A joint investigation by police and Canadian Pacific (CP) is underway after a male person was struck and killed on the CP tracks west of William Street in Cobourg Monday night.
The name of the individual had not been released at press time.
"All we saw was the train (stopped at Ontario Street)," said Lisa Cowan, an employee at nearby Pine Ridge Veterinary Clinic. "We didn't know what was going on."
Everyone here is in shock, she said.
"Our crew did notice the individual and made every effort to alert them," CP spokesperson Kevin Hrysak said. The train whistle was used and an emergency brake application engaged but contact was made, he said.
The event occurred in the 19060 William Street area where there is an overpass and not at a crossing, Hrysak said. It happened about 6:50 p.m. when an eastbound freight train was travelling through Cobourg. It came to a stop near Ontario Street.
An investigation is underway to find out why the individual was on the track, he said.
"Unfortunately, these incidents are hard on our employees as well," Hrysak said.
Critical stress counselling is being offered to the staff, he added.
The post mortem was underway in Toronto Tuesday morning and "we're still trying to identify the body," Cobourg Constable Terry Stanley said in an interview.
"We don't suspect foul play," he added.
Contrary to initial reports of a vehicle accident at the Ontario Street railway tracks, it has been determined there was no vehicle involved, he said.
Asked if the death was the result of a possible accident, the officer said that had not been ruled out and statements still had to be completed with CP staff on the freight train.
Once the identity of the individual is determined, then there is the matter of informing next of kin, he added.
The office said he was unaware of any recent death involving students at a Cobourg high school, reiterating that he didn't know the age of the male person who had been struck by the train Monday night.
St. Mary Secondary School principal Rob Majdell confirmed Tuesday morning that a crisis team had been "deployed" to the school from the board. He declined to provide any specifics calling this a "very sensitive time" and that the "family was not talking about it."
"My major concern is for the students and the support of the family," Majdell said.