The Latest: Amtrak may remain closed in Sierra into Friday

February 28, 2019 GMT

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The Latest on an avalanche that has shut down Amtrak’s California Zephyr passenger train service between Reno and Sacramento, California (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Amtrak passenger train service between Reno and Sacramento is unlikely to resume Thursday and may remain suspended Friday because of a fierce winter storm.

Service on the California Zephyr was suspended Tuesday after an avalanche sent snow onto the Union Pacific tracks in the mountains west of Truckee, California where more than 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow has fallen over the last two days.


Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says westbound travelers on the route from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area in Emeryville, California will be housed Wednesday night when they arrive in Reno. They’ll ride charter buses to Sacramento Thursday and board a train to Emeryville. He says similar transfers are likely on Friday.

Eastbound travelers from Emeryville will transfer to charter buses in Sacramento bound for Reno, where they’ll board a Chicago-bound train.


12:30 p.m.

Two Amtrak trains together carrying nearly 300 passengers stopped and reversed directions because of an avalanche that closed railroad tracks in the Sierra Nevada in northern California. More than 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow has fallen over the past two days and winds have been gusting in excess of 100 mph (160 kph).

Service on Amtrak’s California Zephyr between Reno and Sacramento, California, has been suspended until weather conditions improve.

Earlier this week in Oregon almost 200 people were trapped on an Amtrak train that was halted after it hit downed trees during a blizzard.

The Reno Gazette Journal first reported that the two trains halted because an avalanche and boulders closed the tracks, which are operated by Union Pacific.

Union Pacific spokesman Tim McMahan confirmed a “snow slide” occurred at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday just south of U.S. Interstate 80 near Donner Pass about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Truckee, California.