NEWARK — NJ Transit's problem with its number of engineers is getting worse, according to one analysis of the railroad's staffing.

NJ Transit train at the Middletown station (Steve Burns)
NJ Transit train at the Middletown station (Steve Burns)

During NJ Transit's summer schedule, while rehabilitation work went on at New York Penn Station, 58 trains in one week were canceled or combined. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen General Chairman James P. Brown said it was because staffing levels were too low and spread too thin to handle the new schedule.

"It should be noted that NJ Transit management did not consult with the BLET in any way to develop an improved engineer-scheduling plan prior to the start of Penn Station track work," Brown said in July. The chairman said that many engineers have worked on their days off, worked early and stayed late to help with the summer schedule in place during Amtrak’s infrastructure work at Penn Station.

NJ Transit Executive Director Steve Santoro said at the end of the Penn Station project that the staffing issue would also be resolved.

However, a review of the NJ Transit engineer roster showed that "dozens" of its 370 engineers are eligible for retirement now or in the near future. also reported that the number of engineers leaving NJ Transit for Metro-North has increased in the past year. Only 20 engineers are in NJ Transit's two-year training program, according to the report, and will not be ready until 2019.

Brown said in July that NJ Transit needs to hire 30 new engineers.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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