To the Editor:

My daughter, Betty, was supposed to take the 390 train from Du Quoin to Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, when she received an email from Amtrak stating that the train is "inoperable." She telephoned Amtrak and was told to go to the station as a bus would arrive to take her to Chicago.

About six minutes before the train's arrival, a Canadian National engine pulling six Amtrak passenger cars goes north and does not stop. About 15 minutes after the train's scheduled arrival, a Vandalia Bus Line bus shows up. Betty asks, "Is this the bus to Chicago?" The reply, "In an around about way."

That was an understatement.

Further up the line, a handicapped person was trying to board. It took the driver 45 minutes to figure out how to use the bus' handicap lift. Further up the line, the driver drove around trying to find the Amtrak station although the passengers told him the way. When the bus was around Effingham, the scheduled arrival in Champaign was 1:09, which meant the bus was running four hours late.

Betty asked if any one wanted to share Uber or a rental car with her. One woman stated that she had already telephoned for a rental car and that Betty and another woman could go with her. The lady took Betty to Betty's home.

Wonder what time the bus arrived in Chicago?

How can a train be "inoperable" during a major vacation period? If Canadian National was taking six passenger cars north, was the train really inoperable? Is there no back up equipment in Carbondale? Does not Vandalia Bus Lines train its drivers? Seems as if I remember Sen. Durbin stating a few years ago that he was going to find out why the train to Carbondale was always late. Why has he and other so called leaders done nothing about the terrible train service to Southern Illinois?

The problem with Southern Illinois is that the last true leaders were Dr. Morris and Congressman Gray.

James R. Sanders

West Frankfort

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