NJ Transit picks former LIRR head as operations chief

The much-maligned New Jersey Transit is trying to reverse its fortunes, and the latest step is the hiring of a new head of rail operations, the agency announced Friday.

Raymond P. Kenny has nearly half a century of industry experience, including a string as acting president of the MTA Long Island Railroad, New York’s “LIRR.” Now, he will serve as senior vice president and general manager of rail operations for NJ Transit, where Gov. Phil Murphy has made improvements in service and safety a priority.

“Ray is a national expert in the railroad industry, and his knowledge of the complexities of the rail system in our region is unmatched,” state Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, who serves as chair of NJ Transit, said in a prepared statement. “His leadership and management skills will be invaluable as we move NJ Transit forward.”

Most recently, Kenny was with consulting and management organization WSP as a consultant for operations and planning for agencies nationwide, including the Gateway Project, Northeast Corridor Future project, Metro-North, Los Angeles’ Metrolink and more.

“Ray has a long and accomplished railroad career, and we look forward to tapping his wealth of industry knowledge as we continue to transform NJ Transit into a national leader,” Executive Director Kevin Corbett said in a statement. “Ray understands railroading from every angle, having started as a ticket clerk at LIRR and rising through the ranks to eventually lead LIRR as the busiest railroad in the country.”

The appointment, approved at Friday’s NJ Transit board meeting, is effective immediately.