Metro North Implements Close Call System

Yesterday, the MTA Metro-North Railroad announced the implementation of a confidential close call reporting system. Here is more via the official press release:

MTA Metro-North Railroad today announced the extended implementation of Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS), an industry-leading initiative designed to encourage workers to report any potential safety hazard or breach of procedures that they may observe by providing them with a convenient, non-confrontational and anonymous method to do so.

The Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) is a partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), in conjunction with participating railroad carriers and labor organizations. C3RS was first rolled out in 2015 to approximately 1,500 transportation department employees, represented by the Association of Commuter Rail Employees (ACRE), including conductors, engineers and rail traffic controllers.

Today, Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti, labor organizations representing 4,000 employees, and FRA Deputy Regional Administrator Les Fiorenzo have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) describing the core principles and values to successfully implement the program to its mechanical and engineering workers. Metro-North is the first commuter railroad to implement the system with all of its operations workforce throughout the entire network.

“I am proud to put my signature on a document that provides the opportunity to continue the initiatives we have already put in place to enhance railroad safety,” said Giulietti. “This program confirms how much we depend on our employees to detect potential risks to our operations. They are the eyes and ears of Metro-North and we appreciate their contribution to making the system run safely and efficiently.”

C3RS is an FRA-funded program that provides a voluntary, non-punitive approach for employees to report certain incidents and close call events that pose the risk of more serious consequences. A third party (NASA) will receive the details of the incident via an online form and de-identify the information before presenting it to a Peer Review Team (PRT) consisting of local representatives from the FRA, Metro-North and labor unions representing 4,000 mechanical and engineering employees.

Those unions are: The American Railway Supervisors Association/ Transportation Communications Union/International Association of Machinists (ARASA/TCU/IAM and ARASA/TCU/IAM 5041), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW System Council Number 7, IBEW Local 1573), National Conference of Firemen & Oilers (NCFO), International Association of Sheet, Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART-SM), Association of Commuter Rail Employees (ACRE Signalman Division Local 166, ACRE Power Directors Local 37), Transportation Workers Union (TWU Local 2055, TWU Local 2001), and International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT Local 808).

“Every day, nearly 300,000 people count on Metro-North to transport them safely to their jobs in the morning and home to their families every night. Starting a Confidential Close Call Reporting System for its mechanical and engineering Departments is another important step toward improving Metro-North’s safety culture, preventing accidents before they happen and increasing worker safety,” said FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg.

Other railroads currently using C3RS include Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit, Amtrak and Strasburg Rail Road. Reporting results from each railroad provide the chance to see industrywide trends in close call incidents and use the information to prevent similar or more serious incidents from recurring.

While the reporting of close call events will not be used as a substitute for any existing Metro-North safety programs or reporting procedures, it will serve as an additional tool for improving safety. The information about close call incidents enables the railroad to identify factors that contribute to accidents or injuries and to correct these problems before they result in harm. It will increase productivity and cost savings by reducing claims and litigation as well as time lost from injuries. The program will also help to decrease damage to railroad property and the environment.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Probing Report Leak

Last week the New York Post had a disturbing story about Chief Engineer Nicholas Jezina who was found by a MTA investigation to be running a mob style workplace at the Coney Island boiler room facility.

Fast forward to this week where the MTA is investigating how the confidential report about Mr. Jezina leaked. Rich Calder of the New York Post has more:

The MTA is investigating the leak of a confidential report that identified whistle-blowers who complained of “mob-style” bullying by an out-of-control supervisor.

As The Post reported last week, Coney Island Rail Yard boiler-room workers who came forward about Chief Engineer Nicholas Jezina claim they’re being shunned by co-workers and fear for their safety, because Jezina and other peers know they spoke up.

Jezina was transferred to an agency facility in The Bronx last year and bumped down in title to a stationary engineer, with a pay cut from $55 hourly to $49, after an MTA probe found that he routinely ordered subordinates to leave work to go buy him cigarettes and lunch, and verbally abused workers with curse words and derogatory remarks.

All military “are baby killers,” he told one veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, the report found.

Click here for the complete report.

For starters the alleged actions of Mr. Jezina should have led to his firing, not a minor pay & title demotion. Secondly the source of this leak needs to be exposed as all it will do is prevent future whistleblowers from coming forward when they should which actually is the biggest issue here.

Hopefully this investigation is not a dog & pony show like the demotion was & the proper measures are put in place to prevent this from happening again.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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State Senator Wants MTA To Review R Line

The R Train train is one of the most unpopular lines in the entire system. According to long time riders, the line has deservedly earned its nickname of “Rarely” in terms of showing up on time or if at all.

However riders are not the only ones to complain as a plethora of elected officials including State Senator Daniel Squadron have called for the MTA to do a full line review. Paula Katinas of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle has more:

The R train is desperately in need of improvements, according to state Sen. Daniel Squadron, who is among several elected officials pushing the MTA to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the subway line.

Squadron, Councilmember Vincent Gentile, the Riders Alliance, the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and 41 other elected officials called for the MTA’s next Full Line Review to study the R train.

