Train service halted between Providence and Boston after person hit, killed

MBTA Transit Police report a "trespasser" on the tracks was struck and killed by a Boston-bound Amtrak train between Mansfield and Sharon late this afternoon, and that both commuter-rail and Amtrak service is now halted as police investigate. Buses are on the way to pick up passengers, MBCR says.

Zach Lanier tweets:

Currently on Amtrak #2160, sitting between Providence and Rte128. Our train hit someone crossing the tracks; fatality.

Rob Goodwin, also on the train, tweets:

I feel horrible for the Amtrak crew. I don't know how I would cope in their shoes. Having a tough enough time coping with it in mine.

Why you don't want to be on the tracks in Mansfield or Sharon:

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Comments

Very very bad place to trespass

That video doesn't even begin to convey the feeling that you have when you stand on the northbound Sharon platform as an Acela Express whizzes by.

What I'm wondering now: is this right-of-way completely fenced off, and if so, is there a hole in the fence that needs repair?

A suicidal trespasser?

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The PR people and police are almost certainly directed to use the term "trespasser". There is a good legal reason for that having to do with liability for harm done to people who are where they are not permitted to be (i.e., trespassers).

On a different note, a very good friend's father was an engineer on the LIRR for a very long time. He told me about the first time that his train hit (and killed) someone. It took him quite a while to get over it. He learned to cope when he realized (with the professional help) that all of the people who would subsequently step in front of his train (and there were a good number over his career) were all doing so deliberately.

I'd say that walking in front of the Acela is probably one of the surest ways to commit suicide - I can't help but wonder if the victim here was someone who knew that.

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Suicidal trespassers

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Having (long ago, in my misspent youth) trespassed along railroad rights of way (with no intention of self harm, only a typically juvenile interest in being in an interesting and forbidden place), I can tell you from personal experience that an approaching train makes a lot less noise than you might think, that a train going 75 or so miles per hour kind of sneaks up on you, and that it is almost impossible to judge, looking down the tracks toward an oncoming train, how fast it is moving or how far away it is.

Truly scary: one moment, "Hey, there's a train"; a few seconds later you're practically sucked off your feet as it whooshes by.

One of the 1970s era trains (The "Turbo Train?") had a view out the front; you could see startled-looking people scattering from the tracks several times on a trip from Boston to NYC. Not all of the trespasser fatalities are suicides I'm sure. One group heaved a limp, dead dog in front of the train; the engineer said "you see that all the time; they're going to make a claim against the railroad for killing their dog."

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Turbo train

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One of the 1970s era trains (The "Turbo Train?") had a view out the front; you could see startled-looking people scattering from the tracks several times on a trip from Boston to NYC.

The Turbo Train.

This guy might've had a little too much of his namesake and set off in search of some coffee, but ended up getting hit by the Acela and lived to tell about it, though he lost his teeth and part of his "back".

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I haven't spent much time

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I haven't spent much time around train tracks since I was a little girl, but Acela trains are surprisingly quiet. However... as a passenger on one of the MBTA trains behind the train that hit the man... I saw the remains. And given the way they were... well... sliced... It appeared as though he had been lying down on the tracks. So. I don't think this one was an accident.

This happens pretty often

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This happens relatively frequently on this line...trespassers committing suicide by train. I think Amtrak bears the brunt of it, because their trains maintain a higher speed at pedestrian crossings because they don't stop at every station like the commuter rail trains do. I was going to NY this past Christmas on Amtrak, and we were delayed an hour because the Amtrak train ahead of me hit a trespasser in Connecticut. I've taken that earlier train before, so it was a bit spooky to think that it was just my work schedule that kept me from being on it.

The Globe did a long, in-depth piece about the effect of suicide-by-train on MBCR staffers. It takes quite the psychological toll on the guys driving the train.

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