A white male in his early 20s was struck and killed by a train at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday (July 7) near the Churchill Avenue crossing in Palo Alto, according to the San Mateo County Transit Police.
The victim has not yet been identified, and the Transit Police would not confirm whether he was a Palo Alto resident.
However, at about 9:40 p.m. an eyewitness said that a sobbing woman was seen walking down Churchill towards El Camino Real, about a block away from the tracks.
"Oh my child, my beautiful child," she exclaimed before she was assisted by a police officer and several other people.
Train No. 190, a local train that stopped at all stations, was traveling south when it struck the young man about 1/2 mile north of Churchill, Caltrain spokesperson Christine Dunn stated in a press release.
The 175 passengers from train No. 190 were transferred to another southbound train.
Mike Gowan of Mountain View said he was on train No. 190.
"I'll never forget the sound. Ugh. People on the train are very casual about this. It's quite sad," he posted on Twitter.
David Triolo, chief of protective services for the Transit Police, spoke to reporters gathered along Alma Street.
"These are all tragedies," he said, "and we take very seriously safety education."
"When there are intentional acts, it's very hard to reconcile that. It's hard to protect people from themselves," he said.
This is the tenth fatality on the Caltrain tracks in 2011, Dunn said.
Churchill at El Camino Real was blocked off to traffic after the incident.
Caltrain uses a multifaceted approach to address safety issues, Dunn said: engineering, education and enforcement.
Caltrain has posted signs on its right-of-way announcing that any person who is in an emotional crisis can find help by calling a hotline: 650-579-0355.