The other day the New York Times had an article about the supposed demise of the Bar Car on the New Haven Line. It has been widely reported in the blogosphere, even on Gothamist and the Huffington Post. Interestingly, Jim Cameron, the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council Chairman, sent out an email alert saying it isn’t so. In fact he goes so far as to say that the New York Times’ reporter “ignored the facts in favor of a sexier story” when writing the original story. Below is the transcript of the email:

Fellow commuters…
“Never let the facts get in the way of a good story”.
This old newsroom mantra apparently was the rule when the NY Times yesterday ignored the facts and presented the headline… One for the Road? Bar Cars May Face a Last Call

Though three members of the CT Rail Commuter Council worked with reporter Michael Grynbaum to get the story right, he ignored the facts in favor of a sexier story. The reporter implied that when the new M8 cars arrive, the 8 existing bar cars would be replaced. Not so! The 8 bar cars we have all have undergone recent rehab’s and can run for 10 – 15 more years. He also implied that “the recession” might force a rethinking of plans to order new bar cars.

The Commuter Council, meeting last night, was reassured by both Metro-North and CT DOT that there are no plans to eliminate bar cars on Connecticut trains. CDOT also told the Council they would share design concepts with us for new M8 bar cars, currently under bid from Kawasaki. The issue of continued if not improved bar car service has been a priority of the Commuter Council for the 25 years of its existence. We will continue that advocacy… and seek a correction from the NY Times for its sloppy reporting.


Jim Cameron, Chairman
CT Metro-North Rail Commuter Council

Some time ago my friend Despina took a ride in the Bar Car and sent me some photos she said I should post. I figured now would be a good time to do so. Unfortunately, she rode in the Bar Car in the morning, so it wasn’t open. This led to a discussion as to whether we thought people would purchase things from the Bar Car in the morning, if it were open. And we weren’t directly referring to alcohol, though I am sure a few people out there would certainly consume it on the way to work. They could serve coffee and croissants and other breakfast type things.

Riding in the Bar Car is on my list of things to do before I die. But since the Bar Car will still be around for a while longer, I guess I don’t have to worry too much.

1 Response

  1. Sheryl says:

    Interesting… I am still going to blog about this. I don’t have all the photos I want yet. Now I can link to your post as well as the NYT piece. I think I am going to add this to my list of things to do on birthday week (in August) because I want to ride the bar car and partake in some commuting drinking as well as getting photos. I just hope the bathroom is decent enough for use…

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