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Letter: Metro-North’s 100-day action plan

By Gail Lavielle (R-143)

NORWALK, Conn. – This week, Metro-North’s new president Joseph Giulietti, delivering on a commitment he made in February, sent Connecticut DOT (Department of Transportation) Commissioner James Redeker the outline of a 100-day action plan to address the railroad’s operational and safety issues.

While the document’s timely delivery reflected an appropriate sense of urgency, the plan is still vague in many respects. As Mr. Giulietti himself wrote in his accompanying letter, it “does not include scope, schedule and budget.”

He noted, however, that completely fleshing out the plan would have to wait for the completion of three external reviews now in progress:

• An MTA blue ribbon panel on safety, comprising national railroad and transportation experts

• A Federal Railroad Administration “Deep Dive” review of safety, operations, and training areas

• Continuing investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of last year’s derailments

According to Mr. Giulietti, the first two of these reviews should be completed soon, while the full NTSB recommendations won’t be available until this fall.

The plan focuses on four areas:

• Promoting a culture of safety, ensuring that safety considerations factor into all decisions, actions, and initiatives

• Adopting concrete safety enhancements to both operations and work practices

• Restoring reliable, high quality service

• Improving communications to keep customers and employees informed about the railroad’s goals, operations, and policies

In the section of the plan that covers service reliability, Mr. Giulietti notes that Metro-North, together with the Connecticut DOT, has formed a technical working group to identify and address the cause of the signal malfunctions on the Danbury Line. Solving this problem is vital for commuters who use the Danbury Line and are experiencing significant delays every day. Many of you have told me that you can no longer plan your daily schedules with any accuracy. And even worse, many of you have also told me that the constant delays have put your jobs at risk.

The 100-day plan and Mr. Giulietti’s accompanying letter are attached below  (a single attachment).

I spoke recently with Mr. Giulietti when he and MTA President Tom Prendergast testified before the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee, and he appears committed to solving Metro-North’s grave problems. I wish him total, and rapid, success. I hope the entire General Assembly will encourage and support the railroad’s improvement. I also hope that, together with the MTA and the DOT, Mr. Giulietti will aim high enough. His letter mentions restoring Metro-North’s service to the levels of a year ago. But Metro-North must do better. While conditions have deteriorated substantially during the past year, the railroad was already being plagued by service disruptions, stranded-car incidents, and delays a year ago. Meanwhile, commuters have been paying steadily more for service that has become steadily worse. The railroad needs more than a fix: it needs a transformation.

I will be watching developments at Metro-North closely and will keep you informed about any updates to the action plan. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you have about this or any other issue.

Regards,

Gail Lavielle

Gail Lavielle represents Wilton and parts of Norwalk and Westport in the state House of Representatives. You can contact her at (800) 842-1423, (860) 240-8700 or [email protected].

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Comments

3 responses to “Letter: Metro-North’s 100-day action plan”

  1. John Hamlin

    The state won’t even replace the nearly half century old trains that still predominate. But the state can spend $600 million on a useless 13 mile bus lane from New Britain to Hartford. Since the state won’t spend any money on Metro North, there’s really no sense in rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. So sad.

  2. Laura Lamorte

    Ms. Lavielle has summed up the seriousness and scope of the Metro-North crisis perfectly, and is quite correct that MN was not delivering adequate and safe service well prior to the two derailments. This is especially true for the New Haven Line, on which I’ve commuted to NYC for 10 years. I recently attended the public speakout in Southport and learned that not only are commuters victims of the systemic failures, but track workers are sometimes subject to unsafe conditions as well. One man showed me photos of an area of open track that was being repaired high above one of the many rivers that the trains cross on the NH line. When he requested safety equipment, he was told not to come to work. The metrics against which the trains are deemed to be “on time” are virtually fraudulent, and the manufacturer of the new M8 cars was contractually allowed an all-too generous buffer for downtime. The situation has become desperate, and needs to be addressed urgently.

  3. spanner

    I’m surprised Duff hasn’t started talking about opening up rt 7 again with two lanes for the busses that now are on a daily run routine to Danbury from S Norwalk instead of fixing whats broke.

    Those busses must give off a lot of fumes next to that housing complex next to the train station,we certainly need our environmental group looking to whats going on at the train station before those residents start opening the windows for some fresh air,The fact they sit there an idle waiting for the trains to come into South Norwalk needs the professionals in Norwalk to take a stand,it must add up to about 4 cruisers per bus I imagine.Tonight all you could smell was Diesel.

    Tonight picking up family at the South Norwalk train station there was 5 busses on the New Haven side sitting there running waiting for the train Casey Jones could of been driving.

    This clean air stuff is starting to make sense if you look around and see whats running and going nowhere,like some of our politicians maybe its time to go green.

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