NYCT brings international signaling expert Pete Tomlin on board

Dec. 10, 2018

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit (NYCT) has named Pete Tomlin to lead the agency's systemwide resignaling efforts. Tomlin, who has worked with NYCT President Andy Byford in the past during stints in London and Toronto, will begin in January 2019.

Tomlin will help bring Byford's 10-year plan to replace and modernize more than 90 percent of NCYT's signaling system, named Fast Forward, to fruition. 

“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’.”

MTA noted that Tomlin’s particular area of expertise is the installation, testing and commissioning of communications-based train control (CBTC), a modern signal system that delivers high levels of service reliability and additional line capacity that anchors the subway element of 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 MTA said it was for this reason that Byford sought world expertise to drive the resignaling program.

Tomlin is an electrical engineer by training. However, he will bring more than two decades of international experience in the complex discipline of upgrading signal systems on new and existing subway systems. His past work includes serving in a project manager role with Alcatel on the London Underground Jubilee Line Extension, as well as the West Rail and Ma On Shan projects in Hong Kong. In late 2009, Tomlin joined the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) 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. MTA says that as recently as December 2018, 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.

“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 a statement on Tomlin's hiring, MTA explained that he "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."

President Byford said that Tomlin’s first task will be to oversee the final adjustments to the CBTC system that recently 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. 

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.