October 4, 2017

Two Fatalities on Princeton Junction Tracks

By Anne Levin

In two separate incidents that occurred two days apart, two people were struck and killed by Amtrak trains near the Princeton Junction station.

The first, on Thursday afternoon, September 28, involved a Princeton High School sophomore and is believed to have been a suicide. The Crescent train 20 was on its way from New Orleans to New York when it struck the student at about 2:45 p.m., according to an Amtrak spokesman. The second incident took place Saturday evening, September 30, when Amtrak train 92 hit an individual at about 8:30 p.m.

On Friday, parents of Princeton High School students received emails from Principal Gary Snyder and Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane advising them of the news, and offering suggestions for emotional support.

“We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of our 10th grade students,” Snyder wrote. “We have shared the news with the students this morning in first period class and have set up counseling stations to support both students and staff. Our thoughts are with the student’s family, friends, and everyone affected by this tragic loss. Counselors and other trained professionals from throughout the school, district, and community will be at PHS today to offer support to students and staff during this time.”

Cochrane wrote, “This is a time of mourning for our entire community. We encourage you to do what you are probably doing already: reach out to your kids, ask them how they are doing, tell them that you love them. You may also want to encourage them to share with you or with adults at school any concerns they may have about their own emotional health or that of their friends.”

Both messages referred parents to local community resources as well as articles about dealing with loss and trauma.

The Saturday incident involved the Silver Star train that operates between New York City and Miami. The train “came into contact with a person who was on the tracks near Princeton Junction station at around 8:30 p.m. yesterday,” said Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams, in an email on Monday. “There were 52 passengers on board with no reported injuries to passengers or crew.”

Abrams declined to comment on the Thursday accident.

New Jersey Transit issued an alert on Saturday night advising followers of its Twitter account that Northeast Corridor service was bypassing Princeton Junction due to a “trespasser fatality” near the station. Service later resumed with delays of up to 30 minutes, in both directions, between New Brunswick and Trenton.