Death on Tracks Halts Excursions at Iron Heritage Festival

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DANVILLE-- Officials said a 21-year-old man from Virgina was struck and killed by a train traveling to Bloomsburg as part of the Iron Heritage Festival.

The Montour County Corner said the death is being treated as a suicide, following witness reports that the man put his head on the tracks before the train hit him.

A watchman at the tracks said he spotted the man Friday night sleeping in a parking lot nearby and noticed him wandering near the tracks before the deadly collision.

While the train was filled with passengers, crew members said nobody onboard realized the train had hit the victim until a phone call came about what had happened.

The train returned to Danville but stopped short of the make-shift station at the local middle school to avoid crossing back over the scene, and to allow investigators to do their work. Passengers had to evacuate the train near Jacob's Alley, with the help of portable platforms.

The festival celebrates the history of rail tracks in Danville, where the iron "T-rail" was said to be invented.

People at the festival said it was sad that the victim used the very tracks the festival celebrates to end his life.

"They are shocked. They really are. They are not saying much. They just can't believe what happened," said Train Watchman Red Swank. "It sure put a damper on the day. Usually it is happy and everything is going on, but they are sort of down."

The two remaining train excursions were cancelled and refunds were issued. Parents said they struggled to explain to their children why their plans had changed.

"We came and we didn't realize there had been an accident, so we were disappointed we didn't get to go, but we understand. It's very unfortunate," said Michelle Richards of Elysburg.


  • F.R.K.

    I cannot help but wonder where this mans mind was. But what I do know that 20,000 tons of rolling iron makes a lot of noise and vibration. I think he had a death wish at some poor soul’s expense.
    God bless his family and the engineer.

  • greg

    you know they are going to sue the railroad, right? the family will get a scumbag lawyer and try to blame them.

  • deborahrmorgan

    It is sad……the person was obviously in distress…..people in nyc do it all the time…….and lately there has been a rash of suicides in the financial world…….they keep jumping off roofs……its true……..ive been following this trend.

    • MWM

      Lol! What do you know about WHAT people in NYC do all the time?! That’s not the only place in the world people have been jumping off roofs lately! And those stories are likely an entirely different matter! Sometimes the homeless often did jump in front of the trains, but not put their head on the track..unless they were hanging underground, which is a strong possibility. Another thing they did sometimes was push OTHER people in front of the train!

  • Snshn

    It is a sad story for all involved. I also believe that this should have been more deeply investigated prior to this article being published the way it was.

  • Cestlavie

    Oh. That poor lady’s 22 month old was disappointed because someone died and cancelled his ride he’d never remember. This is why you shouldn’t interview people for things like this.

  • Sashie

    If he was sleeping in his car, maybe he wasn’t feeling well. Let’s not assume suicide. Investigate

    • MWM

      Wasn’t feeling well BECAUSE he was sleeping in his car? That makes no sense. “…witness reports that the man put his head on the tracks before the train hit him.” What did he have a migraine? If anything he was mentally ill to be sure, extremely depressed enough to put his head on the tracks? Who does that?

      • Lawfirm of Dewey, Screwum & Howe

        Ahhhh…… you’re evidently here to critique everyone’s posts? Your life must be boring……

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