A Message to Our Customers
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently released its comprehensive safety assessment of Metro-North. Its central finding was that safety was not the railroad’s top priority.
Let me be clear: Safety will be this railroad’s top priority. I will not allow any Metro-North trains to operate unless it is safe for them to run. We will not run this railroad any other way.
We are taking the report’s observations, recommendations and mandates seriously, and are already addressing many of the FRA’s concerns in the draft 100-Day Action Plan that we recently unveiled. The plan will be revised not only to address specific areas of concern identified by the FRA, but also recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the MTA’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Safety when these reviews are complete.
We have also been engaged in reviewing and improving existing safety and operating practices since the New Haven Line derailment last May, and have already aggressively addressed a number of areas.
The problems identified in the FRA’s report have developed over a long period, but we will work aggressively to correct them.
To do that Metro-North will:
• improve how we train our employees and how we monitor their performance.
• implement a confidential close-call reporting system so employees can report safety issues without fear of reprisal.
• improve how we inspect our tracks and equipment, and how we perform maintenance on the right of way.
• request board approval this month to move forward on installing cameras in all our trains, as the NTSB recently recommended.
• install Positive Train Control – the most modern type of train protection – as quickly as possible.
• buy new equipment, hire the necessary staff, change our management structure and reach out to our partners in labor – all to make this railroad as safe as possible.
Though the FRA report is critical of several areas at our railroad, it also states that they are “encouraged by the many good employees who met with our Deep Dive teams …their dedication and desire to turn Metro–North into a safe, professional railroad serving the citizens of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will provide Metro-North’s new leadership with a solid foundation upon which to make immediate improvements and effect long-term cultural change.”
I was pleased that the FRA has confirmed my own assessment of the employees here at Metro-North. Every employee at Metro-North is committed to working diligently to operate the railroad in the safest manner possible, and to regain your trust.
Customer service excellence begins with a safe operation. And we will continue to work with both the FRA and National Transportation Safety Board to ensure that we heighten the safety awareness of everyone who works on this railroad.
You can view the 100-Day Action Plan for re-establishing a safe and reliable service and track our progress here.
Joseph J. Giulietti
MTA Metro-North Railroad
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