Reading Train Engineer Suspended

Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 1:36pm

New York MTA investigating after train passenger shot video of engineer reading a newspaper while at the controls.

A New York engineer has been captured on video appearing distracted and engrossed in a newspaper while operating a rush hour train.

Officials said Thursday that the engineer, an agency employee since 1988 and an engineer since 2001, has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

The MTA declined to release his name.

The video was brought to Metro-North's attention by NBC News after a viewer contacted WNBC expressing concerns about the train engineer.

"He only looked up when the bells went off," John Bingham said, referring to the sounds that signal when the train was approaching a station. "That made me nervous. What if one of the bells didn't go off and something happened with the train?"

Bingham said he boarded the 8:34 a.m. Grand Central-bound train at Wakefield on Wednesday when he noticed the engineer reading a newspaper "cover to cover."

The Yonkers resident has been commuting into Manhattan for two years and says he's concerned about engineers being distracted in light of exposed terror plots targeting commuter trains and of past train derailments attributed to distracted engineers.

He said he planned to file a complaint with Metro-North.

The MTA said in a statement that "reading anything, texting or using cell phones while operating a train is obviously not acceptable. Metro-North will take action to ensure this does not happen again."

Metro-North said it planned to reinstruct its train crews on Thursday that the behavior would not be tolerated.

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