Amtrak employees literally dropped off elderly women in middle of nowhere

Categories: Transportation
Amtrak_train.jpg
Amtrak employees somehow thought it wasn't a bad idea to drop off two old ladies in the middle of nowhere.
File this one in the 'what in God's name were these people thinking?' department.

On Sunday, the Star Tribune's Kelly Smith told the story of Vivian Rhode, 75, and her niece Peggy Larson, 64. In late March, the two women were on an Amtrak train traveling from Michigan to St. Cloud, where they planned to get off during a late-night stop. But their train somehow bypassed St. Cloud without stopping and kept chuggin' toward the next station in Fargo, North Dakota.

That's the sort of thing that ruins someone's day, but shit happens, right? In the case of missed stops, Amtrak's policy calls for employees to take riders to the next staffed station, then pay for a taxi or other transportation to get passengers back to their destination. However, instead of following protocol, the employees on Rhode and Larson's train opted for a novel solution to the missed-stop problem.

In the middle of nowhere two miles north of St. Cloud and without a train station in sight, employees simply stopped the train and allowed the women to get off. They had no idea they were in the middle of a rural area until they found themselves standing with their luggage next to the railroad tracks.

Chilled by a brisk wind, the women took shelter under a nearby bridge. Rhode's husband, waiting at the St. Cloud station, eventually grew worried and tried to call his wife. With the help of another person at the train station, Rhode was able to describe where she and her niece were stranded, and Rhode's husband came to pick the women up.

Marc Magliari, Amtrak spokesman, said to the Strib, "what the crew chose to do is not standard procedure." You think?

Meanwhile, Rhode said that next time she visits her son in Michigan, she'll be sure to take a car or plane.


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8 comments
Joe
Joe

 Thanks.  We covered all of that yesterday.

Dr. J
Dr. J

 I read in the Strib that trains are doing a holocaust on bald eagles and must be stopped. 

Tagseim
Tagseim

"But their train somehow bypassed St. Cloud without stopping and kept chuggin' toward the next station in Fargo, North Dakota." There are two stops between St. Cloud, MN and Fargo, ND. They are Staples, MN and Detroit Lakes, MN

Joe
Joe

 Interesting.... When I was taking the AmTrak back from Canada, we had an incident that caused our train to stop about 1.5 miles from the next station.  No one was allowed to leave the train at that time.  Not even the guy who was getting off in 1.5 miles.  He had to sit on the train for several hours 1.5 miles from his destination. Granted, it was an international trip, and the train had just killed someone so that probably changes the situation.

Joe
Joe

 Obviously the *situation* is not funny.  Vita's *comment* is what is funny. Sheesh!

Melissa Summers
Melissa Summers

I wasn't there and I'm not an Amtrak employee.  I read the original article about this incident in the STrib, and I know from experience that the Empire Builder stops in St. Cloud. The porters let you know when your stop is coming up, and the article clearly states the women were notified of the upcoming stop. PLUS, the Empire Builder stops in Staples, which is about an hour and a half from St. Cloud. Why didn't they just stay on the train until then?

Melissa Summers
Melissa Summers

The train stopped in St. Cloud.  The Amtrak employees had knocked on the ladies' door to let them know the train was coming, and they didn't get off at the stop.  That was entirely the fault of those women who apparently are unable to tell when a train is no longer moving. The employees should not have let them off the train, but the women weren't THROWN off, they got off of their own accord.  Ultimately the Amtrak employees should not have let them off even if they insisted.  (I wonder how much yelling and insistence there was from the ladies that made the Amtrak employees make an unscheduled stop...) So I would split responsibility for this little adventure at 2/3 the women's fault and 1/3 the Amtrak employees' fault.

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