R179 (New York City Subway car)

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"R179" redirects here. For the imprint for a pharmaceutical, see Tizanidine. For the road, see Route 179.
R179 (New York City Subway car)
Manufacturer Bombardier Transportation
  • Potentially some R32s
  • All remaining R42s
Number under construction 300 (260 in 4-car sets, 40 in 5-car sets)
Number built 0
Formation 65 four-car sets (two B cars)
8 five-car sets (three B cars)
Fleet numbers To be announced
Operator(s) New York City Subway
Train length 4-car train: 240.84 feet (73.41 m)
5-car train: 301.05 feet (91.76 m)
8-car train: 481.68 feet (146.82 m)
10-car train: 602.1 feet (183.5 m)
Car length 60.21 feet (18.35 m)
Doors 8 per car
Traction system Bombardier MITRAC AC Propulsion
Prime mover(s) electric motor
Electric system(s) 600 V DC Third rail
Current collection method Contact shoe
Safety system(s) emergency brakes
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The R179 is a future new technology (NTT) rail car ordered for New York City Subway's B Division. These cars may replace some of the remaining R32s and all remaining R42s in service, which are running well past the average service life of a New York City Subway car, and to expand the fleet for the Second Avenue Subway. The contract to build these cars has been awarded to Bombardier Transportation,[1][2] who will build the cars in its Plattsburgh, New York facility.


The R179 contract, which originally consisted of 420 cars, was intended to replace all of the R44s. Due to structural integrity issues found on New York City Transit's R44s in early 2010, its retirement was facilitated by option order cars of the R160 car order. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority later dropped the plan to order R179s for the Staten Island Railway, instead opting to overhaul some R46s to replace the existing R44s there. However, the plan to overhaul the R46s for the Staten Island Railway was recently dropped, and new future R211 cars can potentially replace the Staten Island Railway's fleet of R44s instead.


The proposed MTA 2010-2014 Capital Program has pointed toward an order of 60-foot (18.29 m) cars.[3] The order is to be broken down into a base order of 300 cars, The MTA Board of Directors approved the award of a contract to Bombardier on March 24, 2012 and signed the awarded contract on June 4, 2012 to Bombardier Transportation for $599 million.

The official RFP was issued on June 3, 2010. Bids were due by the following August 13, but the contract was not awarded until March 24, 2012 to Bombardier Transportation.[1] The contract specified the purchase of 290 cars with 250 arranged as 5-car sets and the remaining 40 arranged in 4-car sets, with the 50 Option I cars arranged in 5-car sets. There was also a second option for 80 additional cars, pending funding.[4] As of January 2012, the base order had been amended to a total of 300 cars, 260 of which will be in 4-car sets, and 40 of which will be in 5-car sets, with no options.[5]

The order of the R179 series was not without controversy. A 2012 news report from the New York Daily News[6] indicated that an official at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NYCTA's Chief Mechanical Officer of the Car Equipment Division) had been in talks with car builder Bombardier Transportation, Inc. for a job. This prompted an ethics investigation, but has since been resolved.[7]

The base order will retire all remaining R42s (50 cars) and possibly some of the remaining R32s. Any additional cars ordered will be used for fleet expansion.[1]

A non operational mock up was built in late November 2013. Delivery of the first 10-car test train was scheduled for Third Quarter 2014,[8] with delivery of the production cars scheduled to begin July 2015 and continue through January 2017. However, as NYCTA's and Bombardier's inspectors found cracks due to welding issues in the prototype train's chassis, the entire lot was rejected, and the delivery schedule was pushed back by approximately 6 to 11 months.[9][10]

The R179 order was expected to start replacing the R32s and R42s in 2016,[11][1] but has been pushed back due to design and Bombardier's financial problems. While all R32s and R42s were slated to be retired, many cars are planned by the MTA to be kept in service until at least 2022 due to ongoing delays in the delivery of R179 replacement cars and increased revenue service fleet requirements.[12] Due to these delays, the MTA is expected to spend another $50 million to refurbish the older cars.[13]

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