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GOVERNOR MURPHY ANNOUNCES NJ TRANSIT’S COMPLETION OF FULL LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEER ROSTER

Increased Ranks of Locomotive Engineers is Critical for Improving Reliability and Service for Rail Customers; NJ TRANSIT Has Added More Than 100 New Locomotive Engineers to its Roster Since Governor Murphy Took Office

April 22, 2021

ISELIN – Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, and NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett today recognized the result of years of dedication to restoring the ranks of NJ TRANSIT’s locomotive engineers to a full roster. NJ TRANSIT’s latest Locomotive Engineer Training Class is in the final stages of their field training and will begin their final check rides in the next few weeks. With this class, NJ TRANSIT has fulfilled its commitment to improving reliability for rail customers by adding more than 100 new locomotive engineers to its roster since Governor Murphy took office in 2018. The Murphy Administration has focused on hiring locomotive engineers and filling NJ TRANSIT’s roster following many years of neglect and underfunding under the previous administration.

“When I took office, NJ TRANSIT was depleted of funding, expertise, and employee morale,” said Governor Murphy. “Our administration immediately set about aggressively recruiting, training, and hiring locomotive engineers for NJ TRANSIT. After nine classes of engineers, we are finally at a full roster of engineers, who will serve New Jersey commuters and provide them with the reliable service that they deserve. This is a moment that we have been working toward for years, and one that I am immensely proud of.”

“When Governor Murphy took office, this administration made a commitment to improve customer service and the reliability of NJ TRANSIT,” NJDOT Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said.  “The addition of more than 100 well-trained locomotive engineers to the NJ Transit team since 2018 is delivering on that promise.”

“Three years ago, Governor Murphy set us out on an ambitious mission to fully restore the ranks of NJ TRANSIT’s locomotive engineers, which had been severely depleted during the previous decade,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “Today marks the culmination of a herculean effort that included record-setting recruiting, training, and hiring of these critical team members. Ultimately, this translates to a better customer experience by delivering more reliable and predictable rail service for our customers.”

“I would like to offer my sincerest congratulations to New Jersey Transit’s newest graduating class of engineers,” said Senator Patrick Diegnan, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “Our train engineers work hard each day to ensure that millions of New Jerseyans are making it safely to and from work. This new class holds 390 of our state’s newest operators and the hard work they have put in to get to this point is an admirable feat. Congratulations to all the graduates and I wish them all the brightest futures.”

“Congratulations to the graduating class of NJ TRANSIT engineers. Every single graduate should be proud of their hard work and dedication to make it here today, and can rest assured that their work as locomotive engineers will benefit countless commuters throughout our state,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “Now that we have a full roster of engineers, residents will be able to count on more reliable train schedules going forward. Congratulations to Governor Murphy and NJ TRANSIT leadership for meeting this milestone.”

"NJ TRANSIT's future sustainability depends on retaining a healthy roster of qualified engineers, who have the enormous responsibility of keeping our trains running on time and ensuring riders' safety," said Assemblyman Daniel Benson, chair of the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. "This graduating class has the potential to usher in a new era of NJ TRANSIT. As we begin to plan our state's future post-pandemic, it's my hope that riders will return to a public transit system that's more dependable and equitable."

"A full roster of locomotive engineers is critical to ensuring that public transportation in New Jersey is reliable and accessible," said Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez. "With highly trained, fully-equipped engineers at the ready - and continuing classes of new recruits in the pipeline - the days of canceled trains and lengthy delays will soon be a distant memory. While there's still work to be done, NJTRANSIT has made undeniable progress in addressing staffing issues at the core of its operating challenges."

“Today is a big day for NJ TRANSIT, with this ceremony adding enough new graduates to reach a full roster of 390 train engineers,” said Assemblyman John McKeon. “As we begin to come out of this pandemic and ridership once again increases, adequate numbers of engineers will be more important than ever. The hard work of Governor Murphy’s administration and NJ TRANSIT to reach a full roster over the past few years will result in greater dependability for the millions of commuters who rely on New Jersey’s public transportation.” 

"Governor Murphy has invested in NJ TRANSIT since day 1 and has always worked collaboratively with us to rebuild the agency after many years of neglect," said Jerome Johnson, General Chairman of SMART-TD Local 60. "Today's milestone is a significant accomplishment that we can all be proud of."

This class of nine (9) engineer trainees completed a rigorous 78-week long program and passed extensive testing, including a final exam of more than 800 questions. Their graduation will bring the total number of new engineers that have joined NJ TRANSIT since 2018 to 103 and brings the total active roster of engineers to 393. Since 2018 when Governor Murphy took office, NJ TRANSIT has graduated nine classes of locomotive engineers – more graduations than the previous five years combined.

The next locomotive engineer training class is set to graduate in June of 2021.