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We're Doing Better, VRE Chief Tells Riders

Dale Zehner, the CEO of Virginia Railway Express, sent this memo about service to train riders:

In March, the on-time performance of our trains was, I'm sad to say, abysmal. I went on record as saying that the number of mechanical failures that occurred was unacceptable, and that we at VRE were determined to return our service to the level that our riders expect and deserve.

I'm happy to report that for the month of April, the on-time performance of our service has returned to over 90 percent.

While mechanical issues will always be a problem (as I've said before, anything with moving parts, is bound to eventually break), there were several areas that we were able to address that I believe contributed to the improvement of this month's service.

First off, I sat down with both the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Mechanical Officer at Amtrak and we discussed ways to ensure the mechanical reliability of our equipment. Both executives were extremely helpful and supportive of our concerns and our mechanical needs.

Secondly, we have accelerated several of our replacement part programs. In the past each engine had a regular 45 day, 90 day, 180 day and 1 year maintenance and inspection (as required by the Federal Railroad Administration). We have since added additional inspection periods to ensure that our mechanical staff can keep a watchful eye on the wear patterns of all mechanical components.

Thirdly, we are also looking into the possibility of adding a few more replacement part programs. Unfortunately, in most cases we were unable to tell if there was an issue with a mechanical component, until that component failed. However, once we spot a trend, we then replace that component on every single locomotive. These new programs will test more components then before, and based on the tests we may completely replace some parts before they fail in another locomotive.

In closing, our service has operated over 90 percent for 3 out of 4 months this calendar year. I look forward to seeing this trend continue.

By Robert Thomson  |  May 6, 2009; 10:20 AM ET
Categories:  transit  
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Comments

I have to say that this is the laziest column I have ever seen in any newspaper, anytime, anywhere. A third grader can do copy & paste. How much do they pay you?

Posted by: entropy_happens | May 6, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

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