An Update to Our Customers from Metro-North President Joe Giulietti on Our Safety Reforms (Spring 2015)
Metro-North is committed to the goal of rebuilding the railroad's organizational culture and its physical plant so that safety is the foundation of everything we do. Every decision and change that has been made since I became president last year has been made to advance safety.
The following is an update on the numerous reforms that Metro-North has implemented or are underway, which include:
Rebuilding The Organizational Culture
- Communicated a clear message to our employees that working and operating safely is the primary focus of the railroad--not on-time performance.
- Reviewed and revised train schedules to ensure sufficient windows exist to perform track maintenance, and schedule necessary track work despite the probability of train delays.
- Revamped the railroad's program on required operational testing and evaluation so that testing is performed daily, and results are reviewed monthly and quarterly, in addition to being subject to a federally mandated semi-annual review by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
- Revised the railroad's comprehensive safety plan designed to improve safety, reduce incidents and injuries, and make this document the core of Metro-North's safety program.
- Implemented a confidential close call reporting system so employees can report safety issues without fear of reprisal.
- Increased the emphasis on communicating safety messages at all levels of the railroad.
Rebuilding the Workforce
- Reorganized and enhanced the Safety & Security Department as the Office of System Safety so that its focus is solely on ensuring current and future safe operating practices and procedures throughout Metro-North and separated the security function from safety.
- Reorganized and enhanced the Training Department to coordinate training program development, delivery, and oversight across Metro-North. Benchmarked with other organizations to improve key safety-critical training programs, and initiated further improvements. Launched new programs in safety leadership.
- Improved the systems used to record, monitor, and report on employee new hire and refresher/recertification training, with further improvements underway.
- Added new positions to the Maintenance of Way (M-of-W) Department, including a Vice-President of Engineering who reports directly to the President and oversees the continual maintenance of the railroad's infrastructure.
- Enrolled M-of-W supervisory personnel in continuing education classes and professional organizations to keep abreast of developing industry standards.
- Improved the staffing of Rail Traffic Controllers resulting in a reduction in employees working on rest days.
Rebuilding Our Track
- Hired the Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI) to conduct a comprehensive assessment of Metro-North's infrastructure and its maintenance procedures. Overall, TTCI identified 146 items for Metro-North to evaluate or implement; of these, 127 have been implemented or are in progress.
- Conducted a complementary review of these issues as well as the safety culture of the railroad in conjunction with: The MTA's Blue Ribbon Panel Report on Safety issued in August; The FRA's Operation Deep Dive Report issued in May; The NTSB's current findings.
- Progressed major work along our right-of-way to restore the infrastructure. (See program highlights from 2014 here.)
In addition to these efforts, Metro-North has already:
- Designed and installed modifications to the railroad's signal system to allow automatic speed control in 10 critical areas (five critical curves and five moveable bridges).
- Developed and installed an industry-leading system that provides enhanced protection to employees working along our tracks.
- Installed alerters on the remaining fleet to ensure that engineers remain responsive. Metro-North's operating fleet is fully equipped with alerter devices in the engineer's position to ensure that engineers remain responsive.
- Installed permanent speed signs at key locations, including identifying and installing speed signs at 25 additional locations.
- Created and begun implementation of a pilot program for identifying key employees with sleep apnea.
Improvements occurring in the near future include:
- The installation of video/audio recording devices in railcars.
- The installation of Positive Train Control, which is regarded as the most modern type of train protection; a pilot program is set to begin on the New Haven and Hudson Lines in 2015.
- The installation of Autonomous Track Geometry Measurement Systems on Rail Cars
Metro-North has accomplished a lot and we are fully aware that a lot of work remains to be done.
Rest assured that these current and past reforms are just the start of a comprehensive effort to rebuild the railroad's organizational culture and its physical plant so that safety IS the foundation of everything Metro-North does.
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