Go behind the scenes of the Port Authority’s PATH train control center

Posted: Updated:

Thousands of New Jerseyans use the Port Authority’s PATH train system to travel to and from New York on a regular basis. But many may not know what it takes to keep the PATH system running.

News 12 New Jersey took an exclusive look at the PATH Train Control Center in Jersey City.

Monica Lam is the assistant trainmaster for PATH.

“I always joke that I get to play with trains all day,” Lam says.

But what Lam does is no joke. Her job is to make sure that the trains are running on time and that they move along the system in the safest way possible.

“This is our main control center,” Lam says while pointing out a large collection of monitors. “This is where we can see everything going on at the railroad, our stations, platforms.”

Lam and her colleagues keep an eye on 200 different monitors, which rotate between thousands of cameras systemwide.

The headquarters houses the trainmasters, security, communications and customer service experts – all working together with others on the trains and in the stations to make sure that the commute runs smoothly. They also troubleshoot problems like broken rails, lost children or personal property left behind or dropped on the tracks.

“Headphones, cellphones. One time we got a call from someone who dropped his teeth in the track area. So, we do go out of our way and retrieve the item people leave on the train or the track area,” says Lam.

The team also deals with customer complaints. They insist that they appreciate any kind of feedback. They also promise that when trains are delayed, for any reason, they are doing their best to fix the problems.

“We have so many people. I think the public doesn’t realize what it takes to make that happen, getting them where they need to go.” says Lam.

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