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Connecticut DOT delays revenue service for M-8 cars to continue tests


Yesterday, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced that its new M-8 rail cars will not enter passenger service on MTA Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line until sometime after Jan. 1 because testing needs to continue.

The state so far has received 24 new cars from Kawasaki Rail Car and extensive “shake-down” testing must be completed before revenue service can begin, CDOT officials said in a prepared statement. The cars had been scheduled to enter revenue service by year’s end, but an electrical interference problem emerged that must be addressed, they said.

“We have found a way to resolve this issue and we hope to have it completely implemented sometime next week,” said CDOT Commissioner Jeffrey Parker. “Engineering staff at Kawasaki and Metro-North are working hard to get this issue resolved quickly, but the fix must be fully tested and verified before we will allow these cars to move into the final stage of testing.”

After the electrical problem is addressed, six of the M-8s will begin a final round of testing — expected to last three to four weeks — that requires the cars to travel 4,000 consecutive miles without encountering a major problem. Then, the remaining cars must complete 1,000-mile tests prior to entering revenue service.

The state has ordered 342 M-8 cars from Kawasaki Rail Car and retains an option to order 38 more. Kawasaki is building the cars at a Lincoln, Neb., plant and plans to deliver the vehicles at a rate of 10 per month once production fully ramps up. All cars are slated for delivery by 2014.

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More News from 12/16/2010