CTA losing years of institutional knowledge, history in retirements

Lots of institutional knowledge of the CTA will walk away at the end of the year when three long-time employees retire.

The Sun-Times The Ride column reports (scroll to end of column) that CTA chief operating officer William R. Mooney had announced hs retirement earlier this year. And the vice president of transit operations, John Hruby, will be stepping down after 37 years with the agency.

Hruby, who has been on call 24/7 for the last 35 of his 37 years
with the transit agency, said he wanted to spend more time with his
family, including his elderly parents.

"This will be the first New Year's Eve I will be home instead of out
on the Rail & Bus system in I can't remember when," Hruby wrote in
an e-mail.

Meanwhile, chief engineer Glenn Zika will take advantage of the CTA's early retirement program.

Hruby will not be replaced. Good luck, gentlemen, and thank you for your service

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  • If either of these two are the ones responsible for the constant delays on southbound Red Line trains at Belmont & Fullerton causing them to wait for Brown Line trains, then good riddance!
    I am sick & tired of waiting two minutes at Belmont & then waiting yet another minute or two for the same Brown Line train that has made two intermediate stops at Wellington & Diversey!
    These delays are ridiculous during the day.
    Plus, it's visually obvious that there are speed restrictions on track 2, but none on track 1, so that the Red Line trains don't get too far ahead of the Brown Line trains! Just watch as both trains leave Belmont at the exact same time, the Brown always goes faster than the Red, even though the Brown will have to stop at Wellington in just seconds!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Scooter, are you for real? I mean, it's one thing to complain about having to wait for another train, but to blame these guys? Seriously....

    And I disagree about speed restrictions on Track 2. I was on that track the other when the motorman announced he was going to try to catch up to the Brown Line at Fullerton, and we zoomed down that track and made it.

    I don't think the customers who have to make connections to other trains would share your complaints.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Maybe the question is what kind of institutional memory they have. Scooter may be nitpicking, but enough went wrong during Kruesi's administration that cost big money (such as accepting defective buses) that there must be others involved. Since these staffers were through the terms of many presidents, including the current one, we still haven't heard who is responsible for such things as the rail signal system being repeatedly defeated by human error, from 1977 to yesterday, or the 2009 fuel hedge. I'm not saying these people were at fault, but someone certainly is, and probably many individuals given the institutional failures.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Since Hruby is the VP of rail operations, he's as good a person to blame as there can be.
    Everyone who rides the Red Line knows about the idiotic waits at Belmont & Fullerton. As for your motorman speeding up to catch a Brown train at Fullerton, that proves there is a speed restriction because the CTA ATC system prevents a train from going faster than 55 MPH. Just why was the train going slower than the limit? They don't have to put up a sign, just tell the motormen not to go faster than maybe 45 MPH for that one mile stretch.
    And these are the guys that were there when Kreusi allowed the rail system to almost collapse. It still hasn't recovered on the Far North Side. They also were partly responsible for the wretched station redesigns on the Brown Line & Green Lines.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Have you honestly taken a GPS on the train and seen how fast the trains go? The yellow will go 55 MPH, the purple sometimes will go steadily at 45+, but for most of the trackage they go slower even on stretches. YMMV, but I'd be amazed if any train is ever going 55 between Belmont and Fullerton, despite that being the maximum.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    The article is about the loss of institutional memory not experience, not the same thing. If we were provided with enough information that says memory of things past has led to better operations, I might feel differently. CTA needs new experienced blood, seasoning is something I add to make whatever I'm cooking taste better, perhaps Mr. Rodriguez was being nice. Will he elaborate who is taking over the positions that are being kept?

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I hope anyone reading these comments understands that Scooter and Jack have extremely one-sided views about the CTA, emphasizing the negative and ignoring the positive. "Kruesi allowed the rail system to almost collapse" ignores the fact that he did find funds during very difficult economic times to rebuild the worst of the rail system, including the Congress branch of the Blue Line (now the Pink Line) which would be gone today if not for that work. And people with disabilities would not use the word "wretched" to describe the redesign of stations that finally allowed them access after upwards of a century of use. Making the buses all accessible to people using wheeolchairs was another significant accomplishment, as is the Bustracker system. No rail system can be run with perfection and a system with portions up to a century old will have its challenges, but the tenure of Kruesi, Mooney and Hruby did have its positive accomplishments as well as controversies.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    joe: "Making the buses all accessible to people using wheeolchairs was another significant accomplishment, as is the Bustracker system."

