Ride NYC’s oldest operating subway cars one last time before the MTA retires them

Posted On Mon, December 20, 2021 By

Posted On Mon, December 20, 2021 By In Events, Transportation

Photo of an R32 subway car by Mtattrain on Wikimedia

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is set to retire the R-32, one of the oldest operating subway cars in the world, in early 2022. The R-32 has carried New Yorkers to their destinations for 58 years but has fallen out of use due to the modernization of the subway system. To honor their incredible legacy, an R-32 train will run on each consecutive Sunday in December before being officially retired in early January.


Image courtesy of Marc A. Hermann/MTA

To commemorate its service, an R-32 will be running on the F line while making express stops on the D line on Dec. 19 and 26, and Jan. 2, 2022. Riders can board the train before it departs from the 2nd Ave. Station at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. before ending its route at the 145th St. Station.

Riders can also catch it at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. as it runs towards 2nd Ave. on the D line, leaving from 145th St. Station and making express stops on the F line.

For its final run on January 9, an R-32 will run on the Q line, the car’s route when it was first introduced on Sep. 14, 1964. Train enthusiasts can board the R-32 as it departs Brighton Beach at 10:00 a.m, 12:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. as it makes its way to 96 St while making express stops on the Brighton and Broadway lines via the Manhattan Bridge.

Likewise, riders can travel on the R-32 as it heads back towards Brighton Beach at 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.

“As we continue the work to modernize the transit system and improve the customer experience, it is truly bittersweet to say farewell to a fleet of historic R-32 trains that have served New Yorkers for nearly six decades,” New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano said. “A significant amount of history goes along with these trains and we’re delighted that we are able to offer the opportunity to ride them one–or even a few–more times in their final days.”

The retirement of the R-32’s is an indication of the MTA’s effort to modernize the subway system. Earlier this year, the MTA unveiled the R211, a new subway car that will ensure a smoother experience for riders and replace many of the older modeled cars.

Although many criticize the R-32 now for its aging look, it was once considered state-of-the-art and has features many subway riders grew to love. In fact, the MTA received inspiration from the R-32’s for their newest cars. With their retirement, no subway car in operation will give riders the ability to see out a front window.

These last runs mark the final step in the retirement of the R-32, which has been gradually phased out in the last decade as the newer R-160 cars were adopted. According to the MTA,

“A large portion of these cars were sunk in the Atlantic Ocean as part of an artificial reef program.”

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