Metro-North releases tribute to Penn Central/MTA partnership

Metro-North P32DC-AM 217 wears a special wrap paying tribute to the 1970 partnership bewteen Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Penn Central for public support of commuter train service out of Grand Central Terminal. —Photo by DeAndre Walters

Metro-North releases tribute to Penn Central/MTA partnership

by Otto M. Vondrak

On March 11, Metro-North P32DC-AM 217 made its first revenue trip on Train 734 to Grand Central Terminal wearing a special wrap celebrating the historic partnership between Penn Central and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that inaugurated an era of public support for commuter rail service on the lines operating out of Grand Central Terminal. Once the MTA and PC inked an agreement for funding subsidy in 1970, the state agency requested that equipment be painted in New York State colors of blue and yellow to show the public that a new era of public-private partnership had begun. On July 28, 1970, FL9s 5014 and 5050 were the first to emerge in the new paint. Penn Central continued to operate commuter service on the Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven lines on a contract basis for MTA until the formation of Conrail on April 1, 1976.

Penn Central 5059ABOVE: Penn Central 5059 wears New York State colors of blue and yellow, leading a Harlem Line commuter train at Bedford Hills, N.Y., in 1971. —Photo by Art Deeks

This latest heritage tribute from Metro-North is the fourth in a series celebrating the commuter railroad’s 40th anniversary in 2023. The first tribute unit was released in May 2023, celebrating Metro-North’s red, blue, and silver image of the 1980s and 1990s. This was followed up by a tribute to the Conrail era of operation from 1976 to 1983 released in November 2023. The third unit featured the distinctive “lightning stripe” design paying tribute to predecessor New York Central, original owner of the Hudson and Harlem lines until 1968.

According to reports, additional heritage units are planned to follow later this year as a continuation of the 40th anniversary celebration, including a tribute to employees. A subsidiary of the MTA, Metro-North Railroad was created in 1983 to take over operation of the Harlem and Hudson lines in New York, contract operation of the New Haven Line for Connecticut DOT, and a portion of the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley lines shared with NJ Transit operating out of Hoboken, N.J.

Railfan & Railroad Magazine

This article was posted on: March 11, 2024