R143 (New York City Subway car)

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Manhattan bound R143 L train at New Lots.jpg
An R143 train on the "L" train at New Lots Avenue.
NYC Subway R143 8283 Interior.jpg
Interior of an R143 car.
In service 2002-present
Manufacturer Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Built at Yonkers, New York; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Kobe, Japan
Family name NTT (new technology train)
Constructed 2001-2003
Entered service February 12, 2002
Number built 212
Number in service 208 (160 in revenue service during rush hours)
Formation 4-car sets (2 A cars and 2 B cars)
Fleet numbers 8101-8312
Capacity 240 (A car)
246 (B car)
Operator(s) New York City Subway
Depot(s) East New York Yard (212 cars)[1]
Service(s) assigned "L" train – 168 cars (21 trains, AM rush)
 – 152 cars (19 trains, PM rush)
Car body construction Stainless steel with fiberglass rear bonnets
Train length 4 car train: 240.84 feet (73.41 m)
8 car train: 481.68 feet (146.82 m)
Car length 60.21 feet (18.35 m)
Width 9.77 feet (2,978 mm)
Height 12.13 feet (3,697 mm)
Platform height 3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Doors 8 per car
Maximum speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight A car: 83,700 lb (38,000 kg)
B car: 81,900 lb (37,100 kg)
Traction system Bombardier MITRAC propulsion system, 3-Phase AC Traction Motors Model 1508C
Prime mover(s) electric motor
Power output 150 hp (111.9 kW) per axle
Acceleration 2.5 mph/s (4.0 km/(h·s))
Deceleration 3.0 mph/s (4.8 km/(h·s))
(full service),
3.2 mph/s (5.1 km/(h·s))
Auxiliaries SAFT 250AH battery (B car)
Electric system(s) 600 V DC Third rail
Current collection method Contact shoe
Braking system(s) Dynamic braking propulsion system; WABCO RT96 tread brake system; safety brakes
Safety system(s) dead man's switch, tripcock
Headlight type incandescent light bulb
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The R143 is a class of 212 new technology (NTT) New York City Subway cars built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries for the B Division. The cars displaced R40s, R40As, and R42s that operated on the L service in order to automate the BMT Canarsie Line.


The R143s are numbered 8101-8312. The 212 cars were expected to provide enough service for years, but the fast growth of the Williamsburg neighborhood overloaded the L by mid-2006.[2]

The R143s are the first 60-foot (18.29 m) B Division cars built for the New York City Subway system since the R42 from 1969, and the first automated fleet in the subway system. They are currently based at East New York Yard, located near Broadway Junction. The R143s are almost identical to the slightly newer R160s; however, the two car types can not be interchanged with each other.[3]


Timeline of Contract[edit]

The contract for the R143 was put out for bidding in January 1998. The initial contract called for 100 sixty-foot cars that would come in five-car sets. The new cars would be expected to have automatic PA announcements, high efficiency lighting, emergency intercom and customer alarms, AC propulsion motors, speedometers and event recorders, electronic information display signs, artwork, a central diagnostics monitoring system, microprocessor controlled air compressor, brake and communication systems, roof mounted microprocessor controlled HVAC, and to be compliant with ADA requirements.[4]

Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc. was awarded a $190 million contract for 100 new B Division cars in late December 1998, with an option for 112 more cars.[5] The new design was based on the A Division's R142A, which Kawasaki also built,[6] and incorporated many features from the R110A and R110B prototypes. The cars were built with an average cost of about $1.5 million per car.


Delivery of the cars began in late 2001. A 30-day test with one train of eight cars (8101-8108) began on December 4, 2001.[7][8] According to Kawasaki, the test was "extremely successful".[6] The cars began running on the Canarsie Line (L train) on February 12, 2002, where they have been assigned to.[9] All 212 cars were delivered by March 2003.[10]

Along with displacing older equipment from the Canarsie Line, the R143s also displaced the R42s on the now-extended weekend M shuttle service on the BMT Myrtle Avenue Line, when that line became the first BMT Eastern Division line to be placed in weekend OPTO service. The R143s on the M were displaced by R160As in February 2008. OPTO was also tested on the L during mid-2005.[11][12]


Cars 8205-8212 were originally delivered with experimental Siemens traction motors to test the traction motors that would be later found in R160B cars 8843-9102.[13][14] These cars were eventually refitted with the Bombardier MITRAC traction motors found on all other R143s.

On June 21, 2006, an eight-car R143 train overshot the bumper at the end of the tracks in the Canarsie Yard after the operator suffered a seizure. The first car, 8277, suffered significant damage and has been stripped of damaged parts for repair. It was sent to the Kawasaki plant in Yonkers. The other cars in the set (8278-8280) were moved to the 207th Street Yard. 8277 was repaired for 5 years at the 207th Street and Coney Island Repair Shops and the repair work continues to be done.[15] 8278 also suffered minor body damage, but was repaired sometime between 2009-2011 and subsequently coupled back up with 8279-8280.[16][17] 8277 has been put back into a four-car set with 8278-8280, but the consist is in need of some component replacement to become operational.[18]

In 2017, cars 8269-8272 were equipped with measuring gauges to test out the curve radius and gangway flex in the existing 60-foot long cars in order to collect data for evaluating the future R211T order.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ New York Subway Barn Assignments – November 6, 2016
  2. ^ New York Daily News, Oh, L, not enuf trains!, July 7, 2006
  3. ^ Chan, Sewell (November 30, 2005). "New Subway Cars Promise All Kinds of Information". The New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2007. 
  4. ^ "R34143 PURCHASE 100 CARS DIVISION 'B' OVER $10M". www.mta.nyc.ny.us. New York City Transit. January 27, 1998. Retrieved September 18, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Metro Business; Subway Job to Kawasaki". The New York Times. December 30, 1998. 
  6. ^ a b Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc., New York City Transit R143 Subway Cars, accessed April 14, 2007
  7. ^ "www.nycsubway.org". www.nycsubway.org. 
  8. ^ "First run of the R143s". New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. January 2002. 
  9. ^ Kennedy, Randy (July 31, 2002). "1,700 Subway Cars to Be Built Under Largest Such Contract in New York History". The New York Times. p. B3. 
  10. ^ "Kawasaki completes NYCT R143 order. (Market).(New York City Transit)(subway cars contract)". Railway Age. HighBeam Research. March 1, 2003. 
  11. ^ On L Train, Drivers Perform Solo, Without Conductors, June 20, 2005, page B3
  12. ^ Conductors Are Returning to the Subway's L Line
  13. ^ R143 L with Siemens propulsion. YouTube. May 10, 2007. 
  14. ^ R143 With Siemens Propulsion. YouTube. June 18, 2007. 
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ [3]
  18. ^ "New York City Subway Car Update" (PDF). The Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association (April 2016). March 30, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016. 
  19. ^ DJ Hammers (April 4, 2017), ⁴ᴷ R211 Measurement Test Train Action (R143 Consist), retrieved May 14, 2017 

External links[edit]

Media related to R143 (New York City Subway car) at Wikimedia Commons