NJ Transit faces fine over slow work to install new braking system
NEWARK — NJ Transit is in trouble with the Federal Railroad Administration for not having a plan to have Positive Train Control braking system installed by a 2018 deadline.
It's among 15 violations NJ Transit was cited for following an audit conducted last April, according to an internal document obtained by NJ.com. PTR equipment is supposed to be operational by December 2018.
“FRA has proposed a civil penalty for New Jersey Transit’s alleged violation of the Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015. However, we do not comment on pending or possible violations until the case is adjudicated,” FRA spokesman Marc Willis told New Jersey 101.5 in an email.
Another violation cited in the NJ.com report was for conductors using their cell phones while on the job.
After Thursday's NJ Transit board meeting Executive Director Steve Santoro said that he was unaware of the other violations.
"We had submitted a revised plan but the violation, it’s not a violation yet, it’s a notice of violation equivalent, was such that, our plan that we had submitted back in late ’15 or early ’16 which relates to the schedule of delivery of the PTC. That plan was reviewed by the FRA and we weren’t meeting those particular dates. Subsequent to that notice, we were developing a revised plan as that notice was being provided to us, to modify our schedule, and that schedule is consistent with our subsequent negotiations for a re-baselining of schedule, as I mentioned last year," Santoro said.
NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder in a statement said the FRA had "conditionally approved" the railroad's updated PTR plan.
According to the FRA's PTR implementation report for the first quarter, just 10 of 124 towers had been installed by NJ Transit with no equipment installed on its locomotives and track segments and no employees trained.
By comparison, Metro North has installed equipment on 74 of 531 locomotives, five of 104 towers and trained 1,864 employees. PATH has trained all employees and has equipment installed on nearly all locomotives but none on the tracks.
SEPTA has completed the project.
The Pascack Valley line train entered Hoboken Terminal on Track 5 at least 10 mph faster than the posted speed limit and crashed into the platform, killing 34-year-old Fabiola Bittar de Kroon.
The family blames NJ Transit for not having installed PTR.
The nation’s railroads were granted an extension by President Obama in December to install PTC systems by the end of 2018.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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