A first hand report on the new M-8 MTA rail cars

I had read about the long overdue M8 rail cars and heard about them from some NY area commuters but until last night on the 9:37 New Haven line train I had only been able to wonder what the fancy new MTA rail cars were really like.

First of all there is a lot of red. Red faux-leather seats, a red floor. Since the New Haven line has red as its base color scheme that would make sense and I imagine any new M-7 rail cars on Metro-North line trains would be correspondingly blue. The train aisles are wider (good) and the seats a bit wider as well. The cars are built by Kawasaki and will replace the current fleet of over 200 M-2 rail cars some of which are nearly 40 years old.

The air conditioning worked well (I have been on a few regular trains recently where there was little or no A/C) and the restrooms (I had to see for myself) were clean. Outside the restrooms there was a little indicator to show whether or not they were occupied or not. I noticed the restrooms received a lot more traffic than is normally the case. I guess people were curious and more comfortable with the new facilities as opposed to waiting to avoid using the train restroom.

While the M-8 trains can reach speeds of 90 MPH my journey took exactly the same amount of time that it always does. On the ancient New Haven line at least I will never expect the trains to approach 90 MPH. There are storage hooks for bicycles in the disabled rider area of each rail car.

There was no Wi-Fi availability. I was somewhat aware of that but held out faint hope that there might be a few cars testing Wi-Fi access. After all on airplanes the Wi-Fi units are relatively heavyweight and thus cause an increased use of fuel. But the airlines are soldiering on offering more and more Wi-Fi connections while flying. I cannot understand why new train rail cars would be built without Wi-Fi access – can you?

There are no power outlets either. How difficult would it have been to install a half dozen power outlets in each car?

There’s no doubt the new M-8 cars are a much needed improvement over the 1970’s and 1980’s cars currently in use. But I cannot help thinking there were a few things left on the drawing board that could have been implemented but were not.

How long will it take before the aura of newness wears off?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver
This entry was posted in Customer Experiences, Innovation, Living in the World Today. Bookmark the permalink.

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