Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  • 173 posts
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 12
  by Ken S.
 
DutchRailnut wrote:impossble to do, US health code could never be satisfied.
No wash facility, no bathroom with proper facilities for food establishment etc etc etc
A repeat of that Amtrak/Subway disaster.
  by DutchRailnut
 
basically on a bar car you could only sell pre-packaged food and coffee made elsewhere.
  by NH2060
 
I guess that means there won't be a "Farewell To The Bar Car" event if they've already decided to withdraw them from service..

I agree with everyone saying they're a waste. It was really nothing more than a "luxury" to begin with since the territory they have run through over the past 35 years his one of the more affluent parts of the nation and is home to many wealthy inhabitants who would take advantage of club cars, etc.

Now has any independent group of say wealthy bankers, etc. ever proposed paying for their own MU bar car (including electricity usage, maintenance costs, etc.) to be used on select trains? This would satisfy the "wants" (MNR riders don't really "need" one as much as they need actual seats) of a bar car, but with the added benefit of exclusivity making it a true "club car" rather than a *public* bar car. Furthermore MNR would be reimbursed for any costs involved and could focus solely on maximizing seating capacity. IIRC the North Jersey Coast Line has had a similar car (albeit a rebuilt Comet IIM) in the past. Though the costs of paying for, maintaining, etc. a single MU car would be pretty steep, I don't think there aren't enough affluent commuters who'd be willing to pitch in to have their own car (though it wouldn't look good when word gets out to the press ;-) )
  by TomNelligan
 
The New Haven and New York Central both ran a number of private membership-only commuter cars in the pre-Metro North era, as did the Lackawanna, Jersey Central, Chicago & North Western and probably other railroads that I'm forgetting at the moment. The former NH and NYC private cars came to an end as new MU and then standard coach equipment took over post-1970 but I don't have exact dates, and the Lackawanna's cars similarly lasted until the end of their DC MUs. These days, public railroads like MN and NJ Transit wouldn't run them because of the political correctness issue of allowing an elite group to have special service even if they were paying for it.
  by Steamboat Willie
 
Ridgefielder wrote:
CarterB wrote:Tired of the Fri and Sat night stumbling drunks?
That's more the 1:47 a.m. to New Haven-- a/k/a the Vomit Comet. From personal experience the rush-hour bar car patrons (self included :-D ) tend to be a pretty well-behaved bunch. Businessmen going home to Darien, Westport or New Canaan aren't usually drinking like fraternity boys on spring break.

I disagree with your statement. Had worked a lot of trains with bar car service with the upper echelon crowds, they too can be rather rambunctious. I wouldn't put the 1:47, train 1502/6502 on the pedestal for showcasing sad displays of humanity. The real eye popping stuff happens on 1500/1302/1304 - 6500/6302/6304.

The real juice if you will in keeping the bar car service around for as long as it survived was because of the above mentioned towns. The regular bar tender from an old job I owned had told me the good old boys have since moved on and the newer crowd do not have the same political clout. The bar cars served its purpose in other areas. In the event where trains expected to have a zillion bicycles onboard it was common practice among train crews to load up the bar cars with bikes to alleviate congestion in other cars.

For trains that had regularly scheduled bar car service there often were cliques. In such that you have different crowds whom prided themselves in congregating in the bar car for the trip back home. I know the Stamford crowd did not mingle with the New Canaan branch people. Same could be said about the Westport and Fairfield crowd with the Stamford. But it's become ever so evident with the inception of the M-8's, I would think the passengers would prefer having more reliable and comfortable transportation than getting old equipment. When they substituted my trains on various occasions with M-8's, there was little to no beef about it. They just made sure to flock to the bar carts on the platform before hand. If this is the final nail in the coffin for the bar car, I have fond memories but understand the direction this place wishes to travel from here on out without them.
  by PC1100
 
Here's a look back to the beginning, an article about the then new New Haven Line Café Cars in the March 1974 Penn Central Post. This is on the Canada Southern web site. It's at the bottom of Page 7 of the magazine/Page 8 of the PDF: http://www.canadasouthern.com/caso/post ... t-0374.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

Does anyone know what year the morning service ended?
  by Travelsonic
 
DutchRailnut wrote:What a lot of people do not understand is bar cars are underutilized money loosing cars.
yes bar service is profitable, but the bar car is NOT, so both MTA and CDOT are seeing less and less need for bar cars.
I am a little confused about that statement - what is meant by this?
  by Clean Cab
 
