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Working in the Epicenter of COVID-19

Home > 2020 > Working in the Epicenter of COVID-19



The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line transports 55,000 people a day for New Jersey Transit near Jersey City, New Jersey, to get to work, school, shopping centers, downtown Jersey City, and across the water to Manhattan and beyond.

Twenty-First Century Rail Group, a joint venture between Shimmick and Kinkisharyo, designs, builds, operates, and maintains 16 miles of light rail with an on-time performance of 98%. Shimmick manages the railroad operations, construction, facilities, and labor for the facilities and train operations. Kinkisharyo operates and maintains the light rail cars.

“We’re tasked with not only getting those people to that area with our light rail system, but also setting up our railroad so that people can safely enjoy the festivities and dispersing the people at the end of the night safely,” said Jamal McClintock, project manager for Shimmick.

If the team has line outages or shuts down the tracks, alternative ways of moving the passengers from one station to the next like a bus bridge is used.

The team’s safety went to another level after the New Jersey/New York City area became the epicenter of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. They have been in step with CDC, the federal government, or state guidelines for the proper PPE and hospital-grade cleaning supplies for the trains to maximize everyone’s safety.

This meant the project went from running a weekday schedule to a weekend schedule every day with 25 employees instead of 50. Based on the collective bargaining agreement, anyone who doesn’t have the seniority to pick the assigned job, goes on the extra board handled by 12 to 15 people.

To make this project a success, it takes people rolling up their sleeves, managing situations without excuses, and finding a way to solve the problem even when they don’t know the solution. Whether it is for the design, construction, operation, or maintenance – the team can do it all. They have relationships with the unions, which is invaluable, allowing the team to work together to meet the project’s goals.