Twenty-six of the New Haven Line's new M-8 rail cars are now in service, with four held as spares, a state Department of Transportation official told the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council on Wednesday.
The railroad has received 34 of the 380 M-8 cars on order from Kawasaki, said the official, Gene Colonese, Connecticut Department of Transportation rail administrator.
The latest report on the status of the M-8s is on the web site of the state Department of Transportation, also known as ConnDOT.
Here are some other highlights of the council's meeting, held in Stamford's Government Center:
"Quiet Cars" introduced here
Metro-North Railroad has started a three-month trial of having “quiet cars” on its weekday west-of-Hudson rail lines. The results of the trial will be released Sept. 1. At that time, the railroad will advise on plans for quiet cars on its Hudson, Harlem and New Haven Lines.
Susan Doering, Metro-North's Senior Director of Services and Stations, said the trial has been underway for 15 days and so far has gotten “mixed reviews” from commuters.
She said trains outgoing from New York have the last car as their quiet car, and there are many groups of passengers are used to socializing in that car in the evening.
Bicycle hooks to be tested this summer
ConnDOT has selected two designs of bicycle hooks for testing in M-8 cars this summer. The hooks will be installed in the open area reserved for persons in wheelchairs or baby carriages.
Opening of the new Fairfield Metro station in October
ConnDOT is planning to have the new Fairfield Metro station operational in October.
Colonese said his department is working with Metro-North to work the new station into the schedule to determine how many trains will stop there a day. The new station will be in the existing “Fairfield zone” for ticket prices.
Colonese said a system needs to be worked out for commuters who hold parking passes for the town’s existing stations who want to transfer them to Fairfield Metro when it opens. The new station has 1,400 parking spaces.
The station’s platform is long enough for a 12-car train.
Construction of the new West Haven station
The New Haven Line’s new West Haven station is under construction, and Colonese said the intent is to put it in service in 2012. It has 700 parking spaces and also has a platform that extends 12 car lengths.
Repair work at the Noroton Heights station
ConnDOT hopes to have construction at Noroton Heights station completed by July 8.
The elevated passenger crossing is shrouded in plastic due to lead paint removal, requiring commuters who park in the permit parking area to make a lengthy walk to get to the opposite platform. Colonese said the stairs for the elevated crossing are being repaired.
Colonese said half of the stations’s new canopies have been installed. He said he would be asking his construction unit at the station to expedite its work.