NJ Transit Rail Safety Violations Raise Alarm
Engineers with decades of experience on the rails in New Jersey say they cannot recall a similar flurry in the number of stop signal violations. In all of 2003, there were nine violations, Hackett said.NJ Transits response to this safety problem - retrain the engineers - strikes us as a CYA move. We’re quite sure all train engineers are well aware of the need to stop at red signals and the potential consequences for failing to do so. So now we have supervisors riding in engine cabs to make sure the engineers obey safety regulations and signals. Next they’ll have to reinstitute the “fireman” job on trains as official engineer watchers.
After conferring with Amtrak, NJ Transit on March 22 began putting all engineers through special training on safety policies. Rail supervisors have been riding along with engineers in their cab cars to oversee their work and emphasize proper safety procedures, Hackett said. Within the next 30 days, every engineer at NJ Transit will undergo the hands-on retraining on the stop signals, she said.
Perhaps a change in NJ transit’s employee discipline policy would be more effective – run a stop signal and you’re subject to immediate termination of employment. That’s a signal that ought to get the engineer’s attention.