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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Amtrak bans Samsung Galaxy Note 7

In this photo taken on June 26, 2011, Amtrak's Empire Builder makes its way along the southern boundary of Glacier National Park near West Glacier, Mont. (Justin Franz / AP)
By Lori Aratani Washington Post

For anyone still carrying a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone, add all Amtrak trains and property to the list of places where your device is no longer welcome.

Amtrak officials have joined U.S. air carriers in banning travelers from bringing the phones on board when they travel. Amtrak officials said phones are no longer allowed on trains and in stations and platforms due to safety concerns. Passengers traveling with the phones will not be allowed to board or if they have boarded, will be asked to leave the train at the next stop.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there have been nearly 100 reports of batteries in the devices overheating. In one instance, a phone carried by a man on a flight bound for Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport caught fire.

“Because there is nothing more important than the safety of our customers and employees, we have decided to prohibit Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cell phones on Amtrak property due to potential serious safety risks,” Amtrak officials said in a statement. “This ban includes Amtrak trains, Thruway buses, facilities, stations, platforms, Amtrak vehicles, and as an item carried within a vehicle on Auto Train.”

Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order banning passengers and crew members from bringing the phones on U.S. airliners. Passengers who defy the ban could face fines, officials said. Previously the FAA had urged travelers to turn off their Galaxy Note 7 phones when traveling and not to charge or store the phones in checked baggage because of safety concerns. Samsung has set up kiosks at various U.S. airports where people can return the devices.

In September, Samsung issued a global recall offering replacement phones to owners who turned in their faulty devices. But after reports that the replacement phones also were catching fire, the company halted production of the phones all together and urged consumers to turn in the devices. The recall covers more than 2.5 million of the smartphones.

Under the terms of the recall, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 users can request a refund or a new phone, but will be responsible for paying any price difference. People who pick another Samsung phone are eligible for a $100 bill credit; those that pick another device, say an iPhone 7, will be given a $25 credit on their bill.