FOR RELEASE: May 5, 2008
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It’s a Wrap – A Café Car Wrap

Connecticut Café Cars Receive Makeover

Inside and Out

Department of Transportation & Metro-North Railroad

Unveil Newly Refurbished Café Car

at Union Station – New Haven

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) and MTA/Metro-North Railroad (MTA/MNR) today unveiled a newly refurbished café car (also known as the “bar car”) at Union Station in New Haven. Connecticut café cars will now have a new look both inside and out with this first “wrapped” and refurbished café car.

          Connecticut understands the importance of raising revenue in appropriate venues.  During these tight fiscal times, efforts by the Department and MTA/Metro-North Railroad to look for creative ways to underwrite expenses in operating the rail service are needed.  This approach to providing advertising enhances aesthetics, provides new revenue, and with the newly refurbished car, improves the ride for the customer.  It is a home run for all,” said Acting DOT Commissioner H. James Boice. 

ConnDOT and MTA/MNR kicked off a new advertising program, alongside Titan Outdoor and client Westin Hotels, to wrap the inside of the café car with a uniquely themed ad.  The café car will be transformed into a fully branded environment that also adds value to the commuter experience. Westin Hotels, the inaugural client, purchased the rights to advertise in eight Connecticut café cars over a period of 12 weeks.  The installation of the first car occurred this past weekend and the remaining seven café cars will have ads installed in late May and early June and be placed in scheduled train service by early to mid June.

"The new look inside the café car and the new mechanical systems outside will provide an even more pleasant and reliable trip for the thousands of New Haven Line riders who enjoy the cafe cars," said Metro-North Senior Vice President Howard Permut.  "The additional revenue from the ‘wrap’ campaign helps assure that the railroad's fiscal performance is as good as its operating performance."

          ConnDOT and MNR anticipate potential annual revenue of up to $800,000 over a 12-month period.  The Westin campaign will raise approximately $260,000 net in new media income for ConnDOT and MTA/MNR.  Those revenues will be applied to reduce the current operating subsidy.


          The Department of Transportation began refurbishing the Connecticut café cars Spring 2007.  Eight café cars are programmed to undergo a complete refurbishment.  To date seven café cars are in the process in the program, -- six have been completed; the seventh café car is anticipated by mid year.  The Critical System Replacement (CSR) program includes replacing components within the propulsion, heating, door and other systems.  Interior upgrades include replacing flooring, toilet system, and seat cushions as well as painting and other amenity changes.  The café cars are part of the oldest fleet of rail cars belonging to Connecticut, and have developed a strong following of supporters.

          “The CSR program has played a vital role in improving rail equipment availability and service, as well as providing more seats for our growing ridership.  Over the past year, the total number of standees on the New Haven Line has dramatically decreased from 237 in March 2007 to 68 in March 2008. That is due in part to the CSR program as well as the opening of new running repair shop in the New Haven Yard.  Our customers are seeing the benefits of the investment made by the Governor Rell and the Legislature these past few years,” said Acting Commissioner Boice. “This is in no part a small task, and we thank Metro-North Railroad and the Department staff for their continued work to keep Connecticut rail service running efficiently.”