    Making all buses accessible was mandated by the ADA in 1990, and CTA started buying accessible buses in 1991. Unless you are saying that Kruesi somehow found money for replacements (but Huberman seemed more successful in finding money for the last 400 New Flyers) he had little or nothing to do with it. Similarly, Kruesi was apparently around when the equipment for BusTracker was ordered (http://www.transitchicago.com/news/default.aspx?pg=32&ArticleId=472) but not when 97% of it was implemented.

    I still don't understand the Kruesi apologists chalking up the mistakes of 1998-2007 as "controversies" and accusing others of having "extremely one-sided views about the CTA." There isn't any other side to track inspectors putting in a 3 hour day resulting in an accident in the Blue Line, as documented by the NTSB, wasting $110 million in "conditionally accepting" buses that they knew were defective, or blowing over $330 million on a block 37 hole that, if you believe Ask Carole, and I don't, the Chairperson of the CTA didn't support as leading to a viable means of implementing airport express service. The last two show actual dollars lost through mismanagement.

    However, joe has shown his Pollyanna viewpoint on other occasions, so I expect no less here. BTW, have you read the RTA Act as I suggested, or are you still working on belief?

  • In reply to jack:

    When I write about the wretched redesign of stations, it has nothing to do with adding elevators or anything else to do with ADA requirements.

    Specifically: Sedgwick.
    The fools at the CTA condemned additional land & buildings next to the station to rebuild to modern standards. Except, the North Side Mainline at that point was a 4 track operation with two center island platforms. But since 1963, only tracks 2 & 3 have been used. What should have been done was to rehab tracks 1 & 4 at Sedgwick with a reconfiguration of the track geometry at the turn east of the station. Then a new one center island platform built between tracks 1 & 4.
    The advantages would have been:
    1. No cost for land acquisition.
    2. Only one elevator needed to get to the platform.
    3. The same stair[s] would serve both directions
    4. A single platform means more people on that platform in off hours, thus a better sense of safety for the passengers.
    5. Because there would be only one elevator, lower maintenance costs over the 100 year lifespan of the station, a cost that comes out of the operating budget, which the feds don't subsidize, unlike the capital budget, which the feds do subsidize.

    The northbound Belmont platform is another atrocity!
    It should have included a stub for the eventual construction of the long planned, but never built flyover for track 4. So what's going to happen if it ever does get built is some demolition of the brand new structure, so the new track structure can be connected up.
    I'll even bet that the idiots at the CTA real estate department are planning to sell off the land they condemned on the north side of Belmont, without even retaining air rights for the flyover. Thus requiring re-condemning through eminent domain the same land the condemned a few years ago!

    And it was Kreusi who thought it a waste of money to get rid of the Diversey kink, even tough, again, there will be 100 years of extra wear & tear of tracks & wheel flanges because of it!

    Or let's look at the Indiana station. It's in the middle of an double 90 degree S-turn & the west end of the S-turn was demolished & rebuilt with the Green Line reconstruction. Except if you look around there, they could have condemned vacant land, I repeat, vacant land which is all around there & built a S-curve, similar to the Harrison curve reconstruction & then built the new Indiana station on the skew as a single platform.

    I repeat, the CTA has no idea how to properly plan for the future or intelligently redesign a station.

  • In reply to jack:

    eBob is quite right; I meant the Douglas branch (now the Pink Line).

  • In reply to jack:

    Scooter: "And it was Kreusi who thought it a waste of money to get rid of the Diversey kink, even tough, again, there will be 100 years of extra wear & tear of tracks & wheel flanges because of it!"

    What is the Diversey kink that you are talking about?

  • In reply to rsakowski:

    The Diversey kink is that stupid little section of track at Diversey that isn't straight, but moves one track width east, then back to the west to go around a building that doesn't exist anymore.

