Train Engineer Caught Reading Paper Quits Metro-North

NBC 4 New York obtained video of the engineer reading while working

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2012  |  Updated 3:42 PM EDT
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A viewer sent in this video of a Metro-North engineer reading a newspaper while operating a train. It happened on a morning rush-hour train to Grand Central Terminal Wednesday, June 6.

NBC New York

A viewer sent in this video of a Metro-North engineer reading a newspaper while operating a train. It happened on a morning rush-hour train to Grand Central Terminal Wednesday, June 6.

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Commuters Stunned Over Distracted Train Engineer Video

The MTA says it has suspended the Metro-North engineer caught on video reading a newspaper while operating a rush-hour train Wednesday. Commuters at Grand Central were stunned as they watched the video, saying he was risking the lives of the train riders. Tracie Strahan reports.
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A Metro-North train engineer captured on video appearing distracted and engrossed in a newspaper while operating a rush hour train has resigned.

The MTA said Tuesday that the engineer, an agency employee since 1988 and an engineer since 2001, quit on Friday.

He had been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation that began after NBC 4 New York obtained video of him reading while operating the train.

A viewer had contacted the station expressing concerns about the train engineer.

"He only looked up when the bells went off," John Bingham told NBC 4 New York, referring to the sounds that signal when the train was approaching a station. "That made me nervous. What if one of the bells didn't go off and something happened with the train?"

Bingham said he boarded the 8:34 a.m. Grand Central-bound train at Wakefield earlier this month when he noticed the engineer reading a newspaper "cover to cover."

The Yonkers resident has been commuting into Manhattan for two years and said he's concerned about engineers being distracted in light of exposed terror plots targeting commuter trains and of past train derailments attributed to distracted engineers.

The MTA said in a statement at the time that "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."

After NBC 4 New York reported the story, Metro-North said it planned to reinstruct its train crews that the behavior would not be tolerated.

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