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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Connex should fire two GMs because of engineer's 'unacceptable behaviors,' Metrolink says


Metrolink is calling on Connex Railroad L.L.C. — which operates and manages the agency's commuter-rail service — to fire two of its top managers, both of whom served as supervisors to the engineer who caused the deadly Sept. 12, 2008, train collision in Chatsworth, Calif.

The engineer's unauthorized text messaging, ride alongs and "other unacceptable behaviors" are cause for firing Connex Railroad General Manager Tom McDonald and Assistant General Manager Gregg Konstanzer from service on the Metrolink system, the agency said.

"Metrolink only learned this week, when the NTSB first publicly released the information and during testimony by Connex representatives ... that [the engineer] allowed unauthorized riders with whom he had been text messaging to ride in the cab and operate the locomotive in his presence while under power," Metrolink Chief Executive Officer David Solow said in a letter to Connex Executive Vice President Ron Hartman.

Under its contract with Connex, Metrolink has the right to request the removal of any Connex personnel providing service to Metrolink. Connex is obligated to replace them with other employees subject to the approval of Metrolink management. Metrolink also will place a representative on the panel Connex forms to interview candidates for the vacated positions, according to the agency.