Pedestrian fatality on Caltrain tracks delays train service

An unidentified man was struck and killed by a southbound Caltrain just north of the Menlo Park station Monday morning, snarling train service for several hours and canceling a special service train for baseball fans en route to the Giants’ season home opener.

The man was reportedly trespassing between Encinal and Glenwood avenues at about 8:30 a.m. when a Baby Bullet commuter train making limited stops slammed into him, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said. He was killed instantly, becoming the fourth pedestrian fatality on Caltrain tracks this year.

Dunn said the man was struck far from a pedestrian crosswalk — in an area clearly marked off by long rows of trees that separate the tracks from a residential street. It was not immediately clear why or how he got in there, according to the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office.

“There was nothing at the scene to indicate a manner of death one way or the other,” said Coroner Robert Foucrault, who could not release the deceased man’s identity until his family was notified.

The incident halted all trains in both directions for up to two hours and canceled a special service train set to depart San Jose at 9:56 a.m. that was scheduled to carry San Francisco Giants fans to the afternoon game at AT&T Park, Dunn said.

“It’s just devastating,” she said. “On such a beautiful sunny day — the opening day of the Giants’ season — whatever the [reason he was on the tracks], this is just really sad.”

The incident was one of the Bay Area’s three train accidents Monday. About a half-hour earlier, 60-year-old Richmond resident Leon Greer Jr. was struck dead by an Amtrak train in Richmond.

An Altamont Commuter Express train nonfatally struck a pedestrian in the Livermore area at about 5:40 p.m., officials said.

The Caltrain fatality comes two weeks after a woman was struck and killed after trespassing in a narrow San Francisco tunnel near the 22nd Street station. Her identity has not been released.

Dunn said train fatalities are grim occurrences for all involved and particularly have an affect on the conductors. She said train conductors feel helpless when pedestrians end up in their path, unable to slow down the trains in time.

“The conductor is often the last person to see this individual alive,” Dunn said. “Sometimes these people will look the conductor right in the eye before they’re hit.”

maldax@examiner.com

Fatalities

Deaths on Caltrain tracks in past five years

» 2007: 8

» 2006: 17

» 2005: 10

» 2004: 9

» 2003: 10

Source: Caltrain

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