Transportation Transformation: A Batch of New Subway Cars Are Chugging Into the Station

TRACK CHANGES: Riders will soon see upgraded entrances (bottom right) and platforms (left) as well as roomier new subway cars (top right).
TRACK CHANGES: Riders will soon see upgraded entrances (bottom right) and platforms (left) as well as roomier new subway cars (top right).


You might not have known New York’s state’s colors are blue and gold, but 1,025 new Big Apple subway cars will be decorated in them. Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the redesigned subway cars for the 6 million people who ride the 100-year-old subway system, as well as the renovation of 31 subway stations. There are approximately 6,300 cars in the system, and the new cars will replace the R46s, which date back to the 1970s.

Cuomo noted that $27 billion has been appropriated for the five-year Metropolitan Transportation Authority capital program, marking “the largest amount of money ever invested in the MTA capital plan, period.” All of these changes are part of the “continuing evolution of the MTA,” the governor said. While the price of the new cars isn’t established, the MTA most recently awarded a contract in 2012 for 300 R179 subway cars to replace R32s and R42s. That total budget, an agency spokesman said, is $735 million. All in all, Cuomo said, “I’m excited about the design. I’m excited about the innovation. The challenge now is to get it done.” What’s going to be new about the subway cars besides the blue stripe with gold accents along the sides? Here’s a rundown:

  • Wider doors (increased to 58 inches from 50 inches), which Cuomo said could reduce dwell time in the station by a third
  • 750 of the cars will be open-car end design, replacing the door between cars with an accordion-like connector
  • LED headlights
  • New grab bars
  • Wifi
  • USB charging ports (“People want their device to work 24 hours a day,” the governor said)
  • Flip seats
  • Illuminated door opening alerts (green light with indication around door and an indication of which side door will open on)
  • Digital advertising
  • Security cameras (also in the station, “because this is a different world,” Cuomo said)
  • Full-color digital customer information displays

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