Police confirm suicide by train in Guilderland 

— Image from Google Maps 

Railroad tracks run near the intersection of Stone and Depot roads, which is midway between Guilderland Center and Voorheesville. 

GUILDERLAND — Police confirmed that a person hit and killed by a train in Guilderland on Monday, July 29, committed suicide. 

The death occurred at the grade crossing on Stone Road, between Depot and Ostrander roads, Guilderland Police spokesman Deputy Chief Curtis Cox said Wednesday. 

Stone Road connects Ostrander Road, on the east side of the tracks, with Depot Road, on the west side of the tracks.

The person was not in a vehicle, Cox said. 

Guilderland Police got the call from railroad-transportation company CSX at 1:02 p.m., stating that a person had been hit, Cox said, and responded with Guilderland Emergency Medical Services and the Altamont Rescue Squad. 

Police confirmed at 1:17 p.m. that the person had died, a CSX spokesman told The Enterprise in an email. 

Cox said that the police investigation had shown that the death was a suicide, but declined to identify the person or to give any further information such as age or gender.

The police will be releasing no further information, because of “the nature of the situation,” Cox said. 

In an Enterprise story on a 2012 rail suicide in New Scotland, CSX spokesman Robert Rohower, whose company operated the line, said most freight trains are a mile-and-a-half to two-miles long and require up to four miles to stop, which means, even if an operator sees someone on the tracks, he can’t stop the train in time to save the person.

“More often than not, those folks are the most forgotten in the outside world,” said Rohower, of train operators, in 2012. “There is no steering wheel to turn away. They’ll always remember that location,” he said of the place where a train hit someone.

The Federal Railroad Administration has long tracked deaths on the tracks, but began tracking specifically suicides in 2011. 

Between 2011 and April of this year, there were a total, in the United States, of 2,225 suicides on train tracks, or an average of 247 a year, according to the Federal Railroad Administration; of that total, 257 involved CSX trains. 

In New York State over the same time period, according to FRA data, there were a total of 164 suicides on train tracks, for an average of 18 per year.

 

****

In June 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a Vital Signs report showing that, between 1999 and 2016, suicide rates in the United States went up more than 30 percent in half the states; in New York, the increase was 28.8 percent. In 2017, there were 47,173 suicides, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.  

If someone you love has killed themselves, help is available through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which provides toolkits for schools and workplaces after a suicide, bereavement clinicians, and support groups.

The New York State’s Office of Mental Health recently partnered with Crisis Text Line, a national not-for-profit group that provides free around-the-clock text-based support for people in crisis, helping people facing suicidal thoughts, cyberbullying, family emergencies, maternal depression, and more. Users are connected to a trained crisis counselor by texting “GOT5” to 741-741. Data usage is free and text messages are confidential, anonymous, and secure. This is in addition to the National Suicide Preventioni Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. ​

More Guilderland News

  • During the pandemic, many Lynnwood Elementary students had been through “levels of trauma,” said their art teacher, Krista Gillis. She came up with a project that would show them, on their return to school, “They belong here and we love them.”

  • The fifth case, at Guilderland High School, was announced Wednesday in an email from Superintendent Marie Wiles. That last case forced the high school to all-remote learning, beginning on Thursday, Nov. 19, and lasting until Thanksgiving break, which starts on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

  • “I had my life flashing before my eyes,” said Lisa Chrysler of the moment before her son saved her. “When he gave me the Heimlich, I bent over and, within 30 seconds, I felt it go away … He stayed so calm and has been so humble ever since.”

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.