  • In reply to rsakowski:

    Scooter, on what basis are you accusing Kruesi of thinking it was a "waste of money," rather than the money just not being available for any more work than was actually done? As I seem to recall, the project had to be scaled back because the construction costs came in higher than estimated. (I'm not arguing, just asking the question.)

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Kreusi actually said it was a waste of money. He spent it on something else.
    Kreusi also didn't have the money for Belmont & Fullerton to have full length roofs, Huberman found it.
    And back to bad station design, why can't the CTA figure out how to design a station without any places for pigeons to roost under the roof of the station?

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Please provide the citation where he said that.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    I will do that when I can find the filing cabinet where I save the "Quotations of Chairman Kreusi"!

    Tell us, just how much is Frank paying you to be his apologist?

  • In reply to Joe001:

    And what ax do you have to grind that you think anyone seeking facts is an apologist, Scooter? Alas, I want to believe you when you assert that Kruesi described it as a waste of money, but you can't point to any such quote and you set your own trap when you post comments that are hyperbolic in their hatred of the CTA. If you want anyone to think you are presenting real, accurate facts worth believing, you need to control the bitterness and be prepared to back up your accusations.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    I have learned over the years that whenever someone uses the term "Please provide the citation" they know damn well the other person is correct!
    And if I'm bitter, it's due to the mess that Kruesi left behind, that's still not fixed.
    And you are hyperbolic in your defense of the indefensible.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    I'm with Scooter. The fact that a red line train with no stops between belmont and fullerton takes longer than a brown/purple line leaving Belmont at the same with two (two-count them, two) stops that it has to make. As far as I'm concerned this fact just can't be explained away. Even with no signals that matter (i.e. where there are lines crossing) the fact that are slowdowns and even stops is un-excusable and indefensible....

    As far as "good things", it's a bit like re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic. Bustracker is nice but buses still bunch up regularly and don't leave on time.... redesign/replacement of stations is still a joke....after two years the Howard street red line station still leaks like it did from the day it was finished with no repairs in sight...and yeah all the buses are accessible (if by chance the lifts actually work that is)....give me a break.

    Kevin

  • In reply to KevinB:

    KevinB: I never said they left at the same time. The Brown Line left first, though I have no idea how much sooner. My Red Line sailed between Belmont and Fullerton at maybe 30 mph and had no trouble catching up to it.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Jack wrote: "I still don't understand the Kruesi apologists chalking up the mistakes of 1998-2007 as "controversies" and accusing others of having "extremely one-sided views about the CTA."

    Oh gosh, Jack, my mistake. You're not one-sided at all!!!

  • In reply to Joe001:

    I'll acknowledge that Huberman apparently fixed up some messes left by Kruesi, although he only belatedly disclosed others, such as that when the buses were taken out of service in Feb. 2009, because one split, there were discussions about doing so since Sept. 2008. Also, Huberman found the money for 400 replacement 40 foot buses, and leasing 150 artics., although, again the rationale he gave for the latter did not turn out to be the actual one. Apparently both Huberman and Rodriguez got the message (maybe from the Mayor) that some things needed to be cleaned up at CTA, don't expect a tax increase this time, and performance management instituted. That, would, of course, imply that prior management (i.e. Kruesi) wasn't exercising that kind of management.

    So it is not totally "extremely one-sided views about the CTA" per se. However, I recognize incompetence when I see it. Too bad it to Mike Madigan to apparently make the Mayor do so, as a condition of pushing the RTA legislation in 2007, according to reports.

  • In reply to jack:

    ... Also guess where I should have typed "took." But Chicago Now still ignores requests for a proofing frame.

  • In reply to jack:

    "Imply." "Apparently." Yup, Jack, if I ever want a balanced, fair assessment of the CTA, you're the guy I'll go to!

  • In reply to Joe001:

    And you know who I will consult when I need a legal anaylsis of the RTA Act.

  • In reply to Joe001:

    Kevin, I was commenting on scooters original comment...and I get a daily replay of the whole red vs purple/brown boondoggle between belmont and fullerton.

    KevinB

  • In reply to Joe001:

    I think you mean the Douglas branch. The Congress branch is still part of the Blue Line.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    you complaint about waiting 1 or 2 minutes what heck do expect try pace or metra and see how long you wait

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I'm pretty sure Scooter lives under a bridge.

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