NEW YORK – Significant improvements in on-time performance continued to elude Metro-North Railroad on the Port Jervis line last year.
Port Jervis trains operated on time 84.2 percent of the time in 2019 versus 86.5 percent in 2018, against a goal of 93 percent for both years.
Morning peak-hour trains fell to 84.5 percent in 2019 from 86.2 percent in 2018 and evening peak-hour times remained virtually unchanged at 87.3 percent against 87 percent in 2018.
Catherine Rinaldi, the railroad's president, told a Metropolitan Transportation Authority oversight committee Monday that the culprit was the ongoing installation of a cab signal system and other infrastructure work on the 66-mile line.
The cab signal system, the line's first upgrade in 40-plus years, is a predicate for installing positive train control before the federal government's Dec. 31 deadline. Both new systems will boost safety.
West-of-Hudson trains on the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines had a combined on-time performance of 89.8 percent, slightly below 2018's 90.7 percent. The Pascack Valley line in Rockland County separately recorded 94.2 percent of its trains operated on time versus 93.8 percent in 2018.
Bright notes in Rinaldi's report were a 30 percent decline in the number of canceled trains, to 163 last year from 260 in 2018, and a 2.5 percent increase in the number of trains operating with the requisite number of cars to accommodate passengers.
Most of the canceled trains have been attributed to a shortage of NJ Transit engineers that is beginning to turn around. NJ Transit operates the two west-of-Hudson lines for Metro-North.
More cars have become available, too, as they have been outfitted with PTC equipment and returned to service.
On Metro-North's three east-of-Hudson lines, on-time performance combined at 94.4 percent versus 90.1 percent in 2018.
Trains on the Hudson line were on time 95 percent of the time, a five percent jump over 2018. In addition, morning peak-hour trains improved to 91.8 percent from 85.9 percent the year before and evening peak hour ones to 96.1 percent from 92.4 percent.
In a separate report, Rinaldi said 65 percent of Metro-North's trains are now operating with PTC and voiced confidence that the railroad will meet the Dec. 31 deadline.
A train is considered on time if it arrives at its final destination, such as Hoboken Terminal for Port Jervis line trains, within five minutes and 59 seconds of its scheduled time.