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Amtrak Passengers Stranded at Least 4 Hours in Bronx With No Heat

A top Amtrak executive offered an extensive apology later Friday, saying "We fell short of providing the outstanding service that customers should expect"

Passengers aboard a Boston-bound Amtrak train say they were stuck in the Bronx without heat for at least four hours amid sub-freezing temperatures.

The passengers took to Twitter on Friday morning with complaints about being cold and uninformed. They said they were in some unknown part of the Bronx. According to Amtrak, Northeast Regional Train 66, which originated in Washington, D.C., with a stop in New York, was moving again by 7:30 a.m.

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It wasn't immediately clear exactly what time the train lost power, but Amtrak said power was restored by 7:10 a.m. An overhead power issue was to blame, a spokeswoman said.

Amtrak had responded to passengers via Twitter, apologizing and telling them to call the railroad's customer relations department. Later, a top railroad executive offered a more extensive apology.

"Today we fell short of providing the outstanding service that customers should expect from Amtrak, and we are sorry for the delay and the significant inconvenience, including the loss of heat onboard," Amtrak Chief Operations Officer Scot Naparstek said in a statement. "We also regret that some passengers did not receive adequate information about the situation while we worked to fix the problems."

Devin Driscoll was on the train. He said it departed from Penn Station as scheduled around 2:40 a.m., but lost power about an hour later. 

"They announced there had been a power line issue, and that Amtrak was sending a diesel locomotive to come to our aid," he said. "Then, we waited. No power, no heat." 

Around 7:20 a.m., he said the train started moving again. He and his wife were then told to get off the train at New Rochelle, where they were left freezing on the platform for 25 minutes before another train pulled up. He is now on that train, headed for his final destination of Providence, Rhode Island. 

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The train is due to reach South Boston shortly before noon.

"It's been quite an adventure," he said. 

Amtrak responded to passengers via Twitter, apologizing and saying they should call the railroad's customer relations department. 

"There are mechanical issues with the train. No ETD," said one such message.

It stalled amid frigid temperatures in the 20s -- but it felt more like the 10s or lower with the wind chills. A day earlier, a fast-moving winter storm buried parts of the Bronx under more than a foot of snow.  

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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