The future has arrived, and it’s delayed, of course. The first of the city’s shiny new subway cars was delivered to the MTA yard at 207th street in Inwood last night. The new R179 cars are being made upstate by Canadian company Bombardier and are slated to replace old cars on the C, A, J, M and Z lines (the trains on the C line are the oldest); a final decision on which lines will get the new cars hasn’t been made at this time. The newly-arrived car is a test model, though; we won’t be packing into the new cars like sardines until at least 2018.
300 of the R179s are on order, with more test cars expected to arrive in the next few days. The cars are 60 feet long and though they won’t look too different from the current newer R160 cars that run on the E, F, N, Q lines, they’ll reportedly be fitted with cameras and they’re far more advanced mechanically and electronically.
Second Ave. Sagas tells us that Bombardier was supposed to deliver the test cars last year with the remainder to arrive by 2017. The two-year delay, with new cars scheduled to arrive in 2018 and the old clunkers remaining in circulation until 2022–is reportedly costing the MTA at least $50 million.
So what’s the hold-up? Sources have said that a “welding issue” is partly responsible for the costly delays, and the company, who supplies cars to several other city transit systems, is going through some “economic turbulence.” The Canadian company was the low bidder for the new cars, but the costs of maintenance on the current aging fleet due to the delivery delays has “completely wiped away” any cost savings.
Renderings of Governor Cuomo’s proposed new subway cars.
As 6sqft reported, Governor Cuomo recently unveiled plans to build 1,025 new subway cars and to modernize dozens of the city’s more subway stations. The planned new fleet–which does not include the R179 cars–will have an open-gangway format, wider doors, Wi-fi, USB ports, better lighting, cell service, security cameras, full color digital information displays, and a blue and gold color palette to rep New York’s official state colors. As part of a $27 billion capital plan that was approved in May, the new cars are intended to help alleviate overcrowding and reduce delays. Which is somewhat ironic, since replacement of the city’s subway cars has been plagued with perpetual delays; as the old cars roll on, repairs costs pile up, and the cycle repeats itself.
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