Metro-North Railroad receives the APTA’s Commuter Rail Safety Award

Posted: 16 November 2021 | | No comments yet

Metro-North Railroad has received the American Public Transportation Association’s 2021 Gold Award for Commuter Rail Safety for third time in six years.

MTA Metro-North Railroad receives the 2021 Commuter Rail Safety Award

Credit: Metro-North Railroad

MTA Metro-North Railroad has been the declared the winner of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) 2021 Gold Award for Commuter Rail Safety for an innovative system that allows train dispatchers to ensure worker safety by de-energising tracks at the touch of a button, streamlining a process that formerly involved manually filling out paper forms.

Known as the Plate Order Protection System (POPS), the safety system was developed in-house by Metro-North’s Communications and Signals Team. POPS gives rail traffic controllers and power directors a computer-based option to set parameters for de-energising tracks within a work area from the Operations Control Centre in real time.  A plate order is a request that is filled out to remove a track from service for electrical work. Under this new system, it is submitted by the power director and graphically displayed on the dispatcher’s screen, protecting employees working within a defined work zone and preventing misrouted trains from getting too close. 

APTA announced its annual Safety, Security and COVID-19 Gold Awards and Certificates of Merit at its national conference of public transportation agencies in Orlando, Florida. Metro-North took the top prize in the commuter/inter-city railroad category for the third time in six years.   

“We are thrilled to receive this award and are so proud of our team behind this programme,” said Catherine Rinaldi, MTA Metro-North Railroad President. “POPS is only the latest example of our continued commitment to implementing new technology to keep our employees and customers safe.”

Metro-North says it has established a total of 15,793 work zones since the implementation of the system in 2020 with zero violations. 

In 2020, Metro-North earned the Certificate of Merit for its Grand Central Terminal (GCT) Fire Brigade, an all-hazards prevention unit, which is also an emergency response group. In 2018, Metro-North’s TRACKS programme (Together Railroads and Communities Keeping Safe) was awarded the APTA Gold Safety Award, a free community outreach programme to provide education and importance of rail safety. In 2016, Metro-North received APTA’s Gold Safety Award for EEPS, an Enhanced Employee Protection System, a technology-based method that protects track workers.