A 24-year-old man from Sunnyvale was killed at about 7:30 p.m. Monday evening (Feb. 28) when southbound Caltrain No. 284 struck him at the Palo Alto station at University Avenue, Caltrain reported.
A "preliminary investigation indicates that the person acted intentionally," a Caltrain press release stated.
Officers found a blood-stained piece of paper at the scene, according to a police scanner report. Emergency personnel included the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and Palo Alto police.
Crime-scene tape covered the area around the Marguerite shuttle stop, an eyewitness said. The entrances to the underpass between the northbound and southbound tracks were also blocked off.
The train stopped south of the Stanford station with approximately 115 passengers onboard. It was cleared to leave the scene at about 8:39 p.m., Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn stated in a press release.
Train No. 284 operates as a local train from San Francisco to Menlo Park. It had been scheduled to stop at the Mountain View station and the Santa Clara station, arriving in San Jose at 7:55 p.m. The train was not scheduled to stop at the Palo Alto station. Caltrain is authorized to operate at a maximum speed of 79 miles an hour.
The northbound track was re-opened for trains traveling at reduced speed at 8:25 p.m., and the track continued to serve both north- and south-bound trains as of 9:45 p.m.
A bus driver for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority who declined to give his name spoke about the incident. He had been dispatched to the Palo Alto Caltrain station to pick up passengers who were delayed by accident, but he found fewer passengers than usual opting for the bus.
He said he didn't understand why a person would commit suicide.
"The family will be suffering. ... It makes me a little sad," he said.
Gesturing to a train that was pulling into the station, he said: "These are the people who are affected."
This is the fourth Caltrain fatality on the right-of-way this year. Last year there were 11 fatalities on the Caltrain right-of-way; of those nine were determined by the coroner to be suicides and two are pending final investigation, Dunn stated.
Last year, Caltrain installed 250 suicide prevention signs along a 10-mile stretch of the right-of-way between Menlo Park and Mountain View.
The signs, which have a hotline number to a local crisis intervention agency, are part of national study to test the effectiveness of signs in preventing suicides on railroads. The calls are tracked to determine if the signs are an effective tool for suicide prevention.