MTA unveils first look at new open-gangway subway cars

January 22, 2020

Photo courtesy of the MTA on Flickr

Straphangers will soon be able to move freely between some subway cars. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday released photos of the city’s newest subway fleet which features an “open-gangway” design, or accordion-like walls located at the ends of cars. The R211 car design is meant to increase capacity by allowing for better movement and “customer flow.” Expected to be partially delivered later this year, the new subway cars are part of a nearly $4 billion contract awarded to Kawasaki Industries in 2018.

r211, nyc subway, mta r211, nyc subway, mta
Photos courtesy of the MTA on Flickr

The open-gangway design replaces the door between subway cars to create more space, safely. Other new design elements include wider doors to let more customers on and off more quickly, digital displays and advertisements, and a blue and gold exterior.

The new cars will eventually replace the MTA’s fleet of R46 cars, which were built in the late 1970s and run on the A, F, R, and C lines, as well as the Staten Island Railway.

“We are very excited about these latest developments in our R211 car production because these new cars represent the future of the New York subway and will be the new standard for all new NYC Transit subway cars going forward,” Frank Jezycki, the chief operating officer of the Department of Subways, said in a statement.

Schedule of R211 production and delivery presented Jan 21; via MTA

The roughly $3.69 billion contract is set up in three phases for a total of more than 1,600 cars, with the first batch of cars scheduled to be delivered by Kawasaki this year. The first phase involves $1.4 billion for 535 R211 cars, but it’s unclear as of now how many of them will feature the open gangway design.

According to the MTA, 30 pilot R211 cars, 20 of them with open-gangways, will be delivered to NYC Transit for testing this year. Following the test of pilot cars, the production of the base R211 order will begin, which is expected to take two years, by August 2023.

The MTA says the production process is “on schedule and on budget,” unlike the contract the MTA has with Bombardier. The Canadian company delivered the last fleet of new cars two years behind schedule, with many of the cars having mechanical issues. The agency pulled 300 of the Bombardier-manufactured subway cars from service earlier this month after reports of the doors opening while moving.


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