Raymond P. Kenny, the leader of NJ Transit’s rail operations, has died of complications from COVID-19, according to a press release issued Saturday.
Kenny, who was appointed to the position of senior vice president and general manager of rail operations last year, was 69.
“Ray’s reputation and experience in the industry are unparalleled,” said NJT President and CEO Kevin Corbett. “The leadership and incredible wealth of railroad knowledge Ray brought with him has truly made a positive impact on our organization. On behalf of everyone at NJ Transit, our thoughts and prayers are with Ray’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
Kenny started his career in mass transit in 1970, in an entry-level job with the Long Island Rail Road. During his 39-year career with the MTA, he rose to serve as the LIRR’s senior vice president.
He became the head of NJ Transit’s rail operations on Jan. 4, 2019.
Kenny’s death was first reported by northjersey.com.
At its peak, NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor carried about 100,000 passengers a day between Trenton and Penn Station New York, including a stop at New Brunswick’s train station.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, ridership has fall by 90% throughout NJ Transit’s commuter system. Last week, it announced cut backs on rail and bus service and a series of social distancing measures for riders.
Kenny's death was another blow to NJ Transit.
Corbett, who went into self-quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, attended a meeting with Kenny and many other high-ranking officials last month.
According to the minutes of the NJ Transit Board of Directors meeting on March 11, eight of the 10 board members were at the meeting, with James D. Adams and Raymond W. Greaves participating via telephone.
Board Secretary Joyce J. Zuczek, Deputy Attorney General Caroline Vachier, Senior Vice President of Capital Programs Eric R. Daleo and Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer William Viqueira were at the meeting.
According to the minutes, Corbett, in his report, said that health officials have said the general public was not considered at risk and the immediate health risk from COVID-19 was considered low.
According to an nj.com report last week, three NJ Transit workers had died after testing positive for COVID-19.
On March 17, NJ Transit issued a press release stating it was adopting enhanced cleaning protocols to disinfect vehicles and major stations every 24 hours in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
The intensified cleaning regiment in stations includes additional disinfecting of frequent customer touchpoints such as ticket vending machines, handrails and door handles, according to a statement released by NJ Transit.
NJ Transit said it is using cleaning agents that contain anti-viral components such as bleach/water mixes and other disinfectant sprays.