Metra service on the Union Pacific North line through Evanston has been disrupted for much of the morning after an inbound train struck a pedestrian at about 7:50 this morning at the Central Avenue crossing in Wilmette.

Trains now have started running again, but some are as much as two hours behind schedule.

The female pedestrian struck by the train was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses said it appeared she was trying to cross the tracks to get to the station platform and may have believed the express train was going to stop at the Wilmette station.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. More dangers with Metra in Wilmette

    I’m surprised there are not accidents at the Oakwood and Linden crossings in Wilmette—both elevated and Oakwood does not have car signal lights. The train, when stopped at the Wilmette station, causes the guard rail at Oakwood and Linden to come down and stop lights to come on. Moments later they return to their rest positions. Then when the train does start the guard rail and lights again activate. To me this is ‘crying wolf’ and may make drivers, at least those not well aware of this, disregard the signals.

    1. Metra gates in Wilmette

      When a train goes through Wilmette, the gates are timed to go down and halt traffic in time for the train to pass by at speed. When a train stops at Wilmette, the gates go back up to keep road traffic moving and from jamming up during what would be otherwise an extraordinary long wait. As the train resumes movement, the gates go down again. The whole sequence for both trains and cars is premised on common sense. Under no circumstance are activated railroad grade crossing signals and gates to be disregarded.

  2. Odd Headline

    A woman is killed — and most likely a family devastated — and the headline and lead are about the inconvenience to commuters? SMH

    1. Headline

      Hi Lisa,

      At the time I wrote the headline, it wasn’t known whether the person struck by the train had died.

      Had I known that, I might well have focused on the death in the headline.

      But at the time what I did know was that thousands of commuters were late for work.

      Nothing wrong with focusing on what was known, despite your head-shaking.

      — Bill

      1. Your reporting on this subject

        and many others is top notch. I wondered what had happened and this was naturally the first place I checked. You correctly reported the facts. You are a great journalist and there was absolutely nothing wrong with your headline or the opening. 

  3. Ignored

    It is tragic whenever someone is killed in an accident. In this case the news release from the police department indicates the person walked around the gates that were down. I’m not sure anyone is to blame here except the person who did this. That being said, most pedestrian vs. train incidents are acts of suicide which is tragic but not the fault of the engineer or the gate system. It is unknown yet if this was an accident of a deliberate action or possibly even impairment due to age. Either way tragic but let’s think through before making conclusions without all the facts being known. 

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