M8 (railcar)

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MNCRR M-8 at NEC Port Chester.jpg
Metro-North M8 train at Port Chester, NY along the New Haven Line
In service March 2011-present[1]
Manufacturer Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Family name M-Series
Number built 405 (in use)[2]
60 additional planned[3]
Formation 190 Married pairs, 25 Singles
Capacity Seated passengers:
110 (A car); 101 (B car)[4]
114 (Single car)
Operator(s) Metro-North Railroad
Connecticut Department of Transportation
Car length 85 ft 0 in (25,908 mm)[4]
Width 10 ft 6 in (3,200 mm)[4]
Maximum speed 100 mph (161 km/h) (Design)
80 mph (129 km/h) (Service)
Weight 144,850 pounds (65,700 kg)
(A car)
143,780 pounds (65,220 kg)
(B car)[4]
97,659 pounds (44,297 kg)
(Single car)
Transmission Mitsubishi Electric AC Traction Motors
Power supply Third rail, Catenary
Electric system(s) 750 V DC (Third rail)
12.5 kV 60 Hz AC (Catenary)
25 kV 60 Hz AC (Catenary)
Current collection method Contact shoe
Braking system(s) Regenerative / Pneumatic
Coupling system Budd Pin and Cup coupler
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The M8 is an electric multiple unit railroad car built by Kawasaki for use on the New Haven Line of the Metro-North Railroad. It replaced the fleet of 244 M2s which entered service in 1973-74, as well as 54 M4s and 48 M6s which entered service in 1987-88 and 1994 respectively.[5]


Interior of a typical M8 car

The M8 is similar in design to the M7 car used on the Harlem Line and the Hudson Line. Like the M7, the M8 is able to pick up 750 Volt DC direct current power from underruning third rail for operation along the New Haven Line from Grand Central Terminal to Pelham, where the traction power source is transferred to the overhead catenary wire, the overhead wire is at a nomimal 12.5 kV AC power from overhead lines via Pantographs for operation from Pelham, New York to New Haven, Connecticut (as well as along the New Canaan Branch), and 25 kV AC power from catenary for operation along the Shore Line East route east of New Haven to New London, Conn. Unlike in earlier classes, changeover between the two AC voltages can be made by the engineer while on the move.[6]

In response to rising number of people seeking to use their bicycle to solve the "last mile" problem between Metro-North stations and destinations, ConnDOT has pledged to provide bike racks for storage of two bicycles in the disabled riders area of each rail car.[7] In the event that a disabled rider boards a car, all cyclists must move their bicycles to the entry vestibule. In spite of the hook installation, during peak travel periods only folding bicycles are permitted aboard most Metro North trains.

The M8s have new roomier, high-back seats wih individual headrests and curved arm rests for more comfort. For improved safety, especially in the vestibules, the car have larger windows and better lighting. An additional saferty feature is the installation of intercom systems that customers can use to contact the train crew in case of emergency. Other features included curved luggage racks, coat hooks, electricl outlets to charge personal devices, and LED displays that show that next stop and automated announcements. The cars also have external public address speakers, and electronic destination signs. Higher reliability is possible with single leaf doors, which also lessen the susceptibility to snow intrusion.[7]

The exterior design of the new M8 rail car is red, in keeping with the traditional exterior color of the New Haven Line rail cars. The body shape is similar to the M7 rail cars that are in operation on the Hudson and Harlem lines.

Delivery schedule[edit]

Four new M8 cars being shipped by CSX through Ohio
Test train in acceptance yard at New Haven, Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Transportation order consists of 300 cars, with an 80-car option order. This option was approved on August 11, 2010.[8][9] Full production of the M8's was scheduled to begin in early 2010 but has since been delayed.[10] Kawasaki has cited problems with steel suppliers and sub-contractors (which is responsible for 60% of the cars). Once production is at full output the cars will be delivered at a rate of ten per month.

In December 2010, the first 24 cars were received and began to undergo testing.[11]

The cars were originally supposed to go into revenue service in December 2010, however, because of technical problems, revenue service was deferred until March 1, 2011.[1][12][13] The first run of the initial 8-car set (consisting of cars 9114, 9115, 9116, 9117, 9112, 9113, 9108, and 9109) originated in Stamford at 10:30 am, arriving in Grand Central Terminal at 11:28 am. A total of ten 8-car train sets were slated to enter service by the end of the year.[14]

On May 7, 2011, Kawasaki announced that deliveries of 20 cars of the 80 scheduled to enter service by the end of the year would be delayed due to supply problems; Kawasaki said it would build the cars at a later date and absorb the costs incurred.[15] At the time of the announcement, 16 cars had entered service, with an additional ten delivered but not yet in service.[15]

Two months later, an investigative report by WABC-TV's news operation examined correspondence between Kawasaki and Metro-North over the delays in introducing the cars. At the time it had been claimed the cars merely had software problems, but the documents reporters obtained under New York's Freedom of Information Law showed Kawasaki repeatedly asking for deadline extensions over issues such as bad weather and financial difficulties at the company that supplied the onboard toilets. Railroad officials complained in emails reviewed by the channel that some of the requests "defie[d] logic" and were a waste of time. Kawasaki said such multiple delays were "not unusual given the complexity of the cars and suppliers" and were often beyond their control.[16]

