Authorities said a 56-year-old Elgin man was struck and killed Tuesday afternoon by an outbound Metra train on the Milwaukee District West Line in Elgin.
The man apparently was walking in the middle of the tracks, with his back to the approaching train that had just left the Big Timber Road station in Elgin, Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said.
The train was coming around a bend in the tracks in a wooded area when the operator saw the man walking away from the train.
"He sounded the horn and the subject turned around, looked straight at him and did not move," Reile said. "The engineer then put the train into an emergency stop."
The train was between the Big Timber Road and State Street stations and likely traveling close to track speed -- the maximum at that location is 50 mph, Reile said.
"Even though the engineer did everything he was supposed to do, there is literally no way to stop the train in time," Reile said, adding that depending on the load, "it can take between a half mile to a mile to come to a stop."
The train struck the man at 3:35 p.m. near the Route 31 overpass, a mile outside of Big Timber Road station before reaching the State Street station.
"It's not a railroad crossing," Reile said. "These tracks are not a pedestrian area. It's private property. It is trespassing for a reason because they are dangerous."
Authorities notified the man's next of kin that day and learned "he had been down lately," Reile said.
"The family lost a loved one ... this is a tragedy," Reile said.