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Amtrak passenger's hair-raising ride - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Amtrak passenger's hair-raising ride

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NORTHFIELD, Vt. -

Most everyone on board the southbound Amtrak Vermonter Monday walked away without injuries -- many were tourists and many were Vermonters.

"I know we've heard about accidents, but I think it's a nice way to go -- beautiful smooth ride. We were just sailing along and all enjoying the views," said Rita Kimble. Like many of the 98 passengers on train 55, the California resident and her friend, Barbara Eslinger, were cruising through the Green Mountains for a picturesque tour and soaking in the scenic views. "The other friend found the trip for us and she looked online and found it -- Vacations by Rail -- and thought how exciting to come up here. I was really excited to see some of the states I have not seen," Kimble said.

But in an instant Monday morning, that excitement took a turn. "We were kind of rocking and then screeched to a stop," Eslinger said.

Massive chunks of fallen rock ledge on the tracks in Northfield brought the sightseeing trip to a dramatic halt.

"Five or 10 seconds and it was done. Saw the car in front of us kind of come up this way -- that's the one that went down the ditch, and then ours kind of ended up on its side," said Barbara Patten, a passenger from Michigan.

That ledge sent the train off the tracks. The engine went down an embankment and left another car on its side.

"Most people were panicked to see that there was a car -- like a train car hanging -- out the window," said PZ Matthews, a passenger from Vermont.

"And we were very lucky that it stopped like that. But we were all going, 'Are you okay, are you okay,' we were asking each other," Kimble said.

Seven passengers were taken to the hospital -- one was flown by Dartmouth's DHART helicopter.

For those passengers simply shaken up, they were loaded onto a bus to get to their destinations.  They say they are grateful to be okay, and this accident won't steer them away for taking the train again one day.

"This would probably be my 15th or 16th time taking this train from here back towards Philadelphia, so it's not like I wouldn't do it again, but I might take a little bit of a hiatus from taking the train for a little bit," Matthews said.

 Two of the the three Amtrak crew that were hospitalized have been released. The condition of the hospitalized passengers was not available.

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