Darien resident Jim Cameron was one of the first people to ride Metro-North's debut M-8 train when it rolled out of Stamford at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, weeks earlier than many expected. "The ride was very smooth," said Cameron, who heads the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council. The six-car train made all the local stops on the way to Grand Central Terminal. "It's quieter than the existing cars. The windows are bigger, there's better lighting. It was very comfortable."
The new cars, which were supposed to arrive last year, have been delayed by months of technical difficulties. This first set just completed its test run of 4,000 error-free miles last week. Metro-North said that it expects a second eight-car train to begin carrying paying customers next week.
"It was interesting to see the reactions of commuters as they stepped on the train this morning," Cameron said of the first ride. "Some of them looked at it like it was a UFO. Others just stepped on without noticing that they were taking part in history."
Metro-North did not advertise the launch of the new train, a move that Cameron believes was an effort to reduce the number of people hoping to board it. Metro-North hopes to roll out the 380 new M-8 cars at a rate of about 10 per month.
Cameron said, "Today was symbolic as the first run of this tram set, but it will be a while before regular commuters start seeing the new trains every day."
What do you think of the debut of the new M-8 cars? Do you look forward to riding them? Share you thoughts in the space below.