Travelers in northeast rework plans after Amtrak crash
President Barack Obama says the derailment of Amtrak Train 188 "is a tragedy that touches us all".
In a statement, Obama said he is offering prayers to the families who lost loved ones and the passengers beginning to recover. The president said he and the First Lady were "shocked and deeply saddened" to hear of the derailment.
The Northeast Regional carrying 238 passengers and five crew members derailed in Philadelphia shortly before 9 p.m. on Tuesday. The accident has closed the nation's busiest rail corridor as investigators try to determine what happened.
Obama said, "Along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak is a way of life for many."
He is commending first responders for their tireless efforts to save lives. He says the effort to help passengers reaffirmed Philadelphia's spirit of brotherly love.
Many thousands of travellers had to scramble yesterday between New York and Philadelphia. Amtrak warned early yesterday that there would be no service between the two hubs and that service elsewhere in the region would be modified. The crash has choked North America's busiest rail system, where more than 2,200 trains run on at least some of the tracks between Washington and Boston each day. Amtrak alone carried 11.4 million passengers on the Northeast Corridor in fiscal 2013, the railroad said.
"I've been standing here in a daze, trying to figure out what to do," Bill Atkins, 48, said at Penn Station in Manhattan. The attorney was trying to get home to Tysons Corner, Virginia, after a New York business trip, and didn't learn about the crash until he woke up yesterday. "I'm going to try to fly," he decided.
In Washington, the electronic boards at Union Station showed all Amtrak trains to Boston and New York cancelled. Some three dozen people were waiting in line to talk to Amtrak agents.