Train ride meant to give Republican lawmakers bonding time before GOP retreat

Lawmakers brought their families with them for a weekend in West Virginia.

— -- The train ride taking Republican members of Congress to their annual retreat was supposed to be a bonding experience, with lawmakers encouraged to bring their families and use the time to get to know each another better.

The lawmakers were enroute to The Greenbrier, a luxury resort located in the Allegheny Mountains near White Sulphur Springs in Greenbrier County, W.Va.

The three-day retreat was designed to be a restful time outside of Washington D.C. during which the GOP could discuss its agenda for the coming year. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to speak.

But the mood changed at 11:20 a.m. in Crozet, Va., just outside Charlottesville, when the Amtrak train struck a garbage truck.

"I'm an engineer so I know when you feel something that's got as much mass as a train, anything you hit that causes you to feel it on the train, you know it's a pretty significant collision," Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., told ABC News.

Vice President Pence, who is scheduled to speak at the retreat Wednesday night, tweeted he will still be there.

Also on the draft schedule was a program for congressional spouses that includes a lounge in the Tea Garden, painting and a reception hosted by spouses of House GOP leaders. There's also a "fun-filled" children's program, and a teen lounge "stocked with video games, board games and snacks." Plans include "bowling and Nerf Battle in the Bunker." Attendees would have opportunities to give back, such as packing care packages for U.S. troops.

The attire for the weekend was business casual.

A spokesperson for the Congressional Institute, which organizes the retreat, said that after talking with leadership in both the House and the Senate, "the retreat will proceed with an adjusted program."

It "will now include a moment of prayer for those involved in today's incident and a security briefing from the Sergeant at Arms and United State Capitol Police."

Rep. Dunn, a Republican from Florida, and a member of the "Doc-Cauc" - a group of doctors who are also members of Congress - told ABC News he and other doctors jumped out of the train to help after the collision.

"Every member of doc caucus got out of the train and helped the guys who'd been injured," he said.

"I'm a surgeon. I'm used to getting involved in these things. The toughest thing was getting out of the train because you know the door was locked." However he said that another congressman who was an Army Ranger "knew how to unlock the door and he got us out."

Scalise was not on the train.

"Please take a moment to pray for those injured in the train accident in Virginia this morning. I was not on the train,and have confirmed with my staff aboard the train that they are all safe," Scalise tweeted.

Lewis' staff tweeted from the lawmaker's official account: "Due to the impact of the train collision and as per standard concussion protocol, Rep. Lewis is going to be checked out at a local hospital."

In a tweet later Wednesday, his staff said "Rep. Lewis is grateful for the care of the clinical staff at UVA Medical Ctr in Charlottesville. He’s been discharged & traveled onto the GOP retreat, where he is recovering from a concussion. He looks forward to participating in the retreat as much as he is able."

In the end the train ride probably will bond the lawmakers aboard - but not in the way planned.

"To look out the window and see the debris and the garbage truck, I knew there were probably people injured. My thoughts and prayers are with the ones who are on the truck and our families," Rep. Westerman said.

ABC News' Ali Rogin, Meredith McGraw, Meghan Keneally and Devin Dwyer contributed to this report.