UPDATE: Man killed at Churchill Avenue rail crossing identified

By the Daily Post staff

FRIDAY, JAN. 20, 3:30 p.m.: The man killed by a train at the Churchill Avenue Caltrain crossing yesterday has been identified by the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Corner as Gary Zweig, 71.

THURSDAY, JAN. 21, 4:10 p.m.: The Churchill Avenue Caltrain crossing this afternoon after a train hit and killed a man on the tracks.

The collision occurred around 3:40 p.m. The train was No. 261 headed toward San Francisco. It had 22 passengers on board.

Palo Alto police advise motorists to expect delays in the area, and to take alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion.

All trains are stopped in the area as of shortly after 4 p.m.

The fatality is the first on Caltrain’s right-of-way in 2021.

The Transit Police Bureau of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office investigates all collisions on the railroad corridor.

Caltrain is saying the person killed was a “trespasser” but the circumstances of the fatal crash haven’t been determined. The man hasn’t been identified publicly.


  1. With just 22 people on board, why aren’t they using a bus to pick up people along the Caltrain line? A diesel train belching all that smoke has an impact on our carbon footprint. But we’ve got carbon-neutral electric buses we can use. Running a train for 22 people is silly.

  2. Dr Gary Zweig was my Doctor for many years. He was the most caring person , dedicated to his patients and provided impeccable medical care. I am so saddened to hear about this tragedy and want everyone to know what a special person he was. He will be missed by his family , patients and friends.

    • Absolutely right. He was a great man, great doctor, never raised his voice or argued. This hurts bad because we all loved him. He will be missed.
      That person worrying about diesel train smoke& carbon hopefully never has to deal with this kind of tragedy.
      RIP Gman until we see you on the other side.

  3. Condolences to the family.

    The way the story is told sounds as if the deceased was trying to cross the tracks when he was hit by the train, the implication being that either the deceased man was not paying attention or the equipment (crossing gate) and alarms failed to activate. But this appears to be a suicide, no?

    • Happily, it’s quite difficult for non-suicidal, sober pedestrians to “accidentally” get hit by a train at Caltrain crossings. All are equipped with LOTS of crossing arms, bells, well over a dozen flashing red lights, signage, stripes … and Churchill even has it’s own high-tech video camera system (to replace the costly human anti-suicide guards) and new solar powered flashing “pucks” lining both sides of the crossing to stop clueless drivers from mistakenly turning their cars onto the tracks at night! And that’s in addition to the multiple mandatory 100db horn blasts and brilliant headlights, some of which flash in conjunction with the horn, at the front of oncoming trains!!

      After surviving 71 years, it’s highly, highly, highly improbable that anyone — let alone an obviously very competent and intelligent physician — suddenly “accidentally” gets themselves run over by a train in broad daylight at a highly protected crossing while walking nowhere near either their homes or offices.

      I cannot recall a single accidental pedestrian death at a Caltrain crossing … every single one is ultimately determined to have been a suicide based on actual and/or circumstantial evidence. (Caltrain has forward-facing cameras that record every single incident for investigators to review. Before these, they used to get sued by surviving family members alleging their suicidal loved ones were killed due to negligence … ambulance-chasing lawyers working on contingency would try claiming preposterous things like the deceased got their foot “stuck” in/on the gap or edge between the rail and the crossing pavement, etc.)

  4. Gary was a dear friend and my Doctor for the past 23 years. Kind, loving and a wonderful Doctor. I would not be alive today if not for him. I lost a best friend and more. My heart goes out to his Family, friends and patients. RIP my friend, the World is not quite as bright, happy and wonderful as it was with you here with us. Much Love.

  5. My condolences to the Dr’s friends and family. Sounds like a very admired and popular man, that through the years, provided beneficial medical and emotional service for many.

    It’s unfortunate this pandemic has taken a toll and many find no other reason to live so they “escape” via suicide. Not sure if this was the case but it sure sounds like it. As someone mentioned, it is almost impossible for someone to not see a train coming due to precautions set in place. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t find the help he needed — after he helped so many.

  6. I knew Gary LONG BEFORE he became a doctor. We went to middle school and high school together—and because we were both at the end of the alphabet, he was always seated near me. I’m not surprised that Gary was adored as a doctor and caring friend. As a kid, he was universally admired for his good brains, his good heart and his good smile. As a classmate just said to us, “Every girl had a crush on him!” I can only affirm that was true!!

  7. Please remove this post. Family, friends, patients and more are grieving this sudden and horrible loss. Why not just not post if you can’t offer kind words, memories, or condolences? I will never forget having learned from him in my pre-med days, the thought and care he put into his patients, his knack for teaching, love of photography, and his family. That was many years ago for me, but I’ve thought of my time learning from him often throughout my career. Sending love and healing thoughts to his family.

  8. I was a long time patient of Gary Zweig. He was a true professional who deeply cared about his patients and was very generous with his time and honest advice. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the Stanford medical community.

  9. Gary was my doctor for years as well, until I moved out of California 2 years ago. I worry about his receptionist, Kathy. Kathy is getting up there in years and was dependent on working with Gary. I know Gary sent a message to his patients months ago that he was getting a hip replacement. I wonder if it left him in pain. I can’t explain why he would take his own life.

    • Hip replacement is major surgery and takes a long time to recover if ever, with many “painful” weeks and physical therapy sessions. I’m speculating now but with “non-essential” services closed for months (and still not fully open), lifestyle changes, difficulty practicing his job, few if any visitors due to Covid hysteria and madness, bars and restaurants closed, everyone walking around in masks, and so on, depression can easily set in and lead to worse.

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