Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Pilot Held at MBTA

Posted July 2013

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) hosted a pilot of the National Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program at two of its rail facilities in Boston, July 9 and 10. Written assessments were administered to nineteen technicians in four subject areas: Couplers, Propulsion and Dynamic Braking, Car Body, and Doors. Their voluntary articipation was part of a process to help validate questions developed by a joint national labor-management committee on rail vehicle maintenance. The committee is also responsible for developing standardized rail car training on a national level that serves as a prerequisite to qualification. Eight additional MBTA technicians piloted a complete assessment on Couplers where in addition to taking written questions they demonstrated their hands-on ability to conduct a coupler inspection and identify three planted defects. 

The Qualification Program assessments were administered by Mike Keller, delegate for equipment maintenance, Boston Carmen’s Union, ATU Local 589, and Brian Long, an MBTA instructor. Bob Perry, a committee member and former instructor recently promoted at MBTA, also assisted with developing the pilot tasks. According to Mike Keller, “I’d like to thank both light and heavy rail employees at the T for their assistance with the pilot program that elevates the skills and standing of rail car workers nationally”. Brian Long added “It was rewarding to see the eight technicians do so well in the hands-on coupler inspection because of the instruction they received here at the T.”   

For more information on the pilots and the Rail Vehicle Training and Qualification Project more broadly contact Senior Associate Mark Dysart.

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