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November 6, 2009 - Track Inspector Killed in Train Accident

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority officials said a track inspector was killed in Philadelphia when he was struck by an oncoming train.

SEPTA track inspector Kevin Sparks, 34, was hit by a R3 West Trenton train Thursday morning, disrupting the Regional Rail system for three hours, The Philadelphia Inquirer said Friday.

SEPTA officials said Sparks was inspecting northbound train tracks when he was struck by the southbound train.

"It's a set procedure," SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said of how equipment issues occasionally force trains to switch tracks. "The people working on tracks know that's a possibility at all times and assume trains will be coming from either direction."

The deadly accident came in the wake of a fire on board a train on the R5 Paoli line Wednesday. No one was hurt in the fire, but the blaze prompted the evacuation of nearly 500 passengers.

The Inquirer said both incidents come amid a strike by SEPTA's largest union, which has forced local commuter trains to carry additional passengers.

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