Amtrak train departs Chicago after weather-related delays

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CHICAGO -- An Amtrak train is finally on its way to the East Coast after passengers had to spend the night in Chicago when the train was delayed by cold-weather mechanical problems.

It was a frustrating odyssey for 172 tired and weary Amtrak passengers.  After nearly 14 hours, Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited finally got under way late this morning.

The severe Arctic cold created mechanical problems for Amtrak.  A weather-related problem with a locomotive is to blame for all the trouble.

Amtrak has apologized to passengers and has also offered full refunds.

Spending the night at Union Station, not the most comfortable place to sleep, a lot of unhappy passengers were frustrated in their efforts to get to New York and Boston.

"They eventually brought around hot chocolate and coffee, and then blankets," one passenger told WGN by phone.  "They finally got us aboard the train at 4 a.m. but we sat there for another three hours."

After the initial delay, the Lake Shore Limited train got under way close to 8:00 this morning -- or so everyone thought.  The plan was to bring a fresh Amtrak crew on board in Indiana.

But just a couple of miles out of Union Station the Amtrak train was ordered back and told to wait for the relief crew in Chicago.

Passengers were not happy with the whole experience and complained they were essentially locked into Union Station in the overnight hours, unable to leave to get food.  They also say concessions at Union Station were closed in the wee hours of the morning.

But an Amtrak spokesperson tells WGN that Amtrak provided food and water.

Passengers also complained there was a lack of information about what was going on.

About 55 Amtrak trains come in and out of Union Station on an average day.

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