An unscheduled stop lasted about four hours for a Carbondale-to-Chicago Amtrak run Sunday evening. Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the Illini experienced a still-undetermined mechanical problem about 7:30 and stopped near Paxton, approximately 30 miles north of Champaign.

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Passengers were kept on board, despite the lack of air conditioning and everything else electric. Magliari says that was for safety reasons: “Although it was certainly unpleasant, it was safer to keep passengers on the train and not disembark them at a place that’s not designed to be a place where people can step on and off the train and be somewhere near corn fields and bean fields,” he said.

Magliari says with the help of a freight train and a southbound Amtrak train, the Illini was pushed out the way until the problem could be corrected. The delay lasted almost four hours.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio/