Whenever you're asking a question about a railroad, any question on any railroad, you're really only asking one question: Who's in charge?
Write down these words on index cards: "non-punitive," "some negative outcome," "just culture," "one team," "black and white," "trust," "honest mistake."
Then take those index cards and put them next to the photos of the 7 derailed cars and 1 derailed locomotive south of MP 11.5 on Metro-North's Hudson Line.
Put "non-punitive" next to the locomotive, put "some negative outcome" next to the cab car, put "just culture" put "one team" put "black and white" put "trust" put "honest mistake" next to the other cars in the train consist. Then pick up all those cards, tear them into pieces and scatter them into the air to fall where they may.
The pieces of the cards come down, and you've got a mess on your hands........but nothing like the mess that Metro-North has on its hands south of MP 11.5 on the Hudson when a train that was supposed to have decelerated from a MAS of 70 mph to 30 mph was actually at 82 mph and with power still being requested from the locomotive.
It's pretty clear, so clear that apparently even the locomotive engineer's union representation acknowledges, that this event is the result of human error.
Of course, the employee is a good employee, with a good record. He is a well-trained employee. Metro-North has spent probably upwards of $250,000 qualifying, certifying, and recertifying the employee.
And you know what? It doesn't matter.
The "trust" we share with our employees is that our passengers can trust that this train will get them there safely.
And luck? Not worth the paper it's printed on. Luck kills.
December 3, 2013
Supervision, supervision, and again supervision.