April 22, 2013

Metro-North, Conn. DOT intro 200th M-8 railcar

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Metro-North Railroad and the Connecticut Department of Transportation put the 200th M-8 railcar into service on the New Haven Line, marking the halfway point for the investment program, which began in 2009 when 405 railcars were ordered.

To date, 222 of the new railcars have been delivered and 200 of them have successfully completed acceptance testing and have been placed into service. Deliveries continue at the rate of about 10 railcars per month. More than half of all trains in New Haven Line service on weekdays — 54% — are new M-8 railcars. And on weekends, nearly 80% of all the trains in service are M-8s.

“It is great to be able to say that we are now operating more M-8’s than older cars — which have been in service for decades,” said Metro-North President Howard Permut. “Combined with our other investments by Connecticut and New York in the power supply system, station improvements and other amenities, we continue to put customers first.”

While the M-8 cars are complex, computer-controlled machines, what customers notice are roomier, high-back, contoured seats with individual headrests, curved arm rests anchored at both ends in the upholstery. They have larger windows and better lighting for improved safety.

The railcars also are equipped with an intercom system that customers can use to contact the crew in emergencies. Other features include LED displays that show the next stop and automated audio announcements. Each seat is outfitted with electrical outlets, grab bars, coat hooks and curvaceous luggage racks. The color scheme is a vibrant red, the historical color of the New Haven Railroad, predecessor to Metro-North.

Outside, customers see prominent electronic destination signs and external public address speakers. Single leaf doors provide high reliability and less susceptibility to snow intrusion.

The railcars are electrically complex with three types of propulsion systems. They have third rail shoes that receive direct current to power the trains between Pelham and Grand Central Terminal. The cars also have the capability to run under two types of catenary wire.

Metro-North operates the New Haven Line under contract with the Connecticut Department of Transportation. On an average weekday, there are 127,000 passenger trips on the line, which also includes the three branch lines running north to New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury. Annually, there are more than 38 million passenger trips on the line.

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