NJ Transit graduates 7 new engineers in attempt to improve rail service

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Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey Transit officials welcomed seven new train engineers to the agency Wednesday during a graduation ceremony. The governor says it's a step in solving some commuter problems, including regularly canceled trains due to engineer shortages.

The governor and NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett says that the graduation is a big step toward ending the engineer shortage and improving service.

“It didn't happen by accident. It happened through years of neglect. But we are here to pull the system back up one class, one step, one improvement at a time,” Murphy says.

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This is the second engineering class to complete the 20-month program this year. It is an attempt by the state and NJ Transit to catch up with retirements and years of stalled hiring.

NJ Transit customers tell News 12 New Jersey that they are hopeful but skeptical about the improvements.

“If you spend money, you'll make more money. That's how our society is,” says rider Patrick Mascarenhas. “I think it's good to spend on education, so many people would love the opportunity.”

News 12 is told that the program to become an engineer is not an easy one. This year’s class started with 20 people, but only seven graduated.

Murphy says that two more groups will finish the course this year, and three more by the end of 2020.

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