A photo-op that almost went really awry


Above is Richard Blumenthal, a current U.S. Senator for Connecticut and, at the time, our state’s attorney general. He gained a reputation for being very vocal and fighting on behalf of our residents, although some questioned his tactics. He showed up at a fundraiser I was co-chairing a few years back as he was running for his current seat. Continue reading

New York City ain’t getting any younger


New York City’s charm is in part forged by its history, and some of the older elements that march on with time.  However, there’s a flip side to aging infrastructure, and that is that things are still in place long after their intended life, and have an increasing proclivity to breakdown or otherwise have problems. Continue reading

Safety culture lacking at Metro-North, report finds


After December’s derailment, the FRA promised a thorough investigation into Metro North to determine what problems existed at the agency and what should be done to fix it. In the intervening months, things haven’t particularly improved, as my previous posts have noted. The report came out, and it’s pretty damning. Continue reading

New leadership at Metro-North; I’m hopeful

M8 train in Stamford

After what’s been a painful year at Metro-North, new leadership stepped in a few weeks ago, and he’s already begun making the rounds, promising improvement and change.  Joseph Giulietti worked for Metro-North during its early days, helping to stabilize and improve a railroad that was neglected in many ways by its previous ownership, and helped turn it into a stronger commuter railroad. Now, after an extended absence, he’s back to try to do it again in some ways. Continue reading

Former rail committee chair forms Commuter Action Group


Since the derailment last year in Bridgeport, commuters have become increasingly restless; to many, the ongoing problems, late trains, and seeming lack of communication about these and other issues are making commuters, who spend hundreds of dollars a month on commuter passes, restless about the quality of the service they’re receiving. Continue reading

Penn Central bankruptcy shows it could always be worse


During Thursday’s Metro-North shutdown, many people on Twitter started railing (for lack of a better term) into the organization for its ongoing troubles over the past few months. The hyperbolic language some took to using on Twitter led some rail enthusiasts to point out that, while troublesome, Metro-North’s recent woes are barely a blip compared to some rail’s worst moments. Continue reading

The day that Metro-North died


Commuting has been an experience from the get-go.  I very much love my train rides overall; they’re generally quiet, uneventful, relaxing (who wants to drive in that traffic?) and I use the time for myself: To read, solve a few logic puzzles, or, best of all, nap.  Of course, when things go wrong, it’s usually pretty bad, and last night was a doozy. Continue reading

Thoughts on Metro-North’s latest problems

metro-north-waitPassengers await an “extra” Metro-North train as it pulls up to a crowded platform in Stamford this morning.

Wednesday morning, Metro-North had its latest problem strike when a feeder line powering a portion of the lower New Haven Line fail, eliminating all electric service into Grand Central Terminal. The resulting changes that have followed have been limited, challenging and at times frustrating.  Yet it also shows an agency that manages to work through yet another emergency with some pretty skillful and creative strategies. Continue reading

Bad Metro-North reporting, bad handling of follow-up

Having worked at newspapers for a good chunk of my life, I certainly take the business of journalism seriously, and especially the slow and steady march to online journalism (although, having done page production, it makes me a bit sad that layout may go away at some point).

As a technologist, I applaud unique efforts on websites, and as a former copy editor I cringe at bad missteps.  Today, a series of steps led me to a cringe-worthy moment, and a potential ethical issue. Continue reading

Where are all the M8s?

A picture I took of an M8 at Stamford station at a time when I saw them much more often.

Metro-North Railroad is in the middle of replacing its older train cars with a model called the M8, manufactured by Kawasaki. They include such features as pre-recorded audio with station stop announcements (and matching signage), higher headrests one every seat (and easier grips for people to be able to safely move about), and other technology advancements that come with redesigning a train car 40 years after the last major redesign.

The only problem is, I’m having trouble finding them. Continue reading