Gov. Phil Murphy and NJ TRANSIT President and CEO Kevin Corbett recently recognized NJ TRANSIT’s latest locomotive engineer training class for completing their formal training.
This unique pilot class consisted of assistant conductors training to become locomotive engineers by leveraging their knowledge of the railroad. The class of 11 trainees will be graduating in the upcoming weeks after they complete the final requirements and certifications necessary to become locomotive engineers with NJ TRANSIT.
The recognition and upcoming graduation are important since, NJ TRANSIT currently has some 335 engineers, but needs some 400, based on a recent New Jersey Business magazine interview with NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Kevin Corbett.
In addition to rebuilding the engineering ranks at the agency, the Administration also announced a $500 million bond, issued by the EDA through a public market transaction, to fund the agency’s purchase of 600 new buses and 17 new locomotives. Replacing the aging buses and locomotives, some of which are more than 50 years old, will lower the average age of the fleet, resulting in less frequent breakdowns and failures across the system.
“Over the course of the last decade, NJ TRANSIT lost many of the employees that previously made it a national leader in commuter rail,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “With the eleven future engineers we are celebrating, as well as the additional investments in the system we are announcing today, we are well on our way to the resurgence of NJ TRANSIT and providing a mass-transit system our riders can be proud of.”
“The continued addition of well-trained locomotive engineers to the NJ TRANSIT team and funding to replace an aging fleet are integral parts of New Jersey Transit’s efforts to improve the customer service experience,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “We are committed to increasing the number of technical professionals available to provide service to our customers each day, as well as providing the world class equipment needed to keep our customers moving.”
“Today, we celebrate yet another class of soon-to-be locomotive engineers who have successfully completed the on-the-job portion of our training program,” said Corbett. “This is a very special class. Working collaboratively with the Federal Railroad Administration, we used an innovative approach to the training schedule – while still meeting the curriculum’s rigorous requirements. For our customers, this means more locomotive engineers on the job as soon as possible. This, along with our $500-million funding initiative with the NJ EDA to continue modernizing our fleet, will result in fewer train cancellations, more reliable bus service and a better customer experience. I want to thank Governor Murphy for his commitment to train and hire more locomotive engineers than ever before in NJ TRANSIT’s history, and FRA Administrator Ronald Batory and his team for helping us implement this innovative new training approach.”
The completion of this class will help fulfill the agency’s continued commitment to hiring and training more locomotive engineers. This graduating class will bring the total number of new engineers that have joined NJ TRANSIT since the beginning of 2018 to 30. The next engineer training class is set to graduate in late January.
This pilot class is the third class of trainees this year to complete the formal classroom instruction and pass extensive testing, including a final exam of nearly 800 questions. The soon-to-be graduates are near the end of the final stage of their training after beginning on October 15, 2018.
NJ TRANSIT has increased the number of engineer training classes to a record-setting eight classes running concurrently. That brings the total number of engineer trainees enrolled in the program to more than one hundred. The newest class of locomotive engineer trainees started on October 9, 2019.
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