A Word About Your Service... (no not mine, MNRR)

Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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Jeff Smith
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A Word About Your Service... (no not mine, MNRR)

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:15 pm

I thought you'd all would want to look at this:

http://web.mta.info/mnr/html/a_word_abo ... ervice.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Full text (press release public agency):

Many of you have recently asked about the consistency of the service we have been providing, and with good reason.

Trains that once arrived like clockwork now arrive late. This poor reliability has taken its toll on your commute and we want to answer your questions and explain what is going on.

Since the New Haven Line derailment in May of 2013, we have been engaged in an extensive system-wide review of existing safety and operating practices and have aggressively addressed a number of areas.

We have used state-of-the-art technology to perform a complete and comprehensive assessment of our track on all three lines. With this information, we have developed prioritized maintenance programs, keeping our right-of-way safe and in a state of good repair.

The most recent-and wide-reaching-example of this effort is the Bronx Right-of-Way Improvement Project between Woodlawn and Melrose. This work reduced track capacity by up to 50% in this critical six-mile section, slowing everyone's travel time.

While that project is now finished, we continue to rebuild our right-of-way in other locations in order to eliminate speed restrictions placed in certain areas. These speed restrictions are based upon track conditions that have been identified and are in need of repair.

This intensive focus on track is critical to the safe and reliable operation of the railroad, improving the condition of our infrastructure and preventing its future deterioration.

But it also impacts our ability to provide a reliable, on-time commute. A single train delayed by even a minute can create cascading delays across the entire network due to tracks being taken out of service.

On the New Haven Line, where the reliability needs the most improvement, ongoing critical infrastructure work continues to affect our ability to operate trains on the busiest rail line in the United States.

The current phase of the Connecticut Department of Transportation's project to replace the overhead catenary wire between Southport and Bridgeport now continues until May.

As a result we have less flexibility and capacity to operate trains as two of the four tracks in this 7-mile area remain out of service and temporary speed restrictions on the two tracks available in that area continue.

At Norwalk (WALK) Bridge, a four-track 100-plus-year-old swing bridge, speed restrictions have remained in place since last summer for ongoing repairs.

Following the December 1 derailment, Metro-North has taken a number of additional steps to enhance the safety of the railroad. These have led to certain speed restrictions and specific changes to our operating practices at five critical curves on all three lines, and the five movable bridges on the New Haven Line. In addition, we have reduced speed limits at 33 locations in our services both East and West of the Hudson River, in order to eliminate all areas where the speed limit drops by more than 20 miles per hour.

Finally, the most obvious factor impacting your service is a recurring one: the season. Winter weather has historically affected your commute, with cold temperatures and snow hampering our ability to provide you with consistent regular service.

This winter has been especially harsh, with sub-zero temperatures, snow and ice affecting signals and switches on all three lines. And on the New Haven Line, the 100-year-old catenary and five moveable bridges are highly susceptible to the effects of the winter weather.

Freezing temperatures can also affect our "cars" much like they affect your cars. On our older equipment, powdery snow can blow into traction motors, which turn the train car's wheels, and the moisture can cause them to short out.

Moisture from powdery snow and ice can also freeze in brake lines, air compressors and door mechanisms, causing them to malfunction. Unlike one of your cars, when one of our cars is out of service, it affects you and 100 or so of your fellow commuters.

And while we work to get our train cars back "on the road" as soon as possible, your train may have fewer cars - and therefore, fewer seats - creating more crowded conditions than usual.

You have told us how much you value reliable train schedules. And we will continue to work to develop a new schedule for the spring that provides you a safe, reliable service.

The new schedule will be based on an analysis of current operating conditions as well as taking into account the current status of key projects that are affecting your commute, such as: additional remediation of track areas with speed restrictions on all three lines; the catenary rehabilitation project between Southport and Bridgeport, and new bridge timbers on Walk Bridge.

We appreciate your patience as we deal with this series of significant challenges impacting your service.
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator/Co-Owner

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Re: A Word About Your Service... (no not mine, MNRR)

Post by MACTRAXX » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:59 pm

JS: This is a good overview message describing the problems that MNCR is currently dealing with - a must-read for all riders...


Noel Weaver
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Re: A Word About Your Service... (no not mine, MNRR)

Post by Noel Weaver » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:04 am

All the money in the world is not going to correct everything here. There is just too many issues for money alone. A drastic change in issues like fatigue, employees doing something that they should not be doing and not tending to the job at hand which is running a railroad. Joe Guilietti is a good start but they need many more career operating people supervising operating personnel from top to bottom. Anyone who is supervising conductors and engineers needs to come from the ranks of conductors or engineers and not from the street, college or someplace out of the sky. They need to promote based on ability and not on politics or simply put not what is politically correct because that is not going to work at least in the long run. They need to treat their employees with utmost respect but at the same time demand professional conduct at all times while on duty and especially when dealing with the public. I don't see any excuse for retaining employees who are devoting their attentions to something other than the job at hand like what happened in Fairfield, Connecticut not long ago. This was not fatigue but deliberate and should be dealt with as such. On the other hand if one of the veteran conductors or engineers goes to a supervisor with an issue they should be listening to him or her, after all most employees and especially the older ones simply want to do a good job and when they finish a safe day go home. I think the FEDS are on their backs right now and that is as it should be but after this eases off as it will sometime down the road the operating people still need to do their jobs as if they were over their shoulders. Finally it is a good practice to be pleasent and friendly to all passengers and to the public in general BUT do not tell them anything that they should not know, NOTHING. Don't disclose any operating practices, rules, speeds, ticket collecting or anything else they they do not need to know and should not know. One former Penn Central President said to the effect that if you want a railroad you can be proud of then do a job that you can be proud of. William Moore who came from the Southern in the early to mid 70's, I have forgotten the date.
Noel Weaver

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Re: A Word About Your Service... (no not mine, MNRR)

Post by Trainer » Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:24 pm

What Mr. Weaver said.

The list of reasons reminds me of a conversation I overheard on the Danbury branch a couple months ago between a conductor and a passenger. The passenger was traveling between Bethel and New York City and did not have a ticket or train fare. The conductor listened respectfully to all the reasons why the passenger did not have a ticket, and they seemed like sympathetic reasons to me about his lack of employment, but at the end told him that he must get off at the next stop if he was unable to produce train fare.

More information is always good, and the public should know why service is what it is. But even after reading the entire list - some of which was unavoidable, but some of which could have been planned for, avoided, or worked around, but was not - it still may be the public's turn to tell MNCR where to get off. The railroad has a lot of work to do in order to restore public credibility and has cancelled the few opportunities it has had to maintain a positive proactive image in the name of more efficient operations, which have not been efficient at all from the public viewpoint. Otherwise, reasons start sounding like excuses and the '"don't question it because we know more about the railroad than you do" argument against public concerns sounds pretty damned hollow after a while.

What would the conductor do?

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Re: A Word About Your Service... (no not mine, MNRR)

Post by EM2000 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:00 am

'"don't question it because we know more about the railroad than you do"
This statement could not be more true and correct.

Bright Star
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Re: A Word About Your Service... (no not mine, MNRR)

Post by Bright Star » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:00 am

I notice the VP OPS came from the Mechanical Dept. Absurd !!!

Bright Star

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