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Bomb scare to cost Amtrak $100,000

(The Associated Press circulated the following story on July 7.)

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- A bomb scare that stranded about 280 Amtrak passengers in Portage for seven hours will cost the company nearly $100,000, an Amtrak spokesman said Wednesday.

Authorities have made no arrests but the FBI and Spokane, Wash., police are interviewing "persons of interest" in Spokane, Columbia County sheriff's Detective Lt. Wayne Smith said.

Spokane was a stop on the eastbound train's route.

Authorities held Amtrak's Empire Builder at the Portage station and evacuated passengers to a nearby school on Tuesday, after the Juneau County and Sauk County sheriff's departments received five telephoned threats, Smith said.

Explosives experts from the FBI and the Dane County sheriff's department searched the 40-car train with a bomb-sniffing dog but found no explosives, officials said.

About 140 passengers missed connecting trains in Chicago, and Amtrak paid for food, lodging and alternate transportation, said Marc Magliari, an Amtrak spokesman in Chicago.

Branches of the Empire Builder start in Seattle and Portland, Ore., with the two trains connecting in Spokane and continuing as a single train to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee and Chicago.

Thursday, July 8, 2004

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