In 2009, Squadron worked with the MTA to create Full Line Reviews of subway lines in which the agency takes a close look at train service over a period of months to see if improvements are needed.

The Full Line Reviews, which have been done for the A, C, F, G and L trains, have led to more frequent and on-time trains, newer and cleaner subway cars, and other cost-effective service improvements along the subway lines, Squadron said.

Not only are Squadron, Gentile and transit advocates seeking a Full Line Review of the R train, they are also looking for the inspection of the subway line to go faster than previous reviews of other train lines.

“This Full Line Review can’t be as delayed as an R train commute,” said Squadron (D-Brooklyn-Manhattan). “I hope the MTA pursues this Full Line Review, and quickly offers results and improvements.”

In a Jan. 11 letter to MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast, Squadron, Gentile and their fellow lawmakers urged a speedy review process.

“We also request that this review be conducted in a timely manner. The almost 18 months that it took to complete the A/C Full Line Review is, simply, too slow. Riders cannot be expected to wait that long for service assessments and improvements,” the letter reads in part.

Click here for the complete report.

A review of this line is long overdue. I have been hearing complaints about this line for well over a decade. I personally have experienced my fair share of failures riding it while spending time in Bay Ridge in the past. Honestly I do everything possible to avoid the line as it is unreliable especially during rush hour.

Hopefully the agency finally does something to bring the service on this line up to par as it is long overdue!

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Service Diversions 01-15-16

I have just updated the Service Diversions for this weekend & through the end of next week.

Make sure to follow @TransitBlogger on Twitter as I am using it more often. Also if you are into indie music make sure to follow @IndMusicReview & @SurgeFM!

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NYCT Announces 2016 1st Q FASTRACK Schedule

MTA NYC Transit has announced the FASTRACK schedule for the first quarter of 2016. Here are the details via the official press release:

MTA New York City Transit’s FASTRACK program is returning in January 2016. For the first time, this comprehensive subway maintenance program is coming to the 2 line in Brooklyn for two consecutive weeks. Beginning Tuesday, January 19, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., for four consecutive weeknights, and from Monday, January 25, to early morning Friday, January 29, 2 trains are suspended in both directions between Franklin Av and Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College. 3 service will end earlier than usual each night in Brooklyn. Take 2 or 4 trains instead. 2 service will operate between Wakefield-241 St and the Crown Hts-Utica Av 4 station in Brooklyn. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service.

Travel alternatives:

• For service between Franklin Av and Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College, take free shuttle buses. Transfer between free shuttle buses and 23 trains at the Franklin Av station.

• 2 trains make all 3 line station stops between Chambers St and Crown Hts-Utica Av.

• 4 trains make all 3 line station stops between Nevins St and New Lots Av. 4 train service to New Lots Av will begin earlier than usual each night.

• Transfer between 2 and 4 trains at Crown Hts-Utica Av.

• Consider using Q trains to/from nearby stations in Flatbush.

FASTRACK has been designed around the careful determination that there is adequate alternate means of transportation, including enhanced services along some bus lines during work periods. Alternative transportation options will be detailed in announcements and posters on trains, in stations and on selected buses; brochures will be available in both English and Spanish. Information on this FASTRACK is available on the web at http://web.mta.info/nyct/service/fastrack_2.htm

Wynton Habersham, Acting Senior Vice President for the Department of Subways said “FASTRACK has proven to have a significant impact on decreasing delays – both in terms of consolidating maintenance forces in a concentrated area and in terms of proactive maintenance that improves service delivery.”

FASTRACK was introduced in January 2012, devoting four straight weeknights to perform maintenance work in tunnels, stations and on tracks, completely suspending service within a given line segment for a seven-hour period between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.. This gives free access to the system, allowing an army of maintenance workers to perform dozens of tasks repairing and replacing components that are vital to providing safe and reliable train service without the concern of having to “clear up” to allow trains to pass. FASTRACK efforts have been highly successful in providing a safer work environment for employees and improved station conditions for customers.

During the first quarter of 2016, FASTRACK projects are scheduled for:

• January 19 to 22, and January 25 to 29 on the 2 Line. No 2 trains between Franklin Av and Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College in both directions.

• February 16 to 19, and February 22 to 26 on the 456 Lines. No 456 trains between Grand Central-42 St and Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr in both directions.

• March 7 to 11, and March 14 to 18 on the BDFM Lines. BDFM trains will not stop at 14 St, 23 St, 34 St, 42 St, 47-50 Sts, and 57 St. D and F trains will be rerouted on the A line.

• March 28 to April 1, and April 4 to 8 on the 1 Line. No 1 trains between 96 St and Dyckman St.

• April 11 to 15, and April 25 to 29 on the 23 Lines. No 2 trains between 3 Av-149 St and 96 St. 3 service is suspended.

The most up-to-date information on MTA service status is always available at http://www.mta.info. For immediate notice of service changes, sign up for email or text alerts at www.mymtaalerts.com. For weekend subway service changes, visit www.mta.info/weekender.

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