Getting back on track: Gov. Murphy meets with new class of NJ Transit engineers

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Gov. Phil Murphy is fulfilling his promise of holding New Jersey Transit accountable for recent service issues.

The governor met with the agency’s newest class of train engineer recruits Thursday.

It has been a rough road for prospective engineers with NJ Transit. Only 11 engineer training classes were held between 2011 and 2017. None were held in 2010 and engineers who trained in 2009 were furloughed due to budgetary reasons.

"Investing in people is among NJ Transit's most critical investments. We could order all the new rail cars and buses we want; but it's trained and certified people like the ones here who make them move,” Murphy said.

RELATED: Gov. Murphy signs bipartisan bill overhauling New Jersey Transit

The group that Murphy met with Thursday are training to become conductors, engineers and bus operators. Four of the six classes will graduate this year. The governor says that there are more talented people in the pipeline.

"The locomotive engineering training program has six concurrent classes in session, made up of 102 trainees - which is a record number of classes running at the same time,” Murphy said. “These 102 soon-to-be engineers are the very best from among more than 4,000 applications NJ Transit received for these positions. That is an elite college acceptance rate."

Last year NJ Transit launched a major recruitment effort to fill critical positions in the agency. It is an accelerated program that reduces training time from 20 months to about a year.

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