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Pa. man dies when hit by train

August 05, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - A Mercersburg, Pa., man was killed when he was struck by a train Wednesday afternoon as he was surveying along the railroad track through Chambersburg, Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner said.

Thomas E. Shelly, 45, of 9495 Mercersburg Road, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred at about 1:30 p.m. on the railroad line near the Grant Street overpass, Conner said.

Conner did not release a cause of death pending an autopsy today at the Lehigh Valley Medical Center in Allentown, Pa.

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Conner said Shelly was using surveying equipment on the elevated railroad line when he was hit by the train. Conner said Shelly was a partner in the land surveying company Shelly & Witter Inc., which has offices in Greencastle, Pa., and McConnellsburg, Pa., according to its telephone listing.

Conner said the partner told him Shelly was doing surveying for TB Wood's, a manufacturer on North Fifth Avenue, not far from the accident. A pickup truck bearing the name of the company was in a parking lot across the street from TB Wood's.

Conner would not speculate on how Shelly might have been struck by the train. The elevated railroad line has steep banks that are heavily overgrown, obscuring the view from the road.

Chambersburg police and ambulance personnel accessed the accident site by the Knouse Foods Cooperative Inc. plant on Grant Street.

The train was two Norfolk Southern locomotives pulling nine cars toward Hagerstown, according to Rudy Husband, the director of public relations for Norfolk Southern.

"I have a tough time calling this an accident," Husband said Wednesday afternoon. He contended that Shelly was "accessing railroad property," something railroad companies take very seriously.

Husband said 500 people were killed last year trespassing on railroad properties nationwide. He said the Norfolk Southern Police Department had no other information to release Wednesday.

"It is not a borough incident, but the borough ended up investigating it at the request of Norfolk Southern," Conner said. Borough police had not released a report on the accident as of late Wednesday.

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