Shh! We’re Going to Connecticut

Connecticut commuters may want to practice their indoor voices this weekend, because on Monday, Metro-North Railroad will introduce “quiet cars” to its New Haven line for the first time.

These chambers of silence (or, at least, of muffled chatting) were implemented last summer on the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines, but Monday’s pilot program will be the first time Metro-North has asked some passengers to and from Connecticut to speak at a whisper.

According to a statement by the railroad, the quiet cars will be tested only on certain rush-hour trains. They will be the last car on trains going into Grand Central Terminal in the morning, and the first on the way out in the evening.

Terri Cronin, vice chairwoman of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, a riders’ group, said it was a welcome option for commuters and something the council had been requesting for many years. But she expressed some skepticism about whether riders would observe these new rules, which ban loud conversations and cellphone calls.

“We don’t have enough seats for people as it is,” she said, “so it might be hard to enforce this.”

The Metro-North press release lends credence to her concern: customers, it says, will be “self-monitoring,” though conductors will be authorized to issue something called a “shh card.” (The precise definition of such a card remained unclear Saturday afternoon.)

Does Ms. Cronin plan to take advantage of these muted spaces on her commute between Norwalk and Manhattan?

“No,” she said simply. “I usually go to the bar car on my way home.”

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