Over the past month, the commuter rail service Tri-Rail has been plagued with delays, including a number of fatal collisions with cars and pedestrians, and mechanical breakdowns.
This has resulted in an on-time rate of about 58 percent, a far cry from the 90-percent-rate industry standard Tri-Rail strives for.
The delays are in part due to a long-anticipated takeover of operations of the train’s rail corridor.
The freight railroad company CSX Transportation had been in charge of track maintenance and dispatch coordination, a responsibility Tri-Rail has sought since the rail’s beginning in 1989. On March 29, the commuter rail service got its wish and Tri-Rail has taken over those responsibilities.
Bonnie Arnold, a spokeswoman for Tri-Rail, says these changes will allow the company to prioritize Tri-Rail over freight trains, but the actual transition has been on a bumpy road.
“It’s growing pains,” Arnold says of the delays. “There have been some transitional difficulties both in communications, computer systems. Getting operations and dispatch to speak to each other in a way that works, but, you know, totally committed to resolving them."
In addition to ironing out problems with operations, by the end of May, the rail service plans to have 12 new trains on line, reducing the chances for breakdowns.