NY Train Operator Caught On Video Reading, Gets Suspended
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 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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