Train kills man walking on tracks near Torrey Pines

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SAN DIEGO — A 49-year-old man walking on the railroad tracks at Torrey Pines State beach apparently ignored warning bells and whistles from an approaching train and was hit and killed by an Amtrak Coaster over the weekend, according to authorities and media reports.

Michael North of Del Mar was walking between the rails south of the intersection of Carmel Valley Road and North Torrey Pines Road when the northbound Amtrak locomotive approached from behind shortly before 11:30 a.m. Sunday, according to sheriff’s officials and the county Medical Examiner’s Office.

The North County Transit District’s Coaster train was traveling north between the Sorrento Valley and Solana Beach Coaster stations when it hit the man. He died at the scene.

“According to witnesses, as the train was approaching the location, the victim was observed walking northbound in the middle of the railroad tracks along the bluffs,” Morabe said. “The train operator activated its horn and emergency braking system, but was unable to stop before striking the victim.”

The train’s conductor told investigators the victim was walking with two other people, who moved out of the way when the train began using its bells and whistles to alert them, according to a broadcast report. Meanwhile, North continued walking on the tracks.

Crossing train tracks is a misdemeanor but people commonly cross the railroad tracks near the accident site because it gives them easy access to the beach.

Coaster service on the railroad line was delayed about two hours, NCTD said. The agency sent buses to transport passengers stranded on trains. The train carried 109 passengers, according to authorities.


  • Kota

    What LOUSY reporting. No wonder people no longer trust the news media.
    There is NO “Amtrak Coaster” train. The Coaster was NOT involved in this incident.
    And nobody is ever killed “by” a train. People walking on railroad tracks are killed by their own stupidity.

  • Mark

    I was on the bridge when this accident happened. It was just north of Carmel Valley Road. The other two men were not walking with the man, he was alone walking north down the center of the track. The two gentlemen nearby yelled to him that the train was coming and he waved at them and continued. We saw the train coming from the bridge and looked back to see if he had moved, then the train hit him. It was very sad, regardless of the cause. Seems to me that a word of caution to others about the danger around train tracks is in order, not cruel derision of the poor man who died. Think of his loved ones.

    • DA

      Mark, Thank you. I had assumed that he was walking with friends. From what you say, he must have known about the train? He was a close friend of mine from many years ago.

  • Dominic

    Tragic. Michael North was a high school friend of mine, albeit a bit older than me. Brilliant chess player, did Biology at Cambridge and last time I met him 20 years ago he was working on cancer research. He is a big loss. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Rest in peace.

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