Bar cars can seat 180? I doubt if 10 Bar Cars could seat 180!!!
  by DutchRailnut
 
you do not need bar cars to serve drinks travelsonic.

as for what bar cars are left:
8651
8653
8657
8659
8661
8663
8665
8667
8669
  by Clean Cab
 
Only 7 bar pairs went through CSR, one pair is retired and awaiting scrapping and the other two pairs are sidelined, possibly pending retirement.
  by DutchRailnut
 
all 9 were in service this friday
  by lirr42
 
With all the chaos going on with the scheduling changes and the bad train OTP's it was probably going to be too difficult to reliably get a bar car pair on a particular train every day. Now if the inbound train is late, they can just send any old set out on that train and not have to worry about annoying the people who were expecting bar cars.

I bet if the old NHL schedules resume after this Bronx ROW improvement project you will see the bar cars resume too. Things are just too crazy now to ensure that there is a a bar car on any one particular train.
  by Trainer
 
A "Farewell to the Bar Car" would have made a great railfan trip. It wouldn't even matter where they went - just jockey the cars around in a yard somewhere and the Barcar Railfans wouldn't notice the difference after going in circles for a few rounds.

The issue around barcars - and food service in general, on MNCR and Amtrak - goes beyond the specific number of seats and the individual profit/loss of the operation. It has to do with the overall MNCR public offering and a recognition that MNCR has competition for the service it offers. The railroad offers more than a ride - it offers a commuting experience. If as a commuter I know that I can safely (and legally) unwind after a hard day with the help of a bar car, then it makes the whole commuter rail routine more attractive. If I can't, well, maybe I'll take the bus, or maybe I'll drive or carpool. Hopefully I won't have that same drink while I'm driving, but we all know there's a few who will. It would be interesting to conduct a DWI study after the demise of the bar cars.

Perhaps the after-work commuting martini is more a thing of the past, and if that's the case, it's time to move on. But while it's easy to get caught in the bean counting of the specific service itself, it's important to remember to count ALL the beans when making these kinds of decisions. A tiny increase in efficiency won't help if the overall ridership suffers, highway congestion increases, and CT DWI's go up on Friday afternoons.
Last edited by Trainer on Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by Trainer
 
lirr42 wrote:With all the chaos going on with the scheduling changes and the bad train OTP's it was probably going to be too difficult to reliably get a bar car pair on a particular train every day.
Good point. Perhaps they could have gotten around it by just sticking a bar car in whenever there was one available and not worrying too much about the timing. You might encounter one on the way home from work, but you could get a nice suprise in the morning sometimes too.

Arriving to work schloshed on Friday morning after riding the bar car has its advantages.
  by Ridgefielder
 
NH2060 wrote:Now has any independent group of say wealthy bankers, etc. ever proposed paying for their own MU bar car (including electricity usage, maintenance costs, etc.) to be used on select trains? This would satisfy the "wants" (MNR riders don't really "need" one as much as they need actual seats) of a bar car, but with the added benefit of exclusivity making it a true "club car" rather than a *public* bar car. Furthermore MNR would be reimbursed for any costs involved and could focus solely on maximizing seating capacity. IIRC the North Jersey Coast Line has had a similar car (albeit a rebuilt Comet IIM) in the past. Though the costs of paying for, maintaining, etc. a single MU car would be pretty steep, I don't think there aren't enough affluent commuters who'd be willing to pitch in to have their own car (though it wouldn't look good when word gets out to the press ;-) )
TomNelligan wrote:The New Haven and New York Central both ran a number of private membership-only commuter cars in the pre-Metro North era, as did the Lackawanna, Jersey Central, Chicago & North Western and probably other railroads that I'm forgetting at the moment. The former NH and NYC private cars came to an end as new MU and then standard coach equipment took over post-1970 but I don't have exact dates, and the Lackawanna's cars similarly lasted until the end of their DC MUs. These days, public railroads like MN and NJ Transit wouldn't run them because of the political correctness issue of allowing an elite group to have special service even if they were paying for it.
IIRC the members of the Southport club car actually approached the MTA about doing exactly what NH2060 suggested when the M2s were coming online in the early 1970s. They were turned down, not sure of the precise reasoning but I think it was a car-usage issue.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 12