Riders on the busiest commuter rail in the nation are getting a morale boost Gov. Dannel Malloy plans to add to the existing purchase order for the long-awaited M-8 rail cars . Malloy announced Tuesday that 25 more M-8 cars will be added to the 380 already on order for Metro-North's New Haven Line.
"I have made a commitment to our commuters to do everything we can to improve service, safety and reliability on the New Haven Line," Malloy said in a statement. "This past winter underscored the ongoing problems with our aging train fleet, with frequent breakdowns and many cars out of service on any given day. Investing now in additional rail cars will pay off for years to come."
Adding the 25 cars to the existing order will ensure the best possible price, he said. The new cars will be "singles," not the "married pairs" now being delivered. This will provide the advantage of adding one car instead of two, an efficient way to add capacity on trains to meet ridership growth, according to press secretary Juliet Manalan.
The New Haven Line is part of the Connecticut Department of Transportation and operated under contract by Metro-North Railroad, a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Under the contract, Connecticut pays 65 percent of all equipment costs and MTA/Metro-North pays the other 35 percent.
The 25 single cars will cost about $3.325 million each for a total of about $93 million; Connecticut's share will be $60.5 million and New York's will be $32.6 million. Malloy will ask the State Bond Commission to put the state's share on the agenda for its next meeting, scheduled for July 29.
Currently, 337 cars are available for the New Haven Line, not counting the new M-8s, more than 230 of which are more than 40 years old. The 380 M-8s already on order will cost just more than $1 billion and should all be in service by 2014. At present, 34 have been delivered to Connecticut.
"This order will bring to 405 the number of new cars in service on the New Haven Line," said Metro-North President Howard Permut. "This purchase, if approved by the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is a first for Metro-North. It will increase the efficiency of the fleet as a whole, offering maximum flexibility, while providing a modern, uniform electric fleet."
Malloy agreed. "It makes far more economic sense to invest in new and much more reliable cars now, rather than trying to keep our aging fleet running for a few more years," he said. "Our commuters have been especially patient as we rebuild the fleet. We owe it to them to maintain our investments."
Have you been in an M-8 car? Is it worth the wait?
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