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Norwalk Train Riders To Get Peace and Quiet

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Rail riders looking for a calmer commute will get the chance to ride quiet cars come January on the New Haven Line.

As of Monday, Jan. 9, about 18 Metro-North Railroad trains that operate between Grand Central Terminal and New Canaan, Danbury, Waterbury and New Haven, will have quiet cars during select peak times, according to a statement from the railroad.

In the fall when quiet cars were being proposed, one Fairfield commuter said he would "absolutely" seek out the quiet cars. "It's an hourlong commute to the city, so I try to get as much work done on the train as I can," said John Ross. "A lot of times you get people talking on their phones and just being obnoxious."

Quiet cars will be available on trains indicated by a "Q" on the timetable. During morning peak times, the last car of these trains will be designated as the quiet car. During evening peak times, the first car will be the quiet car. Reverse peak trains are not included in the pilot program.

Greenwich resident Ellen Murdoch said although she only rides the train occasionally, she saw the benefit. "After a long day, all you want is peace and quiet. I would absolutely look for a quiet car."

Metro-North began a trial of the cars in New York state with New Jersey Transit on the Port Jervis branch and later expanded it to the Hudson and Harlem lines. In the fall, a proposed trial on the line between Danbury and Grand Central was canceled because it was not up to snufffor the state Department of Transportation.

Currently, on the Hudson Line in New York state, quiet cars are designated on 31 trains between Grand Central and Poughkeepsie, Beacon and Wassaic.

According to the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, a commuter advocacy group, Metro-North conducted a survey in November of 4,388 New York riders and found of the 90 percent who knew about the trial, 90 percent said they were satisfied with the plan and 82 percent said they thought it should be expanded to all peak trains.

Quiet car travelers are advised not to use cellphones and to hold conversations in "subdued" voices. Riders will also need to disable sound features on laptops and other electronic devices, and use headphones at a volume that can't be heard by other passengers.

The quiet car rules will be enforced by conductors who will hand out "Shhhhh" cards explaining the rules of etiquette in English and Spanish, as needed.

Metro-North representatives in a phone call Monday did not elaborate on how it plans to evaluate the program to determine expansion. Calls to the Connecticut Department of Transportation were not returned.

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