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Bucharest
October 21, 2021
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400 people stranded on frozen train for over 50 hours

The Galati-Bucharest train was held up by the heavy snowfalls and blizzards. The train resumed its journey only yesterday around noon, taking the people back to Galati.

By    Daniela Baragan

The 400 passengers aboard a train running on the Galati-Bucharest route were stuck for over 50 hours in the carriages after the train was forced to stop several times along the way because of the heavy snowdrifts. According to realitatea.net, the train in question is the Galati-Bucharest 1574 InterRegio, made up of two twin trains. One of the trains left from Galati on Monday morning with 300 passengers aboard and the second left on Monday evening, with 70-80 passengers aboard, including nine players of the Otelul Galati football team. Initially, the train remained stuck in snowdrifts a couple of metres high on Monday evening on a field somewhere between Faurei and Buzau, near C.A. Rosetti, Buzau County. On Tuesday afternoon, as passengers could no longer hope to get to Bucharest, the train headed back to Galati, but was stuck once again (in the area, the snow piled up to a height of up to 3.5 metres) on the way. The train barely managed to reach, on Tuesday night, the Faurei Railway Station, but passengers were forced to remain in the carriages during the night. Nonetheless, the people received some relief from the Braila local authorities, who sent over a truckload of food, mainly tins, bread, water and sweets. “The carriages are heated to a certain extent, but we still feel the cold. We are very tired,” one of the passengers stated, adding that people took turns at nodding off, for fear they may freeze to death. However, people were very disgruntled with the authorities’ failure to communicate, accusing them of never providing an estimate of how long the situation would last. “It is most annoying that they are constantly leading us up the garden path. We are told a snowplough is on its way, then that an engine is coming, and we’ve been stuck on this train for 50 hours and we keep being told the same things,” another passenger argued.

Things started getting back on track only yesterday and, around 1pm, the train left the Faurei Railway Station. The spokesman for CFR Calatori, Adrian Vlaicu, stated that the train was proceeding very slowly because of the snow, but there were reasons to hope the people would end up safely in Galati. He claimed that this had been an extreme situation and that there was no other way-out. However, the nine players from Otelul Galati got a special treatment, alongside the staff members, being picked up on Tuesday night by a helicopter offered by Ioan Niculae, the owner of Astra Ploiesti football club.

Passengers aboard a train which left on Monday at 2pm from Constanta, heading to Bucharest, were stuck in turn ten hours amid the snowdrifts in the vicinity of Lehliu Railway Station. The people eventually walked to a waiting room in town, where they were handed out hot drinks and could subsequently resume their journey to Bucharest by bus. The remaining distance of 150 kilometres was covered in 12 hours, thanks to snow-removal equipment, so that the people ended up taking 24 hours for a journey which normally takes three hours by train.

41 fatalities countrywide

The number of fatalities caused by severe hypothermia is increasing at country scale, and reached 41 of late. During the last 24 hours alone, three more people died to the extreme cold – two in the Galati County and one in Hunedoara. On the other hand, five people that needed emergency care was rescued yesterday from areas surrounded by snow, and were taken by two helicopters to the ‘Sfantul Pantelimon’ Hospital of Focsani. Also yesterday, a paramedic of the Vaslui County Ambulance Service went into hypothermic shock after participating for six hours in the rescue of a 55 year old man suffering from a heart disease.

Over 300 localities were still blocked, Wednesday at noon, because of the extreme weather experienced these days, while 400 localities and 209,800 consumers were left without electricity. A number of 49 national roads and the A2 Bucharest-Fetesti motorway were still closed to traffic yesterday, and traffic on 14 more roads was allowed with restrictions, because of adverse weather conditions. But there’s also good news: the A1 Bucharest-Pitesti motorway reopened to traffic.

According to Realitatea.net, over 200 dogs were buried by snow at Lehliu, when the roof of an animal shelter collapsed under a very thick layer of snow.

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