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Fire outside Philadelphia disrupts Sunday train traffic along busy Northeast corridor

Train travelers should expect delays

An Amtrak train departs 30th Street Station in Philadelphia on March 31. (Matt Rourke/AP)

A fire south of Philadelphia halted Amtrak operations in the Northeast Corridor for hours Sunday morning, stranding passengers aboard trains between Washington and New York.

Amtrak service passing through Philadelphia was suspended Sunday for about three hours due to “fire department personnel near the tracks,” Amtrak said in a tweet. Trains began to move again just before 11 a.m., but the incident was still causing significant train delays in stations across the corridor.

Amtrak spokeswoman Christina Leeds said the fire was on a bridge over rail tracks south of Philadelphia. The temporary halt in rail traffic delayed about 19 trains, she said. The delays ranged from 12 minutes to 3 hours and 22 minutes.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority tweeted the fire was near Folcroft Station, and there were reports of firefighters battling a fire since 6 a.m. Local fire stations could not be immediately reached for comment.

Service was restored about 10:50 a.m., Amtrak tweeted, announcing that trains had begun to move. “Residual delays are to be expected,” the company said.

Trains that had been on hold included the D.C.-bound train 89 that departed New York at 6:02 a.m. and was due in Washington at 9:33 a.m. The Northeast regional train 162, which left D.C. for New York City at 9:15 a.m. was holding in Wilmington.

Passengers aboard some trains commented on social media about the hours-long delay, while some passengers got off the train, and some who didn’t even know each other sharing rental cars or Ubers.

Andrew Magloughlin, a D.C. resident returning home from a visit in Philadelphia, said his train (the Carolinian train 79) was holding outside Philadelphia for nearly two hours. He said the train conductor alerted passengers over the radio that the fire was “pretty bad” and that firefighters had been battling it for hours.

“They’ve let everybody know though that the doors will remain open so people can leave,” said Magloughlin. “Thankfully I’m probably the best off among situations here … A lot of other passengers had flights they needed to make.”