HARTFORD, CT (AP / WCBS 880) – It’s been a long time coming for Connecticut commuters!

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reports from Stamford

The first set of long-awaited new commuter rail cars have begun running on the New Haven Line of Metro-North Railroad.

The eight new M-8 cars were put into service Tuesday for the Metro-North rail line. Officials say the train left Stamford at 10:30 a.m. and arrived on time at Grand Central Terminal in New York at 11:36 a.m.

SEE: More Photos of the New Rail Cars

A set of them made up the 7:16 a.m. train in Stamford on Wednesday and one man reacted, “New train? Alright!”

The state has ordered 380 Kawasaki cars to replace the aging fleet. The cars will run on the commuter line between New Haven and New York City.

The first batch of trains had been delayed because of problems that cropped up during the testing period, frustrating many commuters. The older fleet of train cars has been plagued by weather-related component failures this winter that resulted in crowded trains and below normal on-time performance, railroad officials said.

“Our elected official need to hear from their constituents on a regular basis how important quality transportation is, that they’re living in this county because the trains exist,” says Jim Cameron of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council.

“These cars have successfully completed extensive, systematic tests. The many challenges that were revealed during intensive, real-world operations of the most complex rail car in North America on the continent’s busiest rail corridor, have been resolved,” Metro-North President Howard Permut said of the new cars.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the 63,000 commuters who use the line daily can expect all 380 cars up and running by 2013. By the end of this year, about 80 new rail cars will be in service.

The new cars have roomier, high-back contoured seats with headrests, larger windows, better lighting and LED displays that show the next stop, officials said.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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