FOR RELEASE: May 21, 2008
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Connecticut Department of Transportation

& Metro-North Railroad Showcase

New M-8 Rail Car Interior

Customer Input Sought on the Newly Designed Interior

“Mock-Up” at Union Station-New Haven

Mock-Up to Travel to Stamford Train Station & Grand Central Terminal in the Coming Weeks

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) and MTA Metro-North Railroad (MNR) today unveiled the M-8 rail car interior.  The interior “mock-up” was built by Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc., the M-8 rail fleet manufacturer in Japan this winter, and transported by ship for testing and review.  The ConnDOT and MNR are making the interior mock-up available for customers to view the inside design, color and seat configuration of the M-8 rail fleet. 

ConnDOT also introduced the newest rail rolling stock arrival, the Brookville Locomotive, BL20GH, which was built in Brookville, PA.  The Brookville locomotive is the first new locomotive to be purchased for the State in almost 10 years.  ConnDOT and MNR purchased 12 new shuttle locomotives for use on the New Haven Line and the Waterbury & Danbury branch lines.  These locomotives are especially designed to be used in both passenger and work-train service and are capable to operate on Shore Line East service, making them the most versatile engines in the New Haven Line fleet.

“This is a new start for a new rail system in Connecticut.  The state made a commitment just a few years ago to rebuild the rail system and it is happening,” said Acting Transportation Commissioner H. James Boice.  “Working jointly with our neighbors in New York and Metro-North Railroad, the new M-8 rail cars are getting ready for production and delivery.  This new shining locomotive is one of the first in a decade, and will be placed into service shortly.”  

The interior mock up is 27 feet long by 11-1/2 feet high by 9-1/2 feet deep, and weighs 16,825 pounds. Inside the stainless steel container is a recreation of an M-8 interior, with its red, beige and yellow color scheme.  Highlights include high-back seating, a distinctive vestibule area, luggage racks, bathroom, and other amenities.

"The M-8 mock-up unveiled today is proof positive that a new fleet is coming soon for our New Haven Line customers," said Metro-North President Peter A. Cannito.  "I'm sure our customers will agree that this car interior is deluxe with comfortable head rests, wide windows, gently curved arms rests, bright lighting and a pleasant color scheme.  We all eagerly await the arrival of these new cars."

The M-8 interior also features convenience outlets at every row of seats, seat armrests in a loop style, and enhanced flip-down seating that easily and quickly converts to a spacious ADA compliant wheelchair area.  Customers will note the open, airy and bright feeling, thanks to improved lighting and addition of curves where possible, giving these cars a distinctive design identity.  After viewing the mock-up, customers will have the opportunity to fill out comment cards.

Customers will have three locations (New Haven, Stamford and Grand Central Terminal) to view the mock-up over the next few weeks.  Beginning on Wednesday, May 21 customer can view the mock-up at the follow locations & timetable:

  • New Haven - Union Station – Wednesday, May 21 from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • New Haven –Union Station - Thursday, May 22 from 5:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.
  • New York City – Grand Central Terminal – to be determined
  • Stamford – Stewart B. McKinney Station – to be determined.


The M-8 prototypes are scheduled to arrive for testing the second half of 2009. The current schedule calls for the state to receive 10 rail cars per month starting spring of 2010.  The delivery of new M-8 rail cars will take until mid-2012 for completion of the entire 300 car order.

"The Connecticut Metro-North Rail Commuter Council is thrilled that the M-8 project is still 'on track'.  This prototype is a great chance for commuters to see the results of years of hard work in design and construction.  We're all anxious for the first powered prototype to arrive, undergo testing and get into service," said Jim Cameron, Chairman of the Commuter Council.

On August 18, 2006 ConnDOT executed an agreement with MNR to purchase 300 M-8 rail cars.  The $760.3 million agreement with MNR includes a base order of 210 cars and the first option order of 90 cars.  Connecticut will pay 65 percent of the cost ($494.2 million) and Metro-North the remaining 35 percent ($266.1 million) for the 300 cars.  On August 21, 2006 Metro-North executed the contract with Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc. to begin design and production of the new rail fleet. 

“With rising fuel costs, and the economy struggling, the public is looking for ways to cut expenses on all fronts.  Public transportation provides convenient and economical travel options for many Connecticut residents.” said Transportation Deputy Commissioner Albert Martin. “Recent ridership increases on both the New Haven Line and Shore Line East demonstrate the advantages of train travel.  We will need an efficient rail system with new equipment and expanded service to meet this growing demand.”

Rail ridership on the New Haven Line added more than 500,000 customers from January through April in 2008, a 5 percent increase from the same period in 2007.  On Shore Line East, passenger rides increased over 13,000 from January through April in 2008, over 8 percent from the same period in 2007.

The New Haven Line provides more than 124,000 rides every weekday and that number is growing at about 5 percent a year. And despite an old fleet, the New Haven Line's 286 daily trains are operating on time a phenomenal 98.1 percent of the time.

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