Broward County

'Never try to beat a train': Man killed by Brightline train while walking on tracks

A man in Boynton Beach died Friday after a Brightline train struck him as he stood on a stretch of train tracks.
A man in Boynton Beach died Friday after a Brightline train struck him as he stood on a stretch of train tracks. Palm Beach Post

A man in Boynton Beach died Friday after a Brightline train struck him as he stood on a stretch of train tracks.

The man was hit before noon just south of Woolbright Road, police said. No roadways are being affected by the investigation.

“We continue working with the Boynton Beach Police Department," said Brightline spokesperson Ali Soule in a written statement to the Miami Herald. "The only safe place to cross a railroad is at a designated crossing. Never try to beat a train.”



Brightline, the privately run commuter rail line that operates on the Florida East Coast Railway, has been ferrying passengers from West Palm Beach to Downtown Miami since May 19.

Its trains have now been involved in at least seven fatal collisions with pedestrians along its train tracks since the company began trial runs in 2017. Brightline's equipment has not been formally found at fault in any of the collisions.

The company has partnered with rail safety organization Operation Lifesaver to distribute safety pamphlets at schools and community centers along the FEC tracks, which until January have been exclusively used by slower freight trains shuttling supplies and goods across Florida.

In mid-January, following the unveiling of its West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale route, Brightline announced it would aggressively expand its public safety campaign — "Stay Off The Tracks" was its no-nonsense slogan — and hopefully deter unlawful crossings.

Digital signs now warn pedestrians and motorists accustomed to slower freight trains that "MORE AND FASTER TRAINS" now share the tracks. Brightline trains can reach speeds of 79 mph.

Brightline team members prepare the MiamiCentral station for its opening on Friday.

Fatalities on the FEC tracks, which run from Miami to Jacksonville, aren’t uncommon. There were 14 last year — the lowest yearly total since 2013 — and 145 in the past decade, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

A pickup truck driver takes on a Brightline train in Deerfield Beach and crosses tracks seconds before the train arrives.

The majority of the incidents involved people walking, lying or running on the railway, with most appearing to be suicides. Four occurred in Miami-Dade County, and all but two involved freight trains.

Keep yourself and your family and friends safe by following Operation Lifesaver’s top five rail safetytips:

1. Look and listen for a train as you approach all railroad crossings — obey all signs, warning lights and gates.

2. Trains are quieter and faster than you think — never try to beat a train.

3. Because of their size and weight, it can take a mile or more to stop a train.

4. Always expect a train on any track; avoid distractions when you approach a crossing.

5. Railroad property is private property. Walking on the tracks is illegal and dangerous.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the crash happened in Broward County. Boynton Beach is in Palm Beach County.

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