(The Center Square) – The graduation of a new training class has brought the number of NJ Transit engineers to more than 400.
This new class of 14 trainees marks the fourth graduating class of locomotive engineers in 2021. NJ Transit, which saw an estimated $4 billion in federal relief money during the COVID-19 pandemic, previously held graduations in January, April and June.
The engineer trainees were expected to complete their field training and start their “final check rides” last month. Trainees completed a 78-week long program and passed a final exam with more than 800 questions.
“This class began its instruction right at the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020, and we very well could have suspended all locomotive engineer training at that time,” NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett said in an announcement.
“Instead, we stayed the course by quickly shifting a number of the training program’s elements online,” Corbett added. “As a result, today we have a full roster of locomotive engineers, and a full pipeline of trainees, providing a more reliable commute for our customers – just what our region needs as riders are returning to the system.”
NJ Transit has an active roster of 404 engineers. According to a news release, a full roster is comprised of at least 390 engineers.
Since 2018, 127 new engineers have joined NJ Transit, and the agency has graduated 11 classes of locomotive engineers – more than graduated in the previous five years combined. The next locomotive engineer training class is expected to graduate in April 2022.