Officials investigate train incident Nov. 14. (THE NEWS/files)

Officials investigate train incident Nov. 14. (THE NEWS/files)

Lawsuit filed against Maple Ridge, CP on train track death

Lawsuit filed against Maple Ridge, CP on train track death

The mother of a woman who died on the train tracks in Maple Ridge on Nov. 14 has filed a lawsuit against both the City of Maple Ridge and Canadian Pacific Railway, claiming the city’s decision on cancelling train horns contributed to the death.

Susan Jennifer Drake filed the suit in Supreme Court in Vancouver on Jan. 7, on behalf of the daughter of the deceased.

Susan’s daughter, Shelby Cobra Lyn Drake, in her 20s, died on the tracks just west of Port Haney station.

Emergency responders were called at approximately 8:45 a.m., when it was still dark and raining, to an incident in the 22100-block of River Road.

In September, council passed a resolution asking that horns or whistles no longer be sounded at every crossing as trains traverse the city.

However, train horns have not stopped sounding because Maple Ridge has not yet completed Transport Canada’s train whistle cessation program.

Fred Armstrong, with the city, said Wednesday the horns have continued to sound as they always have and will continue until security fencing is installed at the Port Haney station.

Completion date of that isn’t yet known, but once the fence is complete, CP Rail can then inform Transport Canada that it’s stopped sounding its horns on a routine basis.

However, train operators will continue to sound horns during emergencies or if they see someone on the tracks.

“While completion of the train whistle initiative, by the end of 2018, remains the city’s target, this may get pushed into early January depending on final completion/approval of the fencing works,” said the city’s property manager Darrell Denton said previously.

Drake’s suit claims the death was caused because the city passed a resolution calling for the cancelling of train whistles when it should have known that it would stop people from hearing trains on tracks that people cross.

The suit also says the city should have known the barriers weren’t enough to keep people off the tracks and failed to post warning signs in the area.

The suit blames CP for operating a train at an “excessive” rate of speed, and failing to stop the train from hitting the pedestrian and not sounding the horn properly.

Drake is seeking damages to cover loss of guidance, financial support, household inheritance and loss of inheritance.

Maple Ridge and CP have 21 days to file a response.

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