonies damaged after almond pollination

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Country music singer Kevin Sharp dies at age 43

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Sleeping girl killed after car drives into home

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Recreation areas reopening after Yosemite fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Nurse in critical condition after stabbing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Study: Fuels from corn waste not better than gas

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Transcript reveals confusion over ferry evacuation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Delay in ferry evacuation puzzles maritime experts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Transcript of SKorea ship sinking: ‘We can’t move’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Opinion

Why Hillary? The public awaits her answer

By Ann McFeatters | From Page: A8

 
Local voices, important choices

By Rod Keck | From Page: A8

Question of the week: Will Flight 370 be found?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon for April 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Legislature critic is selective

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Knowledge, religion and the hard work of faith

By Cynthia M. Allen | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History for April 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My friend’s wife drinks too much, verbally abuses her husband

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes for April 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes for April 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
‘Capt. America’ tops box office for third week

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

TVGrid April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

 
Sharks take 2-0 series lead with 7-2 win vs. Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Chavez gets 1st win, A’s complete sweep of Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NBA: Refs missed foul call in Warriors-Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Posey, Lincecum lead Giants to 4-3 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Young Clippers try to mature against Warriors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Westwood wins Malaysian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimenez closes with 67 to win Greater Gwinnett

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kuchar rallies from 4 back to win RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Prep baseball: Pair of 10-run innings powers Vikings to win

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Prizefighter Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Red Sox remember Boston Marathon victims

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
After bombs, Boston Marathon under tight security

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Duncan scores 27 points, Spurs beat Mavs 90-85

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

James, Wade lead Heat past Bobcats 99-88 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Nene dominates, Wizards rally past Bulls, 102-93

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Aldridge leads Portland over Houston 122-120 in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Business

 
.

Obituaries

Anne Irene Elizabeth Fulgoni

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
.

Comics

Pickles April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard Of Id April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword April 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Beetle Bailey April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C. April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard Of Id April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sudoku April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote April 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7