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Man hit, killed by Amtrak train in Castleton

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CASTLETON — A man crossing a stretch of track in the Village of Castleton-on-Hudson was struck and killed by a passenger train Thursday evening. 

Police have not yet released the identity of the man. 

At approximately 8:20 p.m. the 239 Empire Service train hit the man near a popular pedestrian crossing in the area of 1 South Main Street. The passage is used to access a small village owned park on the other side of the tracks. 

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Preliminary reports mistakenly characterized the victim as a trespasser. 

Schodack police Chief Joseph Belardo said the victim was not trespassing on the tracks.

“We’ve been told people are allowed to go straight across the tracks there,” Belardo told media durring a press conference around 11:37 p.m. Thursday. “So long as they go straight across the tracks and not up the tracks, it’s not considered trespassing.” 

Passengers on the northbound train from Pennsylvania Station in New York to Albany–Rensselaer station felt and heard the collision. 

“It sounded like branches or bolts (like small mechanical bolts rattling),” passenger Lizzie Sudlow said in a message. “It was a little bumpy.”

Jay Quackenbush, of Delmar, was seated in the train’s second car.

“You could hear and feel something bounce along under the car,” Quackenbush said. “Train braked hard soon after.”

The train came to a complete stop roughly a mile up the tracks, where it stayed for two and a half hours as police investigated. 

The train, considered part of an active crime scene, required a release from the New York State Police to continue its journey.  A fresh Amtrak crew was also brought in to relieve the original crew, who was not allowed to operate the train the five miles to its final destination. 

Conductors distributed bottled water and pretzels to the 130 passengers on-board. They were not allowed to exit the train and were told by conductors that alternative transportation was not an option.

No one on the train was injured in the collision.

The train arrived at the Albany–Rensselaer Amtrak/CDTA station at 11:11 p.m. 2 hours and 51 minutes late. The average trip time between Albany and New York City by rail is two and a half hours. 

Other trains along the route were also affected. Empire Service trains 241 and 243 were stopped at Hudson station as they waited for clearance to proceed through the crime scene. 

Shortly after midnight, passengers from the 241 train, whose crew was over their allotted work hours, merged with the 243 to form one train to Albany–Rensselaer. The now combined train reached its final destination at 1:45 a.m. Friday. 

The 245 Empire Service train, the last passenger train scheduled to travel the route Thursday, was delayed 34 minutes on its journey to Albany–Rensselaer.

Regular service on the north-south line was restored by 5:00 a.m. Friday.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.  

New York State Police, Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office, Castleton Volunteer Fire Department, and Castleton Volunteer Ambulance Squad, Schodack, and Amtrak Police responded to the collision.   

An Amtrak spokesman did not return a request for comment on this story. 

Dylan Rossiter is the Upstate Courier's founder and Editor-at-Large. He has covered Siena College men's basketball, the Tri-City ValleyCats, and Section II Athletics. Rossiter is based in Boston, MA and can be reached at Rossiter@UpstateCourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByDylanRossiter.