R179 (New York City Subway car)

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MTA NYC Subway A train arriving at Broad Channel.jpg
An R179 train on the A at Broad Channel
MTA NYC Subway Bombardier Transportation R179 3015 interior.jpg
Interior of an R179 car
In service2017–2020 (temporarily suspended from service)
ManufacturerBombardier Transportation
Built atBombardier's Plattsburgh facility
Family nameNTT (new technology train)
Entered serviceNovember 19, 2017
(4-car sets)
February 10, 2019
(5-car sets)
Number built318
Number in service0 (Pending inspection)
  • 47 four-car sets (two B cars)
  • 26 five-car sets (three B cars)
Fleet numbers
  • Five-car sets: 3010-3049, 3238-3327
  • Four-car sets: 3050–3237
Capacity54 seating 198 standing (A car)
56 seating 202 standing (B car)
Operator(s)New York City Subway
Depot(s)East New York Yard (100 cars)
207th Street Yard (88 cars)
Pitkin Yard (130 cars)[1]
Service(s) assigned"A" train – 10 cars (1 trains)[2]
"C" train – 72 cars (9 trains)
"J" train "Z" train – 64 cars (8 trains)[3]
Train length4-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 length60.21 feet (18.35 m)
Width9.77 ft (2,978 mm)
Height12.13 ft (3,697 mm)
Floor height3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Platform height3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Entry3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Doors8 sets of 50 inch wide side doors per car
Maximum speed55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight85,200 lb (38,600 kg)
Traction systemBombardier MITRAC IGBT-VVVF AC traction motors, model: TM1301SP [4]
Acceleration2.5 mph/s (1.1 m/s2)
Deceleration3.0 mph/s (1.3 m/s2)
(full service),
3.2 mph/s (1.4 m/s2)
Electric system(s)600 V DC Third rail
Current collection methodContact shoe
Safety system(s)Dead man's switch, train stop
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The R179 is a class of 318 new technology (NTT) New York City Subway cars being built by Bombardier Transportation for the B Division. The cars will replace all remaining R42s and some remaining R32s.

Originally, the R179 order was supposed to contain 208 cars that were each 75 feet (23 m) long. In the 2010–2014 Capital Program, the order was changed to 290 cars that were 60 feet (18 m) long, similar to the car lengths of the R143 and R160 orders, with options for up to 130 more cars. The majority of the R179s were supposed to be in 300-foot-long (91 m) five-car sets because the R179s would be replacing the 75-foot-long R44s, which were arranged in 300-foot-long four-car sets. A minority of the R179s were to be arranged in 240-foot-long (73 m) four-car sets. In 2011, the order was reduced to 300 60-foot-long cars with no additional option orders. Because of the R44s' earlier than planned retirement and the R32s and R42s assigned to services utilizing eight-car trains at the time, the setup was reversed, with the majority of the R179s being arranged in four-car sets.

The $599 million contract for the R179s' construction was awarded to Bombardier in 2012. At the time, the first R179 train was set to be delivered in December 2014 and the last train would be delivered in July 2017. Because of manufacturing defects during the construction process, the timeline for delivery was pushed back two years, and the cost of the contract rose to $735 million. The first R179 cars were delivered in September 2016, and the first test train of eight cars was placed in service in November 2017. The test train passed its 30-day in-service test in December 2017, which allowed the remaining R179s to be gradually placed in service. All cars were expected to be delivered by early 2019. However, starting in December 2018, several cars had to be withdrawn from service due to defects, and in January 2019, deliveries were temporarily halted while these defects were being fixed.

In January 2018, sixteen more cars were added to the order as part of a settlement so that there would be 24 five-car sets instead of the 8 originally projected and 49 four-car sets instead of the original 65. In January 2019, two more cars were added to the order as a part of a settlement for further damages. Due to door issues, the entire fleet was pulled from revenue service indefinitely in January 2020.


The R179s are numbered 3010-3327. Cars numbered 3010-3049 & 3238-3327 are configured into five-car sets, which are assigned to the A and based out of Pitkin Yard. Cars numbered 3050-3237 are configured into four-car sets, which are split between the J and Z (based out of East New York Yard) and the C (based out of 207th Street Yard).


The FIND screen of the R179

The R179 cars are equipped with updated control systems, HVAC and public address systems. They are visually very similar to the R160s, but the two car types are not interoperable with each other due to electrical incompatibilities between them.[5]

The R179s, like the R160s, employ an advanced alternative to electronic strip maps called the "Flexible Information and Notice Display" ("FIND"), which are manufactured by Axion Technologies Ltd. This includes an LCD screen displaying the route, route information, and advertisements, as well as a dynamic red, yellow, and green LED strip map that displays the next ten stations, plus five consecutive "further stops" to riders.[6] There are three of these in every car. The display updates the stations at every stop, also giving the number of stops to each station listed. This allows for instant route or line changes with the correct information, which includes, but is not limited to, omitting certain stops (displayed as "Will not stop" in red). However, the LCD displays on the R179s that show the route are slightly larger than those on the R160s. Additionally, if the FIND has gone blank, the R179 FIND displays "Route change: this map is not in use", as opposed to the R160 FIND, which displays "Listen to train crew for announcement."[7][8][9][10] In addition, the R179s utilize the older door closing chimes used on the R142s and R142As, as opposed to the newer door chimes used on the R143s, R160s and R188s. Communication-based train control (CBTC) equipment will be installed in all R179s that are already on MTA property.[11]

The R179s are equipped with looped stanchions in the interiors of trains to provide passengers on crowded trains with a greater amount of pole surface area to grab on to. This feature was previously tested on R160A set 9798-9802 and has been implemented on other trains as a part of a plan to fix the subway's 2017 state of emergency.[12]

The R179s utilize a newer version of HVAC systems, which are noticeably quieter on the outside of the train, reducing external noise. Previous generations of New Technology Trains (R143, R160, etc.) have units that are known to produce excess noise.


Contract plans[edit]

The R179 contract originally consisted of 208 75-foot-long (23 m) cars.[13] Later, in the 2010-2014 Capital Program, the proposed order was expanded to 420 cars (340 for the New York City Subway and 80 for the Staten Island Railway).[14] This consisted of 290 base order cars (250 arranged in 5-car sets and the remaining 40 arranged in 4-car sets), with two option orders. The first option called for 50 cars arranged in 5-car sets. There was also a second option for 80 additional cars, which would have supplied cars for the Second Avenue Subway Phase I service. The proposed MTA 2010-2014 Capital Program pointed towards an order of 60-foot (18.29 m) cars.[15]

The official RFP was issued on June 3, 2010. Bids were due by the following August 13, and in April 2011 the contract was expected to be awarded for $637.8 million.[16] However, there were delays with negotiation problems, and the projected cost went up to $748 million in October 2011.[17] In November 2011, the order was altered to a base order of 300 cars (260 arranged in 4-car sets and the remaining 40 arranged in 5-car sets), with no options.[18][19][20]

The contract was finally awarded on March 24, 2012, when it was awarded to Bombardier Transportation for $599 million, below the projected cost.[21][22][23] The joint venture Alskaw Inc., made up of the companies Kawasaki and Alstom, which built the R160A/B cars, protested the award of the contract to Bombardier immediately after the MTA Board approved the contract.[24] However, the protest was denied, and Bombardier signed the contract on June 4, 2012.[25][26]

A 2012 news report from the New York Daily News indicated that a high-ranking MTA official had been in talks with car builder Bombardier Transportation, Inc. for a job.[27] This prompted an ethics investigation but has since been resolved.[28]

The R179s were originally intended to replace all the R44s, but due to structural integrity issues found on New York City Transit's R44s in early 2010, those cars' retirement was facilitated by an option order of R160s. Additionally, 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 (which has also since been cancelled).[29] The R179s were then intended to retire all remaining R42s (50 cars) and R32s (222 cars).[30] However, at least some R32s are expected to be retained due to delays in the delivery of the R179s and potential need of extra rolling stock to provide additional service.[31] As a result, the MTA planned to spend another $49.2 million to refurbish and maintain 132 to 164 R32 cars through 2018 and then 110 R32 cars through 2019, before finally replacing the remaining cars with the R211As. In addition, the MTA anticipated to have most, if not all R179s delivered before the since-canceled full shutdown of the 14th Street Tunnel in April 2019.[32]

Manufacturing issues[edit]

In a timeline set in October 2012, the first test train was scheduled to arrive on December 22, 2014, the first production unit was scheduled to arrive on July 27, 2015, and the entire order was to be completed on January 30, 2017.[20] After some delays in starting production, a non-operational mockup was built in late November 2013. Delivery of the first 10-car test train was now scheduled for the third quarter of 2014,[26] though delivery of the production cars was still 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 two years.[33][34]

The delays in delivery have increased the cost of the cars from $599 million to $735 million; these additional costs add to the costs required to maintain older cars.[35] In addition, because of the 2-year delay in producing the R179s, Bombardier was banned from bidding on the R211 contract, which would replace other older B Division rolling stock.[36]

Delivery and continued issues[edit]

R179 car 3014 being delivered

Bombardier built the cars in its Plattsburgh, New York, facility.[37] The first five-car set of R179s (3010-3014) was delivered to the New York City Transit Authority between September 6 and 8, 2016. The next five cars (3015-3019) were delayed and were delivered between November 15 and 17, 2016, forming a complete pilot ten-car train for acceptance testing and evaluation.[38] The first four-car set of R179s (3050-3053) was delivered between December 21 and 22, 2016. The next four cars (3054-3057) were delivered in January 2017, forming a complete eight-car train for acceptance testing and evaluation.

A delivery plan from January 2017 anticipated a rate of one car per day starting from November 2017, in an effort to have all cars on property by July 2018.[18] However, additional delays have occurred, and by October 2018, deliveries were not expected to be completed until March 2019.[39][40][41] Due to continuing delays in the production of the R179s, the order was increased by 16 additional B-cars on January 22, 2018. The order then consisted of 316 cars (120 arranged in 5-car sets and 196 arranged in 4-car sets).[42][43]:19 On January 22, 2019, another settlement increased the order by 2 additional B-cars.[44] As of July 2019, deliveries were not expected to be completed until November 2019.[45]

The four-car R179 sets were placed into revenue service on the J on November 19, 2017 for in-service acceptance testing after slightly over a year of successful non-revenue service tests.[46] During the first two weeks of the testing period, the MTA identified three major issues in the train, which have since been fixed.[47][48][49] After successful completion, the four-car R179 sets officially entered revenue service on December 27, 2017, a month later than originally planned.[50][51] The pilot five-car R179 sets underwent specification modifications at Bombardier's Kanona Facility in summer 2018 and were re-delivered for further testing.[50] After two years of modifications, the train was placed into service on the A for a 30-day in-service test on February 10, 2019. The train completed the test on March 11, 2019 and entered regular service the next day.[52]

By the start of December 2018, some trains had to be taken out of service due to manufacturing defects and HVAC software bugs.[53] The next month, the MTA revealed that 162 cars had been delivered, of which 128 (comprising sixteen 8-car trains) had been placed in service.[43]:18 In early January 2019, NYCTA President Andy Byford ordered more newer R179 cars to be removed from passenger service and the temporary suspension of the delivery of further cars until Bombardier corrected all defects found within them.[54][55] The issues have since been resolved, and deliveries recommenced in early February 2019.[56] On May 10, 2019, it was found that there is a welding defect on the collision pillars of the R179, but not all trains on property at the time were pulled from service.[57] By December 30, 2019, all 318 cars had been delivered.[58]

Even after all cars had been delivered, an audit by Comptroller Scott Stringer found that only 18 of the original 300 cars had been delivered within the contract's deadline.[59] Additionally, on January 7–8, 2020, all cars in revenue were taken out of passenger service due to two incidents involving cars with defective door parts on the C train.[60][61] The January 2020 incidents had raised concerns that train doors could malfunction while the trains were in service, and that doors could potentially open up when the train was in motion.[62] Due to this incident and prior issues, the R179s became known as "lemons".[63] Besides the door issues, the Transport Workers Union of America have also complained about problems with operating the R179, such as stiff windows, slippery controls, and other design flaws.[64]

See also[edit]


