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Trains delayed due to pedestrian fatality in Belmont

 

An unidentified man was struck and killed by a southbound train in Belmont Friday afternoon, causing widespread delays on the system, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn reported.

The pedestrian was struck at about 3:10 p.m. as southbound train No. 256 approached the Belmont station, Dunn said.

The train remained stopped at the station until after 5:30 p.m., causing trains to travel exclusively on northbound tracks in the area at about 10 miles per hour.

The San Mateo County coroner's office and crews were assessing the best way to move the body from beneath the train, which was accomplished about 5 p.m.

Caltrain experienced delays of up to 60 to 90 minutes, Dunn said. Several trains remained stopped at Belmont, but service was expected to return to normal by 7 p.m.

Authorities are trying to determine whether the death was a suicide or an accident, she said.

FINAL CALTRAIN UPDATE ON FATALITY:

At 5:47 p.m., Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn released the final update of the day on the fatality in Belmont:

At this time, all trains are stopping at all stations. Trains are expected to be back on schedule by 7 p.m.

At approximately 3:10 p.m. today a southbound Caltrain struck and killed a male trespasser on the tracks at the Belmont station. The northbound track was opened at 3:50 p.m. and both north- and southbound trains were able to operate at reduced on the northbound track. The train involved in the incident was moved about 5:00 p.m. and the southbound tracks were opened for service about 5:33 p.m. As a result of the incident, trains were delayed up to 60 minutes.

No information about the individual or the circumstances of the incident is available at this time.

This is the ninth fatality on the Caltrain tracks this year. Of those, five have been determined to be suicides and 3 are still pending the results of an investigation. Last year there were 19 fatalities on the Caltrain right of way, the second highest-number in Caltrain history. The highest number occurred in 1995, when there were 20.

No matter what the circumstances, any loss of life is regrettable. Caltrain is committed to improving safety on the right of way through education, engineering and enforcement.

In September, Caltrain began a project to install 250 signs with a hotline number to a local crisis intervention agency. The signs are part of national study to test the effectiveness of signs in preventing suicides on railroads. The signs will be posted along a 10-mile stretch of the right of way between Menlo Park and Mountain View.

The hotline number on the new signs is routed directly to the Youth and Family Services Crisis Intervention Center in San Carlos. The calls will be tracked to determine if the signs are an effective tool for suicide prevention. The signs, which will cost $110,000, will be placed on fences, gates, at grade crossings, on station platforms and along the property line.

Caltrain is a member of Operation Lifesaver, an international railroad safety program. Since 2006, Caltrain staff has made Operation Lifesaver presentations to more than 15,000 people including students, community groups, police and fire officials, elected officials and civic leaders.

Transit Police deputies who patrol the Caltrain right of way have been trained in crisis intervention to recognize people who may be a threat to themselves or others. Eleven people have been removed from the right of way this year and referred to treatment.

Caltrain has continuously made safety improvements over the years, including improving grade crossings and modernizing stations. Since 2006, Caltrain has spent $4.2 million to install 61,000 feet of fencing along its right of way.

Members of the public who would like information about rail safety education and tips can call 650.508.7934 or visit www.caltrain.com.

This is the final email about this incident.

Christine Dunn

Public Information Officer

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