Worker killed by Northstar train

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office has released the name of the rail worker who was struck and killed by a Northstar commuter train Wednesday morning.

Andrew Kim Weaver, 53, stepped from behind a test train to cross the tracks and was hit by an eastbound train traveling at 80 miles per hour, according to the sheriff's office.

Weaver, of Fridley, is survived by his father and sister. He had worked for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway for 31 years. The railway company owns the rail line and provides the crew for Northstar.

"Andrew was a vital part of our team, and we are all deeply saddened by his loss," said John Cech, general director of the company's Line Maintenance, in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

Sheriff's officials said that Weaver probably did not see or hear the train as it approached. The intersection where the incident occurred is a "no whistle" area because the neighborhood is mostly residential.

The sheriff's office also said the Northstar train's engineer probably could not see Weaver, as the rail worker had just stepped out from behind the test train directly into the path of the commuter train. The train struck Weaver at the intersection of the rail line and Egret Boulevard, between the Coon Rapids and Fridley stations.

Sheriff's officials said Weaver was in the area to test a portion of the tracks and had been using a three-car test train. The test train's engine was running at the time.

Between 150 and 200 people were onboard the Northstar commuter train headed for downtown Minneapolis. Transit officials provided buses for commuters left stranded by the rail closure.

The Northstar train runs between downtown Minneapolis to Big Lake. It makes five stops in the morning and five stops in the afternoon. Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons said the trains will be back in operation by rush hour.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story originally reported that Weaver was on his cell phone when was he was struck and killed, citing the Anoka County sheriff's office. On Monday, Oct. 4, 2010, the Anoka County sheriff's office said after review, it had determined Weaver "was not on the cell phone at the time of the accident." Read more in an October MPR report.