August 23, 2011 / 7:20 PM / 6 years ago

Earthquake disrupts Amtrak, commuter service

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amtrak said it is operating trains at reduced speeds between Baltimore and Washington on Tuesday while crews inspect tracks, stations and other rail infrastructure following a strong earthquake that struck the U.S. East Coast and Canada.

The passenger train operator said in a statement there were no injuries and passengers should expect delays. Amtrak reported normal service along the Northeast Corridor between Boston and north of Baltimore.

The 5.8 magnitude quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey said was centered in Mineral, Virginia, forced the evacuations of office buildings in several cities and disrupted commuter air and rail travel.

Union Station, Amtrak’s main train station in Washington, reopened around 3:20 p.m. local time (1920 GMT) after it was evacuated and service was temporarily stopped earlier in the day.

Commuter rail services in Maryland remain halted, but MARC spokesman Terry Owens said trains were expected to begin moving later in the afternoon.

In Virginia, Mark Roeber with Virginia Railway Express said service had resumed but trains were experiencing delays as they worked to get service back to normal following inspections of tunnels, tracks and other infrastructure by Amtrak.

“We’re up and running now and trains are back in service,” Roeber said. “They checked everything out and everything looks fine.”

U.S. transport officials also said the speed reduction affected CSX freight rail service in Maryland. The freight rail operator shares some tracks with Amtrak.

Reporting by Christopher Doering and John Crawley; Editing by Paul Simao

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