Weather News

Avalanche reportedly blocks Sierra tracks, sending Amtrak trains back to Bay Area, Chicago

At least one Amtrak train in each direction of the California Zephyr route dropped its passengers off and headed back Tuesday because of a reported weather-related track closure in the Sierra Nevada range, where feet of snow have made travel hazardous.

An avalanche and fallen boulders covered tracks between Truckee and Colfax on Tuesday, as reported by the Reno Gazette Journal.

A westbound train coming from Chicago stopped at Reno and an eastbound train from Emeryville stopped at Roseville before reversing course. All passengers of the westbound train were provided hotel accommodations in Reno and a bus charter to finish their journey, the Gazette Journal reported, while the other train took its passengers from Roseville back to Emeryville, a roughly 100-mile trip.

Amtrak said in tweets replying to customers that California Zephyr Train 5 “will terminate at Reno (RNO) due to weather-related issues,” and that alternate transportation would be provided to riders.

The stretch of track is operated by Union Pacific.

Union Pacific told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it is working to clear the tracks.

“There is no ETA on when the tracks will reopen,” a spokesman wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

Earlier this week, an Amtrak train carrying 183 people was reportedly stuck in mountainous Oregon for more than 35 hours during a blizzard after the train hit a tree that had fallen on the tracks.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.