State of Connecticut to purchase 60 additional rail cars for expanded capacity on the New Haven line
This article was published on: 09/14/16 2:16 PM by Mike Minarsky
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Gov. Malloy Announces Decision to Purchase 60 Additional Rail Cars for Expanded Capacity on the New Haven Line
Busiest Commuter Rail Line in the Nation Continues to Experience All-Time High Ridership
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that as the New Haven Line continues to experience all-time high record ridership numbers, the State of Connecticut will soon purchase an additional 60 M-8 rail cars to add to its recently launched, state-of-the-art fleet servicing the line, which remains the busiest commuter rail line in the nation. With each car carrying 105 seats, adding the new cars will accommodate more than 6,000 additional commuters.
“More and more, Connecticut residents are choosing public transportation to go about their daily commutes. If we want to remain competitive in the 21st Century, modernized economy in a way that attracts new businesses and creates high-skilled jobs, we must update our infrastructure and give our commuters a best-in-class transportation system,” Governor Malloy. “We have witnessed what decades of underinvestment has resulted in, and we can no longer afford to sit back and let the status quo remain. This is just one of many bold steps we are implementing statewide toward making a modernized transportation system reality – because our economic future depends on it.”
The New Haven Line is owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and operated by Metro-North Railroad under contract with the CTDOT. In 2015, it carried more than 40.3 million passengers, up two percent from the prior year andsetting an all-time record. Ridership overall is up about 12 percent over the last five years, with peak-hour ridership up 27 percent.
CTDOT Commissioner James P. Redeker noted that the New Haven Line is now carrying as many passengers today as had been predicted for 2021. He added that CTDOT is testing the M-8 rail cars for possible use on Shore Line East – the commuter railroad between New Haven and New London, where trains need to be propelled by locomotives. The M-8s are powered by overhead catenary lines and do not need locomotives.
An allocation of $200 million is anticipated to be considered later this month at the next meeting of the State Bond Commission to approve the purchase of the new M-8 rail cars.
Under current plans, 10 of the 60 new rail cars will be converted into café cars – popularly known as bar cars. The last New Haven Line café cars were retired in 2014.
Connecticut has already purchased 405 of the M-8 rail cars, which began going into service in 2011 and are now standard on the New Haven Line. Most of the older M-2 rail cars have been retired, but a small fleet remain as back-ups.
Since their implementation, the new M-8 cars have been very well received by customers, who have praised the roomier, high-back, contoured seats with individual headrests and curved arm rests anchored at both ends in the upholstery. The cars have larger windows and better lighting, especially in the vestibules for improved safety.
Each pair of cars have been equipped with bike racks, and they also have intercom systems that customers can use to contact the crew in case of emergency. Other features include LED displays that show the next stop and automated audio announcements, electrical outlets to charge personal devices, coat hooks, and curved luggage racks. Outside, customers see prominent electronic destination signs and external public address speakers. Single leaf doors provide high reliability and lessen the susceptibility to snow intrusion. **PLEASE NOTE: The above renderings of the M-8 café cars are a preliminary design and are subject to change.