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MTA Metro-North Railroad Receives Top Awards in Safety and Emergency Management From American Public Transportation Association

Metro-North Railroad
Updated June 22, 2023 3:45 p.m.
APTA Awards

Today MTA Metro-North Railroad announced their acceptance of two awards from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). These awards, named as Gold Awards for the top level award, recognize transit agencies for proactive and innovation safety and security programs. APTA Gold Awards are presented to those organizations who present the best examples of safety, security, and emergency management initiatives. In the Rail Safety category, Metro-North was honored for their contribution in the development of enhanced laser technology used to mitigate low rail adhesion conditions in the fall. Metro-North was awarded the Gold Award in the Rail Emergency Management category for their development of a dual-level high water alarm system to mitigate flooding impacts on the right-of-way. 

“Metro-North’s mission is to be a safe, reliable, and efficient railroad providing regional mobility and excellent service to our customers,” said Metro-North Railroad Senior Vice President of Operations Justin Vonashek. “These projects required hard-work and collaboration throughout our agency, and reflect our pursuit of this mission. We are honored to have our efforts recognized by APTA.”  

Metro-North was selected as a Gold Award winner for Rail Safety for its use of laser technology to remove residue caused by crushed leaves. When fallen leaves are crushed by passing trains, pectate gels combine with iron from the steel in the rails, form a residue that reduces rail-adhesion. This loss in friction creates reduced rail adhesion, which can trigger a train’s emergency brake system and damage wheels. Building on the Long Island Rail Road’s initial work using laser trains to clear slippery debris, Metro-North retrofitted the “Comet III” train making it the first to operate at high speeds, enabling the daily use of lasers to remove residue from their entire system. Since Fall 2022, Metro-North has safely cleaned over 12,000 miles of track with the laser train, resulting in a 40% reduction in slip-slide events and the lowest wheel-true cost season on record. To learn more about expanding this initiative please click here.   

In the Rail Emergency category, Metro-North received the Gold Award for its dual-level high water alarm system used to mitigate flood risks. The real-time alert system notifies the Operations Control Center of flooding conditions, allowing them to notify trains and dispatch personnel. Utilizing this technology enables personnel that previously would have been needed to monitor flooding conditions. Reducing flood condition response time leads to a reduction of service delays and a better experience for our customers.