Metro North conductor writes open letter apologizing to customers

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Metro North conductor writes open letter apologizing to customers

A Metro North conductor wrote a letter apologizing to commuters after telling them to wait for an express train he didn't realize had been canceled.

"I told you, MY/OUR customers, to wait on the platform for the express behind us," Michael Shaw, the conductor, wrote in the letter. "It wasn't until later that day that I found out from a co-worker that [Metro North] had canceled the other train altogether."

Shaw explained that Friday's 6:52 a.m. train out of New Haven en route to New York's Grand Central Terminal was supposed to be an express, but was making local stops because an earlier local train was delayed due to brake problems. Unbeknown to Shaw, the "powers to be" decided to cancel the train behind him.

"When I heard that news I was shocked [and] furious, and I still am," Shaw continued. "One, that I was never told this information and two, that I made a huge mistake in telling you, MY/OUR passengers to 'trust me and wait for the express train behind us' not knowing Metro North had canceled it."

Shaw distributed 500 copies of the letter to Metro North customers Monday.

Metro North later issued a statement saying while it shares Shaw's concerns, it "does not condone" the letter:

Conductor Mike Shaw is one of the many Metro-North Railroad employees who care deeply about our customers, and his open letter expresses the same frustration that customers and employees alike feel about the railroad's recent challenges. While we share his concerns, we do not condone his methods of communicating them.

Customers, though, seemed to appreciate Shaw's gesture.

Metro North has been maligned over a series of accidents, delays and public embarrassments. Last May, 76 people were injured when a train derailed in Bridgeport, Conn.; the same month, a worker was killed in West Haven when a student rail controller allowed trains to resume too soon; in December, a derailment at Spuyten Duyvil in the Bronx killed four people and injured 71. Last month, a Metro-North employee was arrested after a woman told police "he performed a lewd act over her while she was asleep on a train."

On Monday, Joseph Giulietti, Metro North's new president, pledged a renewed focus on safety. “The first priority is that everything is safe, that everybody’s getting there safely,” Giulietti said.