NILES, Mich. (WOOD) - An Amtrak train with 174 people, including several crew members, derailed in Niles Sunday.
Amtrak spokesman, Marc Magliari, told 24 Hour News 8 between seven and 12 people were injured in the accident. He did not have a final count of injured people on Sunday evening, but said no one was seriously injured.
Physical injuries or not, 14-year-old passenger Tori Wright told 24 Hour News 8 the experience was frightening.
"It was just really scary," said Tori. "Actually because you had no idea what was going to happen, you had no idea what happened in the other cars or anything like that."
The teen and her mom were heading home to Ann Arbor after spending time together in Chicago.
Amtrak Train 350 left Chicago Sunday morning, and derailed two miles east of Niles. It makes stops in Niles, Dowagiac, Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, with its final destination in Pontiac.
Magliari said two of the locomotives and coaches lost "contact with the track."
"You could feel us slide off," said Tori. "So it was really kind of like scary, and you didn't know what was going to happen. Thank God we didn't tip, because if we had, or if we'd hit the boxcars, it would have been a lot worse of an outcome."
Tori was one of dozens of people who were taken from Niles by chartered buses to the Kalamazoo Transportation Center. WSBT-TV reported that other uninjured passengers were taken by school bus to the Amtrak station in Niles, where Amtrak provided further transportation.
Tori told 24 Hour News 8 she thought the train went off the rails when the engineer stopped the train suddenly to try to avoid hitting boxcars -- actually called "hopper cars" -- in front of it. The cars look to be immediately in front of the train, on the same tracks, in the pictures 24 Hour News 8 obtained from passengers.
Magliari told 24 hour News 8 it is too early to speculate on what caused the derailment. He added, "Technical issues with railroads are more complicated than people know."
Tori said she would definitely ride the train again, and hopes others will, too.
"I don't think people should be scared of taking trains because there's a very slim chance of it happening and it just happened to be a really unfortunate thing, and I definitely think everyone should thank the engineer for saving all of us."
Police in Niles said the scene was cleared about 12:30 p.m. Magliari told 24 Hour News 8 the tracks immediately around Niles were shut down for all of Sunday.
If you have a ticket with Amtrak in the near future or have questions about future Amtrak, you can go to the Service Alert section on Amtrak's website or call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
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