Death of Three Graffiti Artists

At 3:00 a.m. on October 31, 2010, in Montreal, Canada, three young men standing on railway tracks were hit and killed by a passenger train. Two died instantly and the third a short time later in hospital. Two other young men who were with them at the time were not hit but were sent to hospital suffering from shock.

The five men were all graffiti artists or “taggers” who paint large signatures (or “tags”) on walls, buildings, railway cars, or trucks. The accident happened where the railway track passes under a highway “interchange” described in one newspaper report as “a concrete tangle of expressway ramps and pillars.” Areas of this kind are popular with graffiti artists because they are abandoned at night and the concrete surfaces provide excellent “canvases” for their work; this particular interchange is especially popular with artists because passengers on the trains that pass beneath it get a good view of the tags.

It seems that when the men were hit, they were standing on the track looking at graffiti. They apparently didn’t hear the train coming until the last minute and didn’t have time to jump out of the way. The organizer of an annual graffiti convention in Montreal who commented on the accident said that the sound of the train was likely muffled by the concrete walls which surrounded the site. He added that train was a passenger train and that trains of that kind — which are faster and quieter than freight trains — do not normally travel on those tracks during the middle of the night.

The forty-five passengers on the train were taken by bus from the scene of the accident to Central Station in Montreal. The train was running late because it had been delayed near Toronto by another fatal rail accident involving another train.

information from:
-Ingrid Peretz, “Three youths killed by Via train my not have heard it coming,” The Globe and Mail, Toronto, 10.10.31; (quote taken from this article)
-Annabelle Nicoud, “Trois graffiteurs fauché par un train,”La Presse, Montreal, 10.10.31;
-“Deaths bring warnings,” The Gazette, Montreal, 10.11.01;