A woman who sat down between the Caltrain tracks north of the San Antonio station in Palo Alto was killed late this morning by a southbound train, according to a police detective -- a probable suicide.
The woman, who was described as white and in her 30s or 40s, entered the southbound tracks behind an apartment complex on Del Medio Avenue, at the Mountain View/Palo Alto border, at approximately 11:25 to 11:30 a.m., according to officials.
The area, which is surrounded by shrubbery and not easily seen, is one of the few access points not barricaded by a tall chain-link fence, according to Detective Victor Lopez of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Transit Police Bureau.
"She sat down between the gauge of the tracks. The engineer went into emergency braking and honked the horn, then the train struck her," Lopez said.
Caltrain service was delayed approximately 20 minutes in both directions and trains were routed to a single track.
The Santa Clara County coroner is investigating the circumstances relating to the death, according to police.
The train engineer, who was not identified, was returning to San Jose and was pulled from duty as a matter of Caltrain policy. The engineer's state of mind is about what one would expect after being involved in a fatality, Lopez said.
"It's a horrible incident," he said.