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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Stuck Trains

Aired August 15, 2003 - 05:25   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York was in her Third Avenue office when the power went out. She had this to say about the can-do attitude of New Yorkers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: New Yorkers are so terrific. Everybody was calm. Everybody coming out of all of the office buildings, all up and down Third Avenue where my office is, you know they were standing there, talking on their cell phones, trying to figure out what was going on.

And it became clear that we had had this massive power outage, which when we finally get the power back on, we're going to have to figure out why the provisions that were supposedly in place to prevent this didn't work. But right now everybody is just trying to do their best to help each other and get themselves home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: New York City workers who count on commuter trains to take them to their suburban homes were left standing or sitting for those already on the trains.

Leon Collins of CNN affiliate WFSB has their story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please go downstairs to the three connected transit buses that are down there now. They will take you where you need to go.

LEON COLLINS, WFSB-TV REPORTER (voice-over): With the power out, train officials bellowed instructions to people trying to get home. Blackout 2003 stopped Amtrak's high speed Acela dead on its tracks. As some passengers took this East Coast power outage lying down, others just chose to walk down the escalator hoping a bus would pick up where the trains left them off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just about to get on a train. And you know I was actually in my office when the lights went out, came down here to see if hopefully you know this was going to be like a 20- minute thing.

COLLINS: This Metro North train in old Greenwich was caught in between stations. It was quiet on the outside. (on camera): And inside this Metro North train it is hot. It is dark. As you can see, most people have gotten off and walked, yet there are a few passengers who have hung in there hoping that things will get rolling.

How long have you been sitting here in this car?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About three hours and 50 minutes.

COLLINS: You've been keeping track.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I have.

COLLINS: What has it been like with this power outage that has affected so much of the East Coast?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's incredibly weird and scary.

COLLINS: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just scary to be on a train and we can't communicate because our cell phones don't have any service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we got stuck on that one right over there. And they told -- it got hot in there so they told us to -- that we could come out and go in a station because it was so hot, you know.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: Yes, that report from Leon Collins of CNN affiliate WFSB.

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