For the second time in two months, the Amtrak Vermonter ran into trouble on the tracks.
Late Monday night, the northbound train struck a fallen tree north of White River Junction, according to Vermont Transportation Secretary Chris Cole. The crash caused a few hours of delays, but no injuries, Cole told necn.
Tuesday morning, Amtrak passengers in Vermont could still travel south, but had to take a bus for part of the journey, before they could pick up the train in Springfield, Massachusetts. That interruption in normal rail service was due in large part to the crew of the train needing rest after their late night Monday, following the delayed arrival.
In early October, the southbound Vermonter derailed outside of Northfield after hitting part of a rock ledge that had crumbled and fallen onto the tracks. Several people on board that day required medical treatment after that incident, but there were no serious injuries.
In Monday night's crash with the tree, the Vermonter did not derail, Cole noted.
"We stopped, but I didn't feel a crash or anything like that," passenger Marianna Reges told WPTZ-TV. "We were on the rail, and the conductor was wonderful, because he informed us that we were on top of a mountain; we were on a curve, so the train looks slanted, and it's because of that. But he ensured us we were on the tracks."
Cole said the collision caused damage to an air compressor, which meant there was no heat for the journey, making the late night ride chilly for passengers.
Cole characterized the incident as an unfortunate incident that sometimes happens with modes of transportation, and not as a major inconvenience, as would be the case if this were to have happened the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which is one of the busiest days of the year for Amtrak travel through Vermont. Cole said he considers rail travel extremely safe.
However, Cole did express disappointment in the quality of communication from Amtrak to the state. He said he had not learned of the incident with the fallen tree until necn made inquiries Tuesday morning to the Agency of Transportation. Cole said he plans to express to Amtrak a desire to receive more information from them in the future.
Service on the Amtrak Vermonter is expected to return to normal Wednesday, Cole said.