Monday June 15, 2009Joining Metro’s championship bus team in the APTA International winner's circle, the high-scoring Metro Rail train team won the Rail Transit Team Achievement Award at the 17th Annual American Public Transportation Association (APTA) International Rail Rodeo. The Los Angeles Metro team, racking up the highest rail operator and maintainer team combined score with 1,410 hard-earned points, walked away with the championship title. Contestants from rail systems around the nation competed for top honors. The winning team members are Metro Rail Operator Robert Rodriquez and Rail Equipment Specialists Eric Czintos, Ronnie Burt and Glen Abraham. The Maintainers Competition judges the ability to troubleshoot maintenance problems. The high-scoring Metro maintenance crew, known as maintainers, earned second place in this competition. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority took first place and Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon placed third. It was a triumph for the returning champion maintainers, who won first place at the 2007 and 2008 APTA International competitions. The top-scoring team scored the highest points in the safety, HVAC (air conditioning repair) and written test events. Metro Rail General Manager Mike Cannell attributes the rail maintenance team’s achievement to hard work and a great deal of experience. Veteran competitors Ronnie Burt and Eric Czintos have teamed up every year since 2003, when they took first place in the International Competition held in San Jose. Championship competition is no stranger to Operator Robert Rodriguez. The veteran competitor Robert Rodriguez came in a close second to the Sacramento Regional Transit District team. Rodriguez has competed at the international level on numerous occasions since 1997, said Rail Instructor Esther Pippins. Rodriguez and teammate Tu Phan took home the gold in two of the previous international competitions. Third place in the Operators Competition went to the Sacramento Regional Transit District team and the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (Tri-Met) team placed third. The APTA International Rail Rodeo Competition is designed to encourage excellence and professionalism in rail transit operations. The competition was held on June 13 at the Chicago Transit Authority yard in Skokie, Illinois.
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