Man accused of hitching free ride on top of train faces charges

Posted Aug. 30, 2011, at 3:39 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 30, 2011, at 4:33 p.m.

BATH, Maine — A 22-year-old Waldoboro man who allegedly rode atop a train from Rockland to Bath earlier this month has been charged with criminal trespassing.

Elijah Burnham, 22, of Waldoboro is scheduled to appear Oct. 4 in West Bath District Court to face the Class E misdemeanor charge, according to Bath police Lt. Stan Cielinski.

The morning of Aug. 21, Bath police received a call from a Woolwich resident who reported seeing a man on top of a moving train, Cielinski said at the time.

Police intercepted a Maine Eastern Railroad train at the intersection of Centre and Washington streets, signaled to the train crew to stop and removed the man.

Burnham told Bath police Officer Richard Ross that he had been drinking in Rockland the previous night, climbed on top of the train and fell asleep, Cielinski said.

Burnham remembered waking up along the 45-mile ride from Rockland to Bath and deciding that he should stay where he was until someone saw him, according to police reports.

“Officer Ross asked him if he was worried about falling off and he said he felt pretty safe since the car he was riding on had rails on both sides,” Cielinski said.

Bath police met Wednesday with a representative of Maine Eastern Railroad and subsequently issued Burnham a summons, according to Cielinski.

“We don’t want this to happen all the time,” railroad spokesman Gordon Page said Monday. “This was a foolish prank and, despite the fact that the young man said he was drinking and fell asleep … that’s somewhat far-fetched, as far as I’m concerned. Imagine if he had rolled off on a turn at 35 or 40 miles per hour. We still wouldn’t know that he was out there.”

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