Updated 6:42 a.m. 3/19/11

WILMETTE,Ill. (STMW) — A Metra train fatally struck an elderly Evanston man Friday afternoon in an apparent suicide in north suburban Wilmette.

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The pedeUnion Pacific Train No. 335 struck a pedestrian about 4:45 p.m. near the Wilmette station, Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said.

Witnesses reported that the 76-year-old Evanston resident walked onto the patch of the northbound express train and crouched down on the tracks, according to a Wilmette police release. He was killed instantly when struck by the train.

The man was identified as Richard Thomas, 76, of an unidentified home address, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

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A preliminary investigation indicates the death is a suicide, the police release said. An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday, the medical examiner’s office said.

The train left the Ogilvie Transportation Center at 4:13 p.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Kenosha at 5:39 p.m. The train was stopped after the incident, and didn’t begin moving again until about 6:30 p.m., Reile said.

Other trains were also delayed up to two hours because of the incident, Reile said.

Wilmette and Metra police are investigating.

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(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)