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Service Delayed: Commuters Waiting For New Trains

Commuters such as Mac Budd who travel on Metro-North every day are still waiting for the new rail cars that were supposed to arrive last month. However, with Metro-North continuing to experience problems with its testing, it could be some time before the new cars carry passengers.

"I can't wait for them. These [old] trains have been around 40 years. They've definitely seen better days. They experience a lot of problems," Budd said. "And it's not cheap, the rates keep going up."

Steve Eaton, another commuter, said, "It will be nice if we eventually get them. I mean, [the old cars] function, but it will be nice having something new."

The $866 million in new train cars for the New Haven Line were approved by then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell six years ago. The new M-8 rail cars were manufactured by Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. and feature more space, better lighting and are less likely to suck snow into their electronics than the old trains.

Jim Cameron of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council said other riders ask him every day when the new train cars will arrive, and he can't say. "It does not look good."

Cameron said each car is supposed to go through a series of tests, concluding with a 4,000-mile error-free run that takes about 10 days. He said the cars keep experiencing problems with an electro-magnetic pulse that interrupts its signals.

"They're running tests, mostly at night, and every night they're having new problems," he said. "It makes us concerned. And talking to Metro-North, I get the sense that they're uncertain where they are on the timeline of testing."

Metro-North was set to release 300 new cars at a rate of 10 cars a month, starting at the end of December. With the current problems, Cameron said that it would likely be several years before most commuters get a chance to ride on the new cars.

Are you anxiously awaiting the new commuter trains? What are your thoughts about the delays by Metro-North? Join the conversation in the comments below.

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