First M-8 Rolls Down the Tracks

At long last, the first of Metro-North’s M-8 rail cars is bringing commuters from Connecticut to New York.

The six-car train left Stamford at 10:30 a.m. and is taking passengers to Grand Central Terminal and all stops in between, Metro-North spokesperson Marjorie Anders said.

The train will return at 2:10 p.m. and arrive in Stamford at 3:17 p.m.

Just the one train is in operation for now. Another train, also six cars, should arrive next month.

Tim McCarthy, Metro-North Railroad’s senior vice president of capital programs, told the Connecticut Post that the testing process will take 15 months, which is about six months shorter than testing for M-7 cars in 2002, the Post reports.

The first of the trains comes at an especially difficult time for Metro-North trains. Waterbury has no train service and is operating only the buses. Many New Haven line trains have been out of commission because of age and weather problems.

The new cars have higher seat backs, larger windows, improved lighting, automated announcements and signage and 110-volt outlets throughout the cars to plug in smart phones or laptop.

The M-8 cars are being paid for in part by a rate hike for riders. A 1.25 percent increase goes into effect in mid-2011. There will be a 1 percent hike each year after for the next six years.

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