December 06, 2018

NYC Transit President Byford Announces Hiring of New Signal Modernization Expert

MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford today announced the appointment of an internationally renowned signaling expert to lead the comprehensive modernization of New York City’s subway signal system.


The Fast Forward Plan proposed by President Byford lays a roadmap for replacing and modernizing the signal system for more than 90 percent of subway riders in a 10-year timeframe.  The current capital program also has funding for the resignaling of the 7 line and the Queens Blvd line, which carries EFMR trains.  Both projects involve replacing the antiquated fixed-block signaling system with the computer-based Communications Based Train Control (CBTC).


Pete Tomlin will join NYC Transit as the head of the agency’s systemwide resignaling efforts in January.  A native Briton, Tomlin brings more than 21 years of international experience in the complex discipline of upgrading signal systems on new and existing subway systems, most recently in Toronto but before that in London and Hong Kong.  An electrical engineer by training, Tomlin specializes in leading unified teams of in-house, consultant and contractor staff to install modern signal systems on both “green field” (new) and “brown field” (existing) subway lines, a highly specialized and demanding task that requires exceptional planning, technical and operational knowledge.


“I worked with Pete in both London and Toronto and I need him on my team to drive the Fast Forward resignaling program,” President Byford said.  “He has a stellar track record, he knows how to get contractors to deliver as part of a unified team, and I am delighted that I was able to persuade him to take up a real ‘New York challenge’.”


“I love delivering world class signaling systems and as NYC Transit is probably the most prestigious system in the world with many challenges it is tremendously exciting for me to be a part of something that delivers a world class service for the people of New York,” Tomlin said.


In London, Tomlin managed the implementation of the Jubilee Line Extension (JLE) in 1997 for the supplier and later, in 2006, the test and commissioning of the entire Jubilee Line.  He then spent two and a half years in Hong Kong where he delivered the West Rail and Ma On Shan subway lines.  In late 2009, Tomlin joined the Toronto Transit Commission’s and between 2012 and 2018 oversaw the first four commissioning phases of the resignaling of the TTC’s Line 1, including successful on-time delivery of the signal system to control the Line 1 subway extension to Vaughan in 2017.  As recently as this month, he oversaw the on-time commissioning of 19 km of mainline operation and the new interfaces to the train yard with flawless service from the start.


Tomlin’s particular area of expertise is the installation, testing and commissioning of CBTC, a modern signal system that delivers high levels of service reliability and additional line capacity that anchors the subway element of President Byford’s Fast Forward modernization plan.  Once funding is secured, Fast Forward will convert 11 NYC subway lines to CBTC in an unprecedented 10 years and it was for this reason that President Byford sought world expertise to drive the resignaling program.


President Byford said that Tomlin’s first task will be to oversee the final adjustments to the CBTC system that just went live on the 7 line, to take charge of the current Queens Boulevard project and to commence planning for the next tranche of line conversions.  Tomlin will also actively investigate and drive development of Ultra Wideband, an emerging technology that has the potential to enable New York’s subway to be resignaled even more quickly, more cheaply and in a less intrusive manner to support the ambitious Fast Forward timelines. 


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