NY Train Operator Caught On Video Reading, Gets Suspended

It's clear that sleeping on the job is a no-no. But reading on the job can be equally problematic -- if you're in charge of a fast-moving train. With a couple hundred passengers onboard.

A 50-year-old engineer with the Metro-North transit line in New York City was allegedly caught reading a copy of the New York Post while he was supposed to be monitoring the rail line to ensure that the track was clear, according to the newspaper. A rail passenger, John Bingham, used his cellphone to take amateur video of the engineer purportedly goofing off, then posted the two-minute video on YouTube. The engineer was promptly suspended without pay -- until an investigation is completed -- from his job with Metro-North, which is operated by New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority,

"The guy driving the train is reading a newspaper, not even looking up," Bingham could be heard saying on his YouTube video.

According to the Post, John Cooper, an MTA employee since 1988 and head train engineer with a $103,976 salary in 2010, was the person featured in the video taken Thursday morning, as the train arrived at Manhattan's Grand Central Station. But the engineer's identity was not confirmed by the MTA.

When reached by AOL Jobs, the person answering Bingham's phone in Yonkers, N.Y., had no comment.

In a statement to the media, the MTA said "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."

Meanwhile, other train engineers have apparently taken measures to protect themselves from similar embarrassment. Windows on the rail lines that look into the engineers' quarters were papered over, according to reporting by New York TV station NBC 4.

The MTA said there is no rule that "either prohibits or encourages train crew members from papering over or otherwise obscuring interior cab windows."

View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.


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Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

Associate Editor

Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

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Paula

$103,976.00!!! Are you kidding me?!!!

June 16 2012 at 1:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ngrtony

How many lives were lost because he was reading the paper between signals? None!! These remarks just show the blatant ignorance of people when it comes to knowledge of how railroads operate. Maybe they need to put a camera on EVERYBODY to see what they do at work and see how it pans out.

June 12 2012 at 11:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
most omnipotent

100K a year? I promise I will watch the rail if hired!

June 12 2012 at 6:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve

Wow. Another overpaid and underworked government-type worker. Paid over 100K per year to...read a paper? Plus NOT protecting the train or any of the passengers. Any worker doing that in private industry would not be suspended with pay...Probably fired, though possibly sent for remedial training at their own expense. Where is the accountability? Why did it take a passenger to catch this behavior? His manager(s) should be fired for sure.

June 12 2012 at 4:12 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Steve's comment
dknowles60

ditto

June 19 2012 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BROKEN6STRING

Metro North trains pretty much drive themselves. If the train is speeding or runs a signal brakes are auto applied & the train goes into emergency stop beyond the operators control. It may have also been an engineers train timetable or the DTOBO (Daily Train Operating Bulletin Orders) that denotes other than normal conditions on the track such as repairs/construction/hazzards that the engineer is allowed to have in view while operating the train. Don't be so quick to judge because some idiot decides to video someone.

June 12 2012 at 2:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
genrommfox

Go Kings

June 12 2012 at 2:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dytimmys

Just another A-Hole kid with a video phone stirring the pot

June 12 2012 at 2:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dytimmys

Just another A-Hole kid with a video phone stirring the pot

June 12 2012 at 2:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Newquest

So, it's OK to endanger passengers if you can't see it? I think anyone who covered their window is admitting that they are doing something they are not supposed to do, and should be FIRED! A few years ago we had a metrolink train with an engineer who was texting and he missed a red light and smashed into another train. I heard it was a horrible mess, dead bodies everwhere and not enough people to help rescue them. This was in Chatsworth, CA. I saw film of it on TV and it was really bad, with all those bodies. All because the conductor was texting some girls! I say NO covering the windows and anyone who violates the rules is fired. Too many lives at risk.

June 12 2012 at 1:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Newquest's comment
wonderductor

that was a suicide....the engineer texted his friends and lover goodbye...

June 12 2012 at 2:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wayne McGlothlin

Perhaps if the union negotiated a higher salary...like maybe $200K it'd be worth him paying attention?

June 12 2012 at 1:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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