On July 20, 2011, the Connecticut Department of Transportation announced the order of 25 unpowered M8 railcars, with options for up to 25 more, at a cost of $93 million to replace the 48 car M6 fleet.[17]

On October 16, 2012, Metro-North announced that they would be installing 15 weekday and 30 weekend M8 trains to their schedule to accommodate increased ridership.[18]

Damaged M8 cars in Bridgeport yard two weeks after the Fairfield train crash

On May 17, 2013, several cars were damaged in a train accident in Fairfield, Connecticut.[19] Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut credited the M8 railcars' design with potentially saving lives.[20] On January 29, 2014, the MTA board approved a miscellaneous procurement to purchase three additional M8 cars (one pair and one additional B car; to replace cars lost in the Fairfield Crash), twelve car trucks, spare parts, additional bench test equipment and repairs to four additional M8s. Of the total cost of $36 million, $8.4 million will be funded by a credit from Kawasaki in the original contract. The remainder will be funded by Metro-North and ConnDOT.[21]

The original order of 405 cars was completed on July 13, 2015, except for the 25 unpowered cars on option. Three M2 trainsets remain in service on weekdays; otherwise M8s provide all service.[22]

On September 13, 2016, Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy announced plans for the state to purchase 60 additional M8 cars, funded by $200 million from the state and $108 million from the MTA, with delivery beginning in 2019. The cars cost $3.85 million apiece for a total of $231 million; the remaining cost covers other expenses like inspections plus a 15% contingency. Ten of the cars will be bar cars, similar to those of the former M2 fleet retired in 2014.[7][23][24]

Car roster[edit]

An 8-car set with lead car 9109 being tested in New Haven. This set was the first in service on the New Haven Line.
A set of M8 cars in New Haven Yard in 2016
  • 9100-9199 (CDOT / Married Pair)
100 cars
  • 9200-9299 (MTA / Married Pair)
100 cars
  • 9300-9399 (CDOT / Married Pair)
100 cars
  • 9400-9421 (MTA / Married Pair)
22 cars
  • 9460-9476 (MTA / Single Car; Even # Only)
9 cars
  • 9500-9519 (CDOT / Married Pair)
20 cars
  • 9560-9590 (CDOT / Single Car; Even # Only)
16 cars
  • 9600-9623 (CDOT / Married Pair)
24 cars
  • 9530/9631 - 9542/9643 (CDOT / Potential Cafe Married Pairs; 95xx Even # Only, 96xx Odd # Only)
14 cars

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Stannard, Ed (March 1, 2011). "New Metro-North M8 rail cars take first run to New York". New Haven Register. Retrieved March 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ http://web.mta.info/mnr/html/newM8.html
  3. ^ "Gov. Malloy Announces Decision to Purchase 60 Additional Rail Cars for Expanded Capacity on the New Haven Line" (Press release). Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy. September 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d Martin, Cassidy (March 1, 2011). "Checking the Schedule". Greenwich Time. cover. 
  5. ^ Cameron, Jim (September 26, 2007). "Desigining the new M8 rail cars". Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  6. ^ "M-8 Rail Cars Project No. 300-0116" (PDF). Connecticut Department of Transportation. March 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-29. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b c Technology, Department of Information. "Gov. Malloy Announces Decision to Purchase 60 Additional Rail Cars for Expanded Capacity on the New Haven Line - Connecticut's Official State Website". portal.ct.gov. Retrieved 2016-09-15. 
  8. ^ "Connecticut to purchase 80 more cars for Metro-North line". Progressive Railroading. August 6, 2010. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  9. ^ Cassidy, Martin (October 21, 2009). "First of new M8 railcars leaving Japan in days, Metro-North chief says". The Stamford Advocate. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  10. ^ Cameron, Jim (October 31, 2009). "New M8 Rail Cars A Year Late In Delivery". Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Unveiling the new M8 cars". NBC Connecticut. November 15, 2010. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  12. ^ Haynes, Crystal (December 16, 2010). "Glitch keeps new M-8 rail cars out of service". WTNH. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Connecticut DOT delays revenue service for M-8 cars to continue tests". Progressive Railroading. December 16, 2010. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  14. ^ Grynbaum, Michael B. (March 1, 2011). "On Metro-North's New Haven Line, New Cars Arrive". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Supply problems disrupt M-8 deliveries". Trains Magazine. May 6, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  16. ^ Hoffer, Jim (June 29, 2011). "Investigation into delayed new Metro North train cars". WABC-TV. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Connecticut places order for un-powered M-8 railcars". Trains Magazine. July 20, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Metro-North Adds More Trains to New Haven Line". October 16, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Metro North Crash: Injuries Reported After Commuter Trains Collide In Connecticut". Huffington Post. May 17, 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  20. ^ "Trains May Not Run for Days in Crash Area". New York Times. May 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  21. ^ "Procurements January 2014". Meeting of the Metro-North Railroad Committee January 2014 (PDF) (Report). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 27, 2014. pp. 17, 22–23. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Update: New Haven Line Rail Cars". May 4, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2011. 
  23. ^ Stannard, Ed (September 13, 2016). "Metro-North to get 60 new train cars, including 10 bar cars, starting in 2019". New Haven Register. Retrieved September 14, 2016. 
  24. ^ Davis, Mark; Correspondent, News 8 Chief Capitol (2016-09-13). "It's official: 'bar cars' coming back to Metro-North". WTNH Connecticut News. Retrieved 2016-09-16.