Amtrak officials on Sunday identified the woman who was killed by an Amtrak Downeaster train Saturday night as Nyla J. Howard, 39, of South Portland.

Howard was struck by the Downeaster at about 6:55 p.m. near Calvary Cemetery in South Portland, a mile south of the Portland Transportation Center. The tracks run next to the cemetery. On Sunday morning there were no visible signs of the accident in the area.

Amtrak officials said Howard was trespassing on the tracks when she was struck by Train 698, which was heading from Brunswick to Boston. There were no other injuries.

The crew on duty asked to be relieved and a new crew was called in to complete the route. There were 68 passengers on board.

Kimberly Woods, an Amtrak spokeswoman, said Sunday night that the investigation by Amtrak police into Howard’s death is continuing. She declined to provide more details.

Woods, in an email, said that Howard was walking on the train tracks just before she was hit. An autopsy will be performed Monday by the state medical examiner’s office.


Though South Portland police responded to the accident, Lt. Thomas Simonds said any information concerning Howard or the circumstances leading up to her death would have to be released by Amtrak police.

This was the second train fatality in southern Maine since last fall.

A man was killed by an Amtrak Downeaster train in what police believe was a suicide in Biddeford on March 11. On Oct. 16 of last year, Richard Cobb, 54, of Portland was killed by a freight train in Portland while walking along the tracks near Woodfords Corner.

Sean Page, 40, was hit by an Amtrak Downeaster train while walking on the tracks near his home in Biddeford on April 16, 2012. Police said he was wearing audio ear buds and did not hear the train.


Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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