R33 World's Fair (New York City Subway car)

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R33 World's Fair (New York City Subway car)
Train of Many Colors 4 8 08 at 40 Lowery.jpg
R33 WF 9306, in its original colors, leads the Train of Many Colors through 40 St – Lowery St on a <7> express run to Mets – Willets Point, April 2008
NYCS R33S 9306.jpg
R33 WF 9306 in service on the 7 route
Manufacturer St. Louis Car Company
Built at St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Constructed 1963
Entered service 1963
Refurbishment 1985
Scrapped 2001, 2013
Number built 40
Number in service (24 in work service)
Number preserved 2
Number scrapped 7 (7 unknown)
Fleet numbers 9306–9345
Capacity 44 (seated)
Operator New York City Subway
Car body construction LAHT (Low Alloy High Tensile) steel
Car length 51.04 feet (15.56 m)
Width 8.75 feet (2,667 mm)
Height 11.86 feet (3,615 mm)
Doors 6
Weight 75,122 lb (34,075 kg)
Traction system Westinghouse XCA248E with Westinghouse (WH) 1447C
Auxiliaries Motor-generator and battery set (WH YX304E)
Electric system(s) 600 V DC Third rail
Current collection method Contact shoe
Braking system(s) WABCO, "SMEE" (electrodynamic)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The R33 World's Fair (R33 WF) is a New York City Subway car built in late 1963. They were made for the "A" Division, but only assigned to the 7 service (IRT Flushing Line) and were based out of Corona Yard. They were used to make 11-car trains with the R36 WF cars, which were built as two-car sets (pairs). They were built by the St. Louis Car Company in St. Louis, Missouri, for the 1964 New York World's Fair.[1]

Although the R33/36 WF cars were referred to as Redbirds, the original paint scheme was actually light turquoise blue and white upon delivery. This paint color scheme was used until the mid-1970s when they were painted "Silver/Blue" for the MTA livery. Then they were painted a full white (roof, bonnets, sides were all painted white) in 1981 and 1982 to combat graffiti. The look was abandoned for the famous "Redbird" style. The Redbirds were painted between 1984 and 1989 to a deep maroon red body, black front bonnets and anti-climbers, and silver roof.

The first set of R33 Worlds Fair's was placed in service on the 7 train on September 26, 1963. These cars were rebuilt "in-house" in 1985 by the Coney Island Shop, but not equipped with air conditioning system and retained their original Axiflow ceiling fans. They were the last New York City Subway car to not have air conditioning. For this reason, they were not used during the summer months due to poor air circulation or air flow and high humidity.

Retirements, scrapping and preservation[edit]

The last car, 9309 made its final trip on November 3, 2003 on the 7 service with ten R36 WF cars, marking the end of the Redbirds. 9309 is currently a work motor, along with most other R33 WF cars.

Several cars have been preserved, including 9306, which has been part of the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn since 1976 (the only R33 WF car to not be rebuilt), and 9327, which is at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

All R33 WF cars were converted to work motors except for 9306 and 9327, which have, as mentioned, been preserved, and 9321, which was retired and reefed[further explanation needed] in 2001. The number 1 was placed before the former number (i.e. car 9345 became 19345) of some cars. The work cars are based out of various yards around the system, handle many tasks, and are versatile, doing car moves, trash pickup and yard switching. Recently, however, R33 WF cars have been retiring, starting with the reefing of 9339 in 2010, and then the scrapping of 9314, 9317, 9320, 9328, and 9338 in 2013. The remaining R33 WF cars are expected to retire as well as time progresses (except for 9306 and 9327).

See also[edit]

  • R36 World's Fair - a married pair version and a very similar model also built by St. Louis Car Company.

Image gallery[edit]


Media related to R33 (New York City Subway car) at Wikimedia Commons