Moses Shumow

Moses Shumow

BEVERLY — The family of an Emerson College professor who was struck and killed by a train at Beverly Depot in 2019 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the MBTA, Keolis Commuter Services, the train’s operator, and the city of Beverly.

The suit, filed Monday in federal court in Boston, alleges that the train was going too fast and the operator failed to sound the horn when the train pulled into the depot and struck Moses Shumow, who was riding his bike across the tracks. It also said that the MBTA, Keolis and the city failed to provide adequate safety measures at the station.

The lawsuit was filed by Shumow’s wife, Rose Shumow of Florida, on behalf of Moses Shumow’s estate.

According to the lawsuit, Moses Shumow, 42, was struck and killed by an MBTA commuter train on Oct. 22, 2019, while he was riding his bike on the pedestrian grade crossing over the railway tracks at Beverly Depot. The lawsuit said Shumow took a left turn onto the pedestrian crossing four seconds after a group of pedestrians and a dog had crossed, and Shumow was immediately struck by a train.

The suit said there were no horns, signals or alerts to warn Shumow of the oncoming train, and that the train was traveling over the speed limit for that portion of the track. It named the train operator as Nathan Drown of New Hampshire, an employee of Keolis Commuter Services, which operates the trains for the MBTA. The lawsuit said the fact that pedestrians are allowed to cross in front of oncoming trains at Beverly Depot creates a “dangerous condition.” It said the station had no automatic gates, warning lights, buzzers, signs, signals, flagmen or other safety measures to allow pedestrians to cross the tracks safely.

The lawsuit also blamed the city for its ban on the use of train horns within city limits. It said the city has claimed that it is exempt from the law requiring train horns, but said the city never applied for “Quiet Zone status” for several grade crossings in the city, including the ones at Beverly Depot.

The lawsuit said the city should know the importance of maintaining safety at grade crossings because it has more of them — 26 — than any other municipality in the Massachusetts. The lawsuit charges the MBTA, Keolis, Drown and the city of Beverly with one count each of negligence, and the MBTA, Keolis and the city with one count each of gross negligence, willful, wanton and reckless conduct. It asks for a jury trial and requests compensatory and punitive damages. Mayor Mike Cahill and spokespersons for the MBTA and Keolis Commuter Services all said they could not comment on pending litigation.

Shumow was an associate journalism professor at Emerson College who had produced documentaries for PBS, National Geographic, History Channel and Discovery and received numerous awards for his work. He was originally from New Mexico and taught in Florida before returning to Emerson, from which he graduated in 2001. He had three children with his wife, Rose.

Staff Writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at, or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

Staff Writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at, or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

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