Metro-North Engineer Suspended for Reading on Job

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A Metro-North engineer was suspended without pay when he reported to work Thursday after being video recorded reading a newspaper while operating a train last Wednesday.
A Metro-North engineer was suspended without pay when he reported to work Thursday after being video recorded reading a newspaper while operating a train last Wednesday. Photo Credit: The Daily Voice

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – A Metro-North engineer who was caught on video reading the New York Post while operating a train will remain suspended without pay “until the disciplinary process” is complete, according to a statement from Marjorie Anders, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The engineer, identified in published reports as John Cooper, was recorded on video looking down at the newspaper Wednesday at about 8:30 a.m. while operating a Harlem Line train headed to Grand Central. The disciplinary process could include charges, a hearing, a review and a determination, Anders said.

The 50-year-old engineer, whose crew base is located in North White Plains, was suspended without pay when he arrived for work Thursday, June 7, Anders said. He has been a Metro-North employee since 1988 and an engineer since 2001, she said. Cooper “may be subject to federal civil fine for use of electronic device,” Anders said referring to the Federal Railway Administration, which she said was notified immediately.

“Reading anything, texting or using cellphones while operating a train is totally unacceptable,” Anders said. “Metro-North is taking action to ensure this does not happen again. Every member of every train crew was reinstructed last week that this behavior will not be tolerated.”

“Numerous people have asked us if trains run automatically,” Anders said. “They do not.”

“They require a human at the controls,” Anders said. “But the cab signal system in place in Metro-North territory is designed to overcome human failure and bring the train to a stop if an engineer ignores a signal.”

The organization said safety is its No. 1 priority and “reinstructing each and every crew member about distractions in the cab. This is being done in person by supervisors at all crew bases and will continue throughout the day as crews report at all different times.” A message was also left on the computer “that each crew member logs into when he or she reports for duty.”

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Comments (7)

Angel, the guy is suspended without pay and not fired, and you say the punishment is to harsh?? Should he have been suspended WITH pay? Gimme a break.

angel125 must be a Transport Union official. Instead of caring about the safety of the public he is blaming the whistle blower for the engineer's problem. Speaks volumes

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The person taking the photo should have been reading his/her own newspaper instead of snooping with the camera.I hope someone spies on them and they wont like it. The punishment is to harsh for the engineer! He was probably in a spot where he could do a quick read,it isn't like driving a car where most of you are talking on the phone or texting.Also not acceptable.

Of course! Anybody whose job is to oversee the safety of hundreds of people and millions of dollars in equipment should be free to read a newspaper or text instead of doing their jobs and potentially prevent an accident. Hopefully you are not in charge of any job where your full attention is required? It's OK until a preventable accident kills and irreversibly injures hundreds of people? This is NOT the kind of job where you can leisurely read a newspaper; the rules are there for a reason, but you obviously know better. Sheesh.

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I am sure that this is common and everyone does it. Too bad for the "example", but you have to start somewhere and I hope that they are as vigilante on this in the future and that this was not just an excuse to get rid of someone they had other issues with.