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Metro-North Railroads Break Ridership Records

Do the trains feel crowded? A record 40.5 million rode the rails of the New Haven Line of Metro-North in 2016.
Do the trains feel crowded? A record 40.5 million rode the rails of the New Haven Line of Metro-North in 2016. Photo Credit: File

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The New Haven Line of Metro North, which whisks many Fairfield County residents to work each day, remains the busiest commuter rail line in the nation as the railroad announced Monday it has set records for ridership.

The New Haven commuter rail line saw ridership grow during 2016 with a total of 40.5 million passenger trips during the year – surpassing last year’s total by approximately 20,000, according to data released by Metro-North.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) report said that Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroads saw record ridership with LIRR carrying 89.3 million customers in 2016, a 1.9 percent increase over last year and the highest ridership since 1949. Metro-North Railroad carried approximately 86.5 million in 2016, the highest ridership in Metro-North’s history. Metro-North’s ridership for 2016 surpasses the previous record of 86.3 million, set last year. Metro-North’s total ridership has more than doubled since the railroad was founded in 1983.

“Our future economic growth depends on the vibrancy and vitality of an efficient transportation system that attracts workers and businesses and moves goods and services as efficiently as possible,” Governor Dannel Malloy said. “For too long, our state did not make the needed investments to keep up with our transportation needs, and now we are making the long overdue steps to make our bold vision of a modernized transportation system into a reality. ”

Over the last several years, the State of Connecticut made a number of investments into improving the New Haven Line, most notably putting into service 405 new, state-of-the-art M-8 rail cars, in addition to a number of other investments, such as new maintenance facilities, new bridges and new overhead power lines. In November, Governor Malloy announced that the state is purchasing an additional 60 M-8 rail cars to add to the fleet.

“Our investments in our rail system are clearly paying off,” Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said. “Our customers consistently tell us how happy they are with the new and more efficient and reliable M-8s.”

The New Haven Line is owned by the State of Connecticut and is operated by Metro-North Railroad under contract to the state Department of Transportation.

All three of Metro-North’s East of Hudson Lines surpassed records. The Harlem Line and the Hudson Line beat last year’s record by over 125,000 each, with 27.7 million rides on the Harlem Line and 16.6 million rides on the Hudson Line.

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