Train Engineer Suspended After Video Shows Him Reading Newspaper

A viewer contacted NBC 4 New York with concerns about the distracted operator

A Metro-North train engineer has been captured on video appearing distracted and engrossed in a newspaper while operating a rush hour train.

Officials said Thursday that the engineer, an agency employee since 1988 and an engineer since 2001, has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation. The MTA declined to release his name.

The video was brought to Metro-North's attention by NBC 4 New York after a viewer 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 on Wednesday when he noticed the engineer reading a newspaper "cover to cover."

The Yonkers resident has been commuting into Manhattan for two years and says 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.

He said he planned to file a complaint with Metro-North.

The MTA said in a statement 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 on Thursday that the behavior would not be tolerated.

Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Get our apps here and sign up for email newsletters here. Get breaking news delivered right to your phone -- just text NYBREAKING to 639710. For more info, text HELP. To end, text STOP. Message and data rates may apply.

Contact Us