MONTREAL — Three men killed after being plowed down by a Via Rail train in southwest Montreal on Sunday may not have heard the locomotive coming because of the location.
The incident took place under a major freeway interchange with large concrete pillars that may have muffled the sound of the approaching train, police said.
“The big concrete structure made … it difficult for them to understand that there’s a train that was coming on,” said Montreal police Const. Danny Richer.
“That’s why maybe they didn’t understand and see that the train was coming.”
Police say five young men, between the ages of 17 and 19, were walking next to the railway tracks around 3 a.m. when three of them were hit.
The train was on its way to Montreal from Toronto when the incident occurred under the Turcot Interchange, about 10 kilometres from the station.
“The death of two young men was pronounced on the scene. One other man was transported to hospital where his death was pronounced,” said Richer.
The two survivors were also taken to hospital, suffering from shock. Police have not released any names.
Police continue to investigate but say it’s likely the victims may have been spraying graffiti on the concrete pillars of the interchange before they were hit.
A single police van and a group of teenagers were at the scene of the accident Sunday afternoon.
A small wooden cross was placed alongside a parked car believed to belong to one of the dead teens. A spray paint canister was visible in the trunk.
Harrison Turnblom Lepage, 17, said he was worried those who died in the accident were his friends.
He said he decided to visit the interchange in the hope that he could identify the victims by looking at their graffiti work.
Lepage, who sprays graffiti along the tracks himself, said it can be difficult to hear trains approaching the area under the interpass.
“You have to look, and you have to be warned,” he said. “Maybe they thought that no more trains would be passing because it was 3 a.m.”
Lepage said the site is one of the best for graffiti in the city.
“The Turcot Interchange is the biggest highway in Montreal,” he said.
“It’s like the Hall of Fame because (all the cars that) pass here all see your tag. It’s a good way to get recognized.”
Via Rail spokeswoman Elizabeth Huart said the train was scheduled to arrive in Montreal three hours earlier, at midnight.
But in a tragic twist, its departure was delayed by an unrelated accident involving a pedestrian and a commuter train in the Toronto-area, according to Huart.
The train was carrying 45 passengers, who were bused to the nearest station after the incident. None of the passengers were injured, Huart said.