2 Michigan Trains Had Rough Sunday Night

Getting from Chicago to Michigan was complicated on Sunday by bad weather and mechanical problems.

The Grand Rapids-bound Pere Marquette was halted twice Sunday night due to downed trees across its route.

Meanwhile, a Detroit-bound Wolverine Service train made it a short distance into its journey before being halted by a flat spot on a wheel, a delay that ended up lasting six hours.

The Pere Marquette was initially halted near Michigan City, Ind., after it struck a downed tree.

Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm said the collision caused an hour-and-a-half delay.

Downed trees then brought the train to a standstill near Holland, Mich., and the 93 passengers were eventually taken by bus to Grand Rapids, arriving about 4:30 a.m. Monday.

The westbound Pere Marquette for Monday morning was annulled and the passengers taken to Chicago by bus.

Kulm said there were many fallen trees on the CSX tracks east of Holland.

Wolverine No. 354 and its 254 passengers didn’t get out of Chicago Union Station Sunday night until 6:30 p.m., a half-hour past its scheduled departure time.

About 10 miles later, the train stopped and the crew found a “flat spot” on the wheel of a coach.

The train returned to Chicago where it sat in the maintenance yards for several hours. During that time, the car with the flat spot was removed from the consist.

At about 12:40 a.m., the train arrived back at Union Station where passengers were given the option to detrain. About an hour later, the train departed for Detroit (Pontiac).

During the delay, the train maintained power and passengers were provided free water and food, Kulm said.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari described a flat spot as a place on the wheel that “stops being round.’’

“It happens from time to time especially this time of year, when leaves and other debris get on the track and the brakes are applied,’ Magliari said. “If there’s too large a flat spot that car can’t continue.’’

Magliari said all passengers were given the option of getting a refund and taking another train, which four people took take advantage of.

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