17-year-old pedestrian airlifted to hospital after being hit by train in New Hamburg

A 17-year-old pedestrian was airlifted to an out-of-region hospital with serious but non-life-threatening after being hit by a passenger train in New Hamburg on Tuesday night.

Waterloo regional police say they responded to the area of Waterloo and Steinman Streets in New Hamburg around 7:45 p.m. for reports of a collision between a train and a pedestrian.

Police say the pedestrian was a 17-year-old male.

A spokesperson for Ornge Air Ambulance confirmed a male patient was transported to London's Victoria Hospital with critical injuries.

Along with Waterloo regional police, emergency medical services, Wilmot Fire and CN police also responded to the incident.

Waterloo regional police are reminding pedestrians to "be vigilant and exercise caution when being around the area of railways and railway crossings."

Police are continuing to investigate the collision.

The devastating scene unfolded in front of Emma Bedbrook's family.

"They saw a boy walking but they didn't expect to see him keep walking and it all happened really quickly," she said.

Bedbrook said her mother and sister yelled out to the boy, who she says was walking on the sidewalk.

"They were yelling that there was a train, other people were yelling that there was a train and it just happened really quickly," she said.

Bedbrook said the boy was wearing headphones as he approached the crossing.

"There are no guardrails that come down for the sidewalk, so if he was looking down and he couldn't hear, there was no way for him to know that there was a train coming," she said.

Her mother then ran over to help.

"My mom is a nurse so she went down and saw him and talked to him and held his hand and tried to help his injuries," Bedbrook said. "Everybody that was there was thinking, 'I wish I could've stopped it and I wish I could've grabbed his arm.'"

VIA Rail's website showed a passenger train that was due to arrive in Stratford just before 8 p.m. was stopped and delayed for nearly three hours in New Hamburg.

In an emailed statement, VIA Rail said train #87, en route from Toronto to Sarnia, was involved in a "trespasser nonfatal incident near Kitchener."

There were 24 passengers on board, and VIA Rail said no passengers or employees were injured.

"There are [sic] no significant damage to the locomotive and the incident caused a delay of approximately 3 hours," the company's email said.

Some New Hamburg residents say change needs to happen at the intersection where the collision occurred.

"I think there needs to be guardrails that come down across the sidewalks to prevent people from walking across," Bedbrook said.

"I pray to the parents of that little boy that he's fine, that he walks away because I don't, I am beyond words to say that I hope nobody else gets hurt there," said New Hamburg resident Bill Himes.