My (almost) Amtrak meltdown

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

amtrak delays

PHILADELPHIA (PIX11) – All aboard!  I’m VERY lucky I made it aboard this Amtrak train to Washington, D.C. Saturday, as residual delays from the Metro-North power outage continued to affect other railroad lines this weekend to other cities and states.

There’s a saying that goes with a philosophy called Murphy’s Law: What can go wrong, will.

This was the first time my husband and I were taking a road trip with our 17-year old son to tour colleges. Anthony is a high school senior who will graduate in June.

I excitedly went online late Monday night to reserve three tickets on Amtrak to Washington, D.C. after a college tennis coach there expressed interest in our son.

Later in the week, when the Con Ed power failed on a piece of Metro-North’s New Haven line, I didn’t worry about Saturday, even when Amtrak’s Acela service was suspended between New York and Boston. I thought all the problems were north of New York City.


When we arrived at Penn Station Saturday morning, I immediately went to the big board, looking for a track number for Northeast Regional Train 195, which was heading south to Washington at 11:05 a.m. Instead, I found a DELAYED notification.

The woman at the information booth explained the trains that didn’t originate in New York City had to be “pushed” to Penn Station, because of the power outage. I guess there weren’t enough diesel trains to pick up the slack.

The woman told me to get on line with my e-ticket and see if I could switch to the 11:30 Miami train, which was also heading south. But that was DELAYED, too.

Several hundred people with rolling, carry-on luggage or backpacks had their eyes trained on the big board, looking for a track associated with Northeast Regional Train 143, which was supposed to leave Penn Station an hour before, just after 10 a.m.

Suddenly, a man’s voice could be heard on the loudspeaker, and our luck changed.

The announcer said Train 143 was boarding on Track 11, and the conductor would also honor OUR  tickets for Train 195 to Washington, D.C.

We boarded at 11:01 a.m. and the train left about three minutes later than we originally expected to on Northeast Regional 195.

At this writing, we’ve left Philadelphia, and we hope to take D.C. by storm at about 2:30 pm.

Maybe Murphy’s Law doesn’t apply to me, after all!