Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Metro North Railroad: Railcar Air Conditioning

Metro-North Railroad provides commuter rail service between New York City and nine counties in lower New York State and eastern Connecticut. We examined the actions taken by Metro-North to ensure that temperatures inside air conditioned passenger railcars were comfortable. We found that the temperatures in the railcars generally conformed to Metro-North’s standards and defects in the air conditioning system were usually repaired within a reasonable time.

However, we found that improvements may be needed in the temperature standards used by Metro-North. For example, the standards allow temperatures inside railcars to exceed 80 degrees, and even be as warm as 85 degrees, when it is very hot outside. We identified more than 100 railcars with reported temperatures of between 80 and 85 degrees, including eight with a temperature of 85 degrees, and questioned whether most passengers would be comfortable at these temperatures. We also noted that the standards do not set thresholds for excessively cold temperatures. We identified some railcars with reported temperatures of less than 64 degrees, including one railcar with a reported temperature of only 43 degrees, and believed it highly unlikely passengers would be comfortable in such a railcar. We recommended Metro-North modify its temperature standards to set a threshold for uncomfortably cold temperatures and a tighter standard for what constitutes uncomfortably warm temperatures, as is done by the Long Island Rail Road for its railcars.

For a complete copy of Report 2006-S-83 click here.