New Bar Cars May Make Commuting on the Metro-North Bearable

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The golden age.Photo: Hudson

Surely we’re not alone in pining for the golden age of rail travel: the full menus, the luxurious sleepers, and most of all, the bar cars. While decent meals on the rails are probably gone for good, bar cars are set for something of a comeback — at least on some of the trains running between New York City and Connecticut.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Connecticut Department of Transportation has ordered 60 new train cars, including 10 that will be retrofitted to include a bar. The bar cars are intended for the New Haven line of the Metro-North railroad, a popular commuter line running between New York City, and New Haven, Connecticut.

Apparently, with no bar cars to congregate in, commuters on the New Haven line had taken to gathering in the areas by the train doors at the front of the cars. One regular claims that on Friday nights there could be as many as 20 drinkers jammed into the cramped space, which seems as unpleasant for the revelers as it does for the other less-booze-inclined passengers.

Commuters on the line actually haven’t had to face their families sober for all that long, as the last of the older-generation bar cars on the New Haven Line were discontinued in 2014. But the New York lines of the Metro-North haven’t boasted bar cars since the 1980s.

Thirsty commuters — at least the ones interviewed by the Journal — are thrilled by the announcement. One even made the somewhat dubious claim that “it’s not about getting alcohol,” but “being able to be in a place with a bunch of people who like to be together and talk.”

Connecticut officials are planning to make an announcement about the bar cars later this week.