Metrolink chief to step down to lead Fla. rail co.

Posted on May 7, 2012

LOS ANGELES — Metrolink CEO John Fenton announced his resignation Monday to become the head of a Florida-based railroad company. Fenton, who is stepping down for family and professional reasons, has worked to improve the service and safety of the commuter line following the deadly Chatsworth crash in 2008, reported the Los Angeles Times.

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Metrolink's official announcement:

LOS ANGELES — Metrolink Chief Executive Officer John Fenton has announced that he will step down from his post at Metrolink after leading a two-year comprehensive reorganization that has put in place new leadership, policies and standards that have increased ridership and enhanced safety in the region. Fenton has accepted a position as CEO of Patriot Rail Corp., a leading operator of short line and regional freight railroads in the United States. Patriot has recently agreed to be acquired by an investment vehicle managed by SteelRiver Infrastructure Partners.

"John's impact on Metrolink and our customers will be felt for many years to come and we thank him for his vision, dedication to safety and leadership," said Richard Katz, chairman of Metrolink's Board of Directors.  "Thanks to John, we have a strong blueprint for Metrolink's future, and the Board is dedicated to ensuring that our high standards for safety and performance will continue well into the future."

The Metrolink board of directors chose Fenton in April of 2010 to lead the agency through a critical period of revitalization and growth. Some of the agency's progress includes an enhanced safety culture, ridership growth, initiation of Metrolink's Positive Train Control implementation, purchase of additional safety-enhanced Guardian cars, a safety leadership training partnership with the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering and a turnaround in the agency's public image.

"This was an extremely difficult decision, due to the satisfaction of serving the people in Southern California. I am proud of the tremendous accomplishments the team at Metrolink has made in the past two years. The opportunity to operate a railroad holding company is a lifelong personal goal for me, and, more importantly, it allows me to move closer to my aging parents, and my children and grandchildren," Fenton said.  "Metrolink has a talented staff and a dedicated, forward-looking board that are committed to safety and innovation and will continue to do great things to enhance mobility for the Southern California region."

Metrolink's board of directors has begun the process to fill the CEO position. Over the next several weeks, Fenton will assist the agency in developing a smooth transition plan.

Metrolink is Southern California's regional commuter rail service in its 19th year of operation. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink operates over seven routes through a six-county, 512 route-mile network. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the seventh largest based on annual ridership.

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