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Metro-North OKs 60 More New Cars, With 10 Bar Cars, For New Haven Line

Metro-North is working to signalize its Danbury branch, which will allow for expanded rail service.
Metro-North is working to signalize its Danbury branch, which will allow for expanded rail service. Photo Credit: File
A Metro-North Railroad train heads for Connecticut on the  New Haven Line.
A Metro-North Railroad train heads for Connecticut on the New Haven Line. Photo Credit: Contributed
Gov. Dannel Malloy last month announces the planned purchase of more rail cars on the New Haven Line.
Gov. Dannel Malloy last month announces the planned purchase of more rail cars on the New Haven Line. Photo Credit: Gov. Dannel Malloy via Twitter

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board approved an order for another batch of new, M8 rail cars, including the return of an old favorite: The Bar Car.

The order calls for at least 60 new cars and up to 94. The order also calls for at least 10 cafe, or bar cars in the order . This order will allow Metro-North to retire the final 36 M2 cars that are still in service.

The M8 cars have improved customer satisfaction levels and have achieved very high mechanical reliability. The new M8s are also designed to be enabled with Positive Train Control from the time they enter service. Through September, the cars are averaging 460,277 miles between mechanical breakdowns, the best rate for New Haven Line cars in decades and 53 percent above the railroad’s goal for the cars.

Each row of seats in the M8 design is outfitted with electrical outlets, grab bars, coat hooks and overhead luggage racks. The color scheme is a vibrant red, the historical color of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, a predecessor to Metro-North.

“The approval of these additional railcars will improve service for commuters throughout the region on the nation’s busiest commuter rail line,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement. “For decades, we as a state and nation have failed to make investments in transportation a top priority – and we have witnessed the results with failing roadways and aging public transportation systems. But today we are taking a new approach. Through actions like today’s, we are showing the public that investments in infrastructure must be made to continue the level of service the public, and our economy, have come to depend on. If we want to remain competitive, giving our residents and businesses the best chance to prosper, we must continue to make desperately needed investments across our entire transportation infrastructure.”

The existing M8 cars, like the rest of Metro-North’s fleet, are being upgraded to enable them to operate with enhanced Positive Train Control, a safety system designed to reduce the risk of human error contributing to derailments or collisions caused when a train travels too fast into a curve, onto tracks already occupied by another train, or through a misaligned switch.

“We appreciate this vote of confidence in our rail investment strategy,” said Connecticut Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker. “Connecticut commuters can look forward to the extremely high reliability of these cars and increased service on the New Haven Line. I want to thank the MTA Board for this prompt action on our request.”

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