• Express poll asks if John Catoe should be fired

  • Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.
Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

Moderators: mtuandrew, therock, Robert Paniagua

  by NellieBly
Look, I lived through a similar era at the New York City Transit Authority in the early 1980s, and I can tell you the issue is never really money. Rather, it's management. The NYCTA went from funding crisis to funding crisis from the mid-1970s on, and when I went up to interview for the job I actually got, I rode the N train in from LGA and thought we were "on the ground" three separate times. I was told, "All the trains ride like that. Don't worry about it!" There was no training, no track standards manual, no regular track inspection...the list goes on. All the experienced guys with "their papers in their pockets" had retired, and the board had cut out training programs for their replacements.

Sure we needed money, but we also needed enough technical competence to justify to the MTA Board what we needed the money for. You know, it just doesn't work when you say, "Give me 500 more trackworkers, and I'll figure out what to do with them." We built an entire first-year track rehab program, tables of organization for the gangs we needed, defined the required staffing by job title, made up a list of materials, and took the whole thing to the Board. I worked the entire Thanksgiving weekend putting that thing together (I had lots of help). We got $350 million for an in-house track rehab program, and the rest is history.

I watched the CTA go through a similar period in the late 1990s. Suddenly they seem to have rediscovered the concept of track rehabilitation.

Catoe's people need to realize they must do something similar. Patches and band-aids are just not enough. I could show Catoe how it's done, but I'm 57 years old and I don't want to work that hard.
  by realtype
NellieBly wrote:...the issue is never really money. Rather, it's management.
Exactly. Catoe has been complaining about the lack of funds, but many of these things don't have anything to do with money. I mean nonsense like running all the trains to the end of the platform. How long are they gonna keep that up? I ride the Red and Green Lines so I don't see 4-car trains, but I can imgine how ridiculous it looks for a 4 car train to pull all the way to the end of the platform during off-peak on the Yellow and other lines.
  by SchuminWeb
realtype wrote:Come to think of it, I can't think of a single positive thing that Catoe has done for the Metro system, besides the 8-car trains (which started testing in Dan's era). The removal of carpet, the ugly platform lights, the "lean pads," the stopping at the end of the platform, the fatal accidents, suicides, failure to warn people of major closures, the annoying door chimes, a dumb idea of operating 4-car off-peak trains in the winter, and the extreme raise in rail fares (with none for bus) are just a few ways Catoe has screwed up Metro. Yeah, Metro has money problems, but it also has management problems.
The current door chimes were Dick White's idea, and the change was completed during Tangherlini's first few months. It was all said and done (aside from a few pairs here and there) well before Catoe came on board.

I also can't fault Catoe for suicides. I've always said that the truly determined person will find a way to do themselves in regardless of what kinds of barriers or deterrents people put up. It's unfortunate, but the person who is truly determined to become track pizza will do it regardless.