‘We fell short’: Amtrak promising review of communication practices after snow storm delays

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Some Amtrak travelers experienced excruciatingly long delays on Monday and Tuesday as Virginia was hit by a winter storm.

People stuck on trains were uncertain on when they’d be moving again and were faced with inadequate services such as overflowing toilets and an excess of trash.

After the delays and issues customers faced, Virginia senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine wrote a letter to the CEO and President of Amtrak.

According to a press release from Sen. Warner, the letter stated that there was a “lack of communication” from Amtrak and passengers weren’t aware they’d be delayed overnight. While the company had said food and water was made available to travelers, the senators said some passengers reported running out of food on their trains.

“It is unacceptable that Amtrak did not better communicate with passengers during an emergency situation such as this.  Inclement weather is uncontrollable,” the senators said in their letter. “However, Amtrak must have appropriate systems and practices in place to ensure that passengers and crew caught in such weather are not only safe, but also understand the situation and their options.  We have long been supporters of Amtrak; but, simply put, Amtrak must do better.”

Amtrak responded to letter, taking accountability for their lack of communication through the storm and the aftermath. The company said that downed trees and severe weather had dramatically impacted their operations in Virginia.

The statement from Amtrak read, “we fell short in communicating the extent of these challenges to the customers that were impacted.”

The company went on to say that their response is under review to make sure their communication practices during disruptions are sufficient.

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