MTA NYC Transit Takes Delivery of Final Set of New Subway Cars

The final units of the 1,662-car order of brand new R160 subway cars have been delivered to MTA New York City Transit and are in service. Like the preceding orders of new technology cars, the R160s have brightly-lit interiors, crystal-clear digitized voice announcements, advanced heating-ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) and a smooth air-cushioned ride.

The gleaming new-technology cars were unloaded from flatbed trucks in May and rolled into the system at the 207th Street Maintenance Facility. They were paced into service along the lettered lines less than a month later.

The cars were built as a joint venture by Alstom and Kawasaki, and funded in the MTA's 2005-2009 Capital Program with monies provided by the Federal Transit Administration. Deliveries of the cars began nearly five years ago and since then, the fleet has earned a reputation for high reliability, recently operating an average of more than 370,000 miles between mechanical failures.

Other features include digital information boards and the Flexible Information Notice Display (FIND) system, which incorporates a video screen, scrolling station names as the train progresses and a route map that can be changed if a train switches to another line. And, like the new technology R142 cars that have been in service since late 2000 on the numbered lines, the R160s have an advanced heating and cooling system which is designed to be easier to maintain than the units in older cars.

"A lot of work went into the development of the R160 fleet and these cars have allowed us to retire hundreds of subway cars that first entered service in the mid to late 1960s, said Carmen Bianco, Senior Vice President of the Department of Subways. "These cars are state-of-the-art, and designed to provide customers with far more information and comfort than older models and they are designed to last at least through mid century."

The R160 cars have several advanced operating and maintenance features, including computer-monitored throttles and speedometers for better control and smoother ride and an onboard, computerized diagnostic system that allows quicker repair when a failure does occur. The new technology car fleets (R142/A, R143 and R160) have proven to be extremely reliable.

Gone from the rails are more than 1,500 subway cars in service for more than 40 years. The majority of these cars have been stripped, cleaned and placed on the Atlantic seafloor where they joined more than 1,000 redbirds as artificial reef material. A lucky few have ended up as exhibits in the MTA's New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights—a great place to catch all of the trains you've missed.