Amtrak transfers passengers after train stalls in Joppatowne

An Amtrak train stalled in the Joppatowne area after a mechanical issue Wednesday, and more than 100 passengers were transferred after being stranded for about an hour in 90-degree heat without air-conditioning.

When local a emergency crew arrived on the scene shortly after the malfunction was reported, they were baffled to find no one aboard the train.

The mechanical problem was reported on Train 91, bound for Miami from New York, between 1:30 p.m. and 1:50 p.m., Amtrak spokeswoman Christina Leeds said. Amtrak moved the 145 passengers to a new train that was moving by 3:30 p.m., she said.

The malfunctioning train was sent to Washington, D.C., to be inspected. Leeds did not know more about the specific mechanical issue yet.

She said there were no health issues reported during the incident. The heat index in the area at that time was in the high 90s.

Harford County emergency officials dispatched personnel and equipment to the area, but found the train empty when the county's emergency services manager and his top aide boarded the train.

The mix up began shortly after 2:30 p.m. when the county Department of Emergency Services was notified by the Maryland Department of Emergency Management that the passenger train was disabled in the Joppatowne area between Magnolia Road and the railroad's Gunpowder River bridge, Bob Thomas, spokesman for the county department said.

"We were notified by MEMA which was notified by Amtrak and asked to assist," Thomas said.

Emergency Manager Rick Ayers and Emergency Planner Linda Ploener went to the scene and while they were en route, the county also called for a four-wheel-drive vehicle and two medical units to assist, Thomas confirmed. The emergency vehicle call was answered by the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company, he said.

Meanwhile, the county also prepared to activate its Emergency Operations Center to a Level I, which Thomas said would mobilize emergency services, community services and social services personnel to provide any necessary assistance.

But shortly before 3:30 p.m., Ayers and Ploener got to the train, boarded and found no one there, Thomas said.

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