PALO ALTO (BCN) – A 19-year-old Palo Alto man was struck and killed early Thursday morning by a Caltrain in Palo Alto in what was the agency’s first fatality of the year and possibly “an intentional act,” a Caltrain spokeswoman said.

The last southbound train of the day, Train 198, departed San Francisco station at 12:01 a.m., and spokeswoman Christine Dunn said that the man was fatally struck by that train at about 1:20 a.m.

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It is not yet clear how or why the man was on the tracks, but Dunn said “a preliminary investigation indicates that this was an intentional act.”

Dunn said the man was hit on the train tracks about four-tenths of a mile north of the California Avenue station at a location where there is no vehicle or pedestrian crossing.

Access to the tracks is restricted, Dunn said, by a fence bordering the west side of the tracks and houses with fenced yards lining its east side.

Train 198 continued on to the California Avenue station, where passengers were able to disembark. Another local train making all remaining stops was dispatched to the station, where it picked up the 30 stranded passengers at 2:45 a.m.

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No passengers or train crew were injured as a result of the incident.

In 2010, there were 11 fatalities on the Caltrain right of way, said Dunn, down from 19 a year earlier. Dunn added that the agency “has an ongoing commitment to safety” through its participation in Operation Lifesaver, an organization that promotes rail safety.

Normal service was expected to resume Thursday morning, with the first southbound train scheduled to leave San Francisco at 4:55 a.m. The first northbound train was scheduled to depart San Jose at 4:30 a.m.

The victim’s identity had not yet been released as of 6 a.m. Dunn said that although the victim is a Palo Alto resident, he did not attend high school in Palo Alto.

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