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  3. ^ "Subdivision 'B' Car Assignments: Cars Required September 16, 2019" (PDF). The Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. 62 (10): 16. October 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  4. ^ R179 Traction Motor Build Plate
  5. ^ "Transit & Bus Committee Meeting May 2016" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. May 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
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  7. ^ Seaton, Charles (December 6, 2006). "New York City Bringing Rail Into the 21st Century". Metro Magazine. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
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  9. ^ Chan, Sewell (November 30, 2005). "New Subway Cars Promise All Kinds of Information". The New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2007.
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  15. ^ "Proposed Capital Program 2010–2014" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. August 2009. p. 36. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  16. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Meeting April 2011" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. April 21, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  17. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Meeting October 2011" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 24, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting: January 2017" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 23, 2017. pp. 33, 34. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  19. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Meeting November 2011" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. November 14, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Capital Program Oversight Meeting October 2012" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 29, 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 5, 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
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  22. ^ "R179 Staff Summary March 2012" (PDF). mta.info. New York City Transit. March 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
  23. ^ "Governor Cuomo Announces $600 Million MTA Investment in Upstate Manufacturing | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo". Governor.ny.gov. March 28, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
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  26. ^ a b "Bombardier in the USA – Media Center". Us.bombardier.com. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
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  29. ^ "R34211 Notice -Of- Addendum Addendum #3" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. August 11, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
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  35. ^ Kabak, Benjamin (August 14, 2015). "As Bombardier struggles, R179 delay to cost MTA $50 million". secondavenuesagas.com. Second Avenue Sagas. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
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  43. ^ a b "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
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  45. ^ http://web.mta.info/mta/news/books/pdf/190722_1430_CPOC.pdf page 86
  46. ^ "14 months after delivery, new subway cars enter MTA's final testing stage with riders on J Line". New York's PIX11 / WPIX-TV. November 25, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
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  48. ^ "Testing woes plague Bombardier's faulty R179 cars - Second Ave. Sagas". Second Ave. Sagas. December 10, 2017. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  49. ^ "MTA's new fleet of subway cars plagued by mishaps". Curbed NY. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  50. ^ a b Metropolitan Transportation Authority (January 22, 2018). "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting" (PDF). p. 46. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  51. ^ @BombardierRail (January 12, 2018). "We're pleased to report that our R179 cars for #NewYorkCityTransit have successfully completed their extensive on-site qualification testing and 30-day in-service demonstration test and are starting to enter regular passenger service. #Plattsburgh #NewYork" (Tweet). Retrieved January 13, 2018 – via Twitter.
  52. ^ "Completion of 30-day revenue service test for the 10-car train". Bombardier Rail. March 12, 2019.
  53. ^ Rivoli, Dan (January 9, 2019). "NYC Transit's new subway cars suffering on the tracks, dozens pulled from rails". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  54. ^ Bloomberg, BNN (January 24, 2019). "NYC transit chief slams Bombardier, halts deliveries: 'You have to hold their hands'". BNN. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  55. ^ "Exclusive: NYC Transit stops Bombardier deliveries until problems fixed". WSAU. Midwest Communications Inc. January 24, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  56. ^ Reuters; Jan 28, 2019. "Bombardier resumes deliveries of subway cars to New York City". Business Insider. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  57. ^ Sagas, Second Ave (May 10, 2019). "Bombardier screwed up the rolling stock again. There's a welding defect in the R179 collision pillars. Byford has attestations from Bombardier and NYCT's independent engineering assessment that the trains are safe and within NYCT standards. Byford: "There are no safety risks."". @2AvSagas. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  58. ^ https://www.facebook.com/BombardierRail/photos/a.902865919774651/2806951702699387/?type=3
  59. ^ Culliton, Kathleen (December 9, 2019). "MTA Spent $600M For 300 Subway Cars, Got 18 On Time: Audit". New York City, NY Patch. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  60. ^ "Transcript: New York City Transit President Andy Byford Issues Updated on R179 Suwbay Cars". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 9, 2020. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  61. ^ Guse, Clayton. "Out with the new, in with the old as MTA puts 55-year-old cars on A, C, J and Z lines after contractor's latest train screw up". nydailynews.com. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  62. ^ Goldbaum, Christina (January 8, 2020). "Subway Pulls 300 Cars Over Fears Doors Would Open Between Stops". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  63. ^ Siff, Andrew (January 8, 2020). "MTA Pulls Nearly 300 Brand New Subway Cars Over Door Problems". NBC New York. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  64. ^ Barone, Vincent; Meyer, David (January 10, 2020). "MTA workers say busted doors aren't the only problem with new 'lemon' trains". New York Post. Retrieved January 14, 2020.

External links[edit]