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Amtrak passengers impacted by a man barricaded at San Luis Obispo train station

Posted at 6:06 PM, Jun 13, 2023

A man is facing charges after police say he barricaded himself inside a train in San Luis Obispo Tuesday morning.

San Luis Obispo police were called to the train station off railroad avenue around 5:30 a.m. after reports that a man had accessed the maintenance yard and barricaded himself inside the engine bay of the Pacific Surfliner.

Police said in a press release that crisis negotiators with the department began talking with the suspect, who they say was in a mental health crisis.

“We were notified that there was police activity, not really any description, and then the delay ended up being for almost three hours from 6 to 8:45," said Amtrak passenger, Eliana Hollinger.

A delay put a wrench in some of the passengers' travel plans.

“We've been waiting since six and now we're going to rent a car," said another passenger, Kate Stewart," We’re driving to Burbank and then we have a flight all the way to London, so we have a long day.”

After a long delay, no access to bathrooms, and thinking the train wouldn’t be leaving anytime soon.

“The power was out. There is no way to go to the bathroom and they had to manually open the train doors for us to leave," added Hollinger.

“I heard that once the police left, we were able to depart soon, but the engine was going to take about 40 to 45 minutes to reboot. So, I decided to finally go to the bathroom at Sally Loo’s and order some cafe food. Then I came back and the train was gone," explained Hollinger.

Leaving all of her personal belongings still aboard the train.

“We were notified there was a delay at 6 a.m., but we weren't notified that the train was going to depart until maybe five minutes ago. I just received a notification that the train left at 8:45," said Hollinger.

Police say the suspect is now facing charges of trespassing, obstructing a peace officer in the performance of duties, and delaying a train.

Police add the man arrested did not have any weapons on him and no one was hurt during the incident.

The man – identified as Jorge Cardenas Soto - will be provided with a mental health evaluation and appropriate follow-up services.

His bail is set at $10,000.

 In an email to KSBY Amtrak officials said:

"On June 13, a trespasser gained access to train 774 departing from San Luis Obispo while the train was actively boarding. The city worked with local authorities to get the individual off the train, safely. The train was delayed approximately 2 hours and 32 minutes as a result of the incident where Amtrak made repeat announcements prior to departure."