Transparency of the NCTD Sprinter train interruption

(4/3/13) – IE Transit Talking Points Short

The North County Transit District has been working hard to provide continuous coverage of the transit district’s progress of the Sprinter train interruption. As mentioned, NCTD suspended all Sprinter light rail service between Escondido and Oceanside due to maintenance issues with one of three sets of braking systems on the train.

North County Transit District Chief of Safety Tom Tulley was tasked to lead the effort for the Sprinter Recovery Task Force which includes posting blog posts on updates and publishing answers to common questions which were backed up with facts. NCTD can be credited in keeping the public well informed with fact-based plans and solutions to get the trains rolling again.

However, this level of transparency was certainly not the case when the brake issue was first discovered just one year after the Sprinter opened. The San Diego Union Tribune reported that a Sprinter subcontractor and a NCTD engineer initially knew about the problem, but failed to pass the information to NCTD staff. The engineer later resigned.

Meanwhile, The Transit Coalition has been following NCTD’s Sprinter-ruption blog and praises Tulley’s efforts in keeping the public informed with reader-friendly blog posts. NCTD has a rather surprising fact and lesson for the state and the federal government: Nearly all U.S. manufacturers of diesel multiple unit trains have gone out of business. With demands for mass transit on the rise in the country, shouldn’t the state and feds explore incentives to get train manufacturing back into the United States?