"Bar Cars" Will Return to New Haven Line in New Rail Fleet

Sep 14, 2016

Rail commuters on the New Haven Line might have a little more space to stretch their legs with the addition of 60 new M-8 train cars, Governor Dannel Malloy announced Tuesday. On ten of those cars, passengers will have the option to buy a drink at a built-in bar.

“I think it’s part of our history. It’s part of our culture, it’s part of the fun. And quite frankly, these cars carry a lot of people,” Malloy said.

Metro-North bar cars have been around since the 1970s, but the last fleet was retired in 2014.

Malloy said the total cost of new cars will be $308 million, two-thirds of which the state will pay for. The other third will be paid by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Malloy said.

Malloy said the state bond commission will consider allocating $200 million for the cars later this month.

Each new car will have 105 seats, and the new fleet will start to roll out in January 2019.  

The first M-8s arrived in Connecticut in 2011 and feature more spacious seating, electrical outlets, and bike racks.

A rendering of an M-8 bar car.
Credit Office of Governor Dannel Malloy

Malloy said increasing ridership on the New Haven Line factored into the state's decision to buy more cars.

“The idea that we’re celebrating a 12 percent expansion on the use of this line at a time when gas prices effectively went down is quite remarkable, and I think is a testament to the progress we’re making,” Malloy said.

In 2015, commuter rail trains on the New Haven line provided 40.3 million rides.

Meanwhile, at the end of the year, the state is planning to raise fares on the New Haven Line by six percent to help cover cuts to the state Department of Transportation’s budget.

WNPR's Lori Mack contributed to this report.