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R179 (New York City Subway car)

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MTA NYC Subway J train arriving at Marcy Ave.jpg
An R179 train on the "J" train approaching Marcy Avenue.
MTA NYC Subway Bombardier Transportation R179 3059 interior.jpg
Interior of an R179 car.
In service 2017–present
Manufacturer Bombardier Transportation
Built at Bombardier's Plattsburgh facility
Family name NTT (new technology train)
Replaced Some R32s
All remaining R42s
Constructed 2016–present
Entered service
  • November 19, 2017 (revenue service testing)
Number under construction 270 (230 in 4-car sets, 40 in 5-car sets)
Number built 30
Number in service 8
  • 65 four-car sets (two B cars)
  • 8 five-car sets (three B cars)
Fleet numbers
  • R179 five-car sets: 3010–3049
  • R179 four-car sets: 3050–3309
Operator(s) New York City Subway
Service(s) assigned TBD
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)
Floor height 3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Platform height 3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Entry 3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Doors 8 per car
Traction system Bombardier MITRAC IGBT-VVVF Propulsion
Electric system(s) 600V DC Third rail
Current collection method Contact shoe
Safety system(s) Dead man's switch, train stop
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The R179 is a class of 300 New Technology Train New York City Subway cars built by Bombardier Transportation for the B Division. The cars are expected to retire all R42s and some R32s.


The R179s are numbered 3010–3309. Cars 3010-3049 are arranged as five-car sets, while cars 3050-3309 are arranged as four-car sets.


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.[1]

The R179s, like the R160s, employ an advanced alternative to electronic strip maps called the "Flexible Information and Notice Display" or "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.[2] 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."[3][4][5][6] 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.

The R179s include provisions for the retrofit of CBTC equipment.[citation needed]

The R179s are equipped with looped stanchions in the interiors of trains, so as to provide passengers on crowded trains with a greater amount of pole surface area to grab on to. This feature is currently found on R160A set 9798-9802 and the 100 R160s that were refurbished as part of an action plan to fix the subway's 2017 state of emergency.[7]


Contract plans

The R179 contract originally consisted of 208 75-foot-long (23 m) cars.[8] 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).[9]

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.[10] However, there were delays with negotiation problems, and the projected cost went up to $748 million in October 2011.[11]

The order was reduced to 340 cars in early 2011, broken down to 290 base order cars (250 arranged in 5-car sets and the remaining 40 arranged in 4-car sets), and 50 first option cars arranged in 5-car sets. There was also a second option for 80 additional cars, which would have supplied cars for Second Avenue Subway Phase I service. The proposed MTA 2010-2014 Capital Program pointed towards an order of 60-foot (18.29 m) cars.[12] Finally, 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.[13][14][15]

The contract was finally awarded on March 24, 2012, when it was awarded to Bombardier Transportation for $599 million, below the projected cost.[16][17][18] 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.[19] However, the protest was denied, and Bombardier signed the contract on June 4, 2012.[20][21]

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.[22] This prompted an ethics investigation, but has since been resolved.[23]

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).[24] The R179s were then intended to retire all remaining R42s (50 cars) and R32s (222 cars).[25] However, 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.[26] As a result, the MTA plans 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 plans to deliver most, if not all R179s before the 14th Street Tunnel shutdown in 2019.[27]

Manufacturing issues

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.[15] 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,[21] 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.[28][29]

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.[30] In addition, because of the 2-year delay in producing the R179s, Bombardier was banned from bidding on the R211 contract on August 29, 2017.[31]


R179 car 3014 being delivered

Bombardier is building the cars in its Plattsburgh, New York, facility.[32] 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 ten-car train for acceptance testing and evaluation.[33] The five-car R179s are expected to enter service before the end of 2017.

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. Two other four-car sets (3058-3061 and 3062-3065) were delivered in April 2017.

As of January 2017, the first production cars were expected to be delivered in November 2017. The delivery rate was anticipated to be one car per day in January 2017, in an effort to have all cars on property by July 2018.[13] However, an estimate as of June 2017 states that the order is not expected to be completed until December 2018.[34]

One set of R179s entered revenue service on November 19, 2017 on the J for an acceptance test after slightly over a year of successful non-revenue service tests. If the initial R179 set was able to run in revenue service for 30 days without any major problems, more R179s could be approved for delivery.[35] However, during the first 2 weeks of the testing period, the MTA identified three major issues in the R179 test train, forcing the 30-day timeline to be reset each time.[36][37][38]

See also


  1. ^ "Transit & Bus Committee Meeting May 2016" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. May 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Seaton, Charles (December 6, 2006). "New York City Bringing Rail Into the 21st Century". Metro Magazine. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  4. ^ "MTA Capital Program Oversight Meeting January 2016" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2016. 
  5. ^ Chan, Sewell (November 30, 2005). "New Subway Cars Promise All Kinds of Information". The New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2007. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Gh9449 (October 27, 2015). NYC Subway R160 9800 Interior with Double Stanchions. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved May 16, 2017. 
  8. ^ "MTA Capital Program 2008–2013 February 2008" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. February 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Proposed MTA Capital Program 2010–2014" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. September 23, 2009. Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Meeting April 2011" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. April 21, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Meeting October 2011" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 24, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Proposed Capital Program 2010–2014" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. August 2009. p. 36. Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting: January 2017" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 23, 2017. pp. 33, 34. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Meeting November 2011" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. November 14, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  15. ^ a b "Capital Program Oversight Meeting October 2012" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 29, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Meeting April 2012" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. April 23, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  17. ^ "R179 Staff Summary March 2012" (PDF). New York City Transit. March 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Governor Cuomo Announces $600 Million MTA Investment in Upstate Manufacturing | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo". March 28, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Meeting May 2012" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. May 21, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Meeting June 2012" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 27, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  21. ^ a b "Bombardier in the USA – Media Center". Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  22. ^ "MTA exec Mario Guerra hit on ethics over seeking job with subway-car maker". NY Daily News. March 28, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  23. ^ "News - Media Centre". Bombardier. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  24. ^ "R34211 NOTICE -OF- ADDENDUM ADDENDUM #3" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. August 11, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2016. 
  25. ^ "New R179 subway cars arrive in NYC". New York's PIX11 / WPIX-TV. September 9, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 
  26. ^ "MTA | news | Detailed Study of System's Longest Subway Line Identifies Opportunities to Improve Service". Retrieved July 19, 2016. 
  27. ^ "MTA 2016 Preliminary Budget Financial Plan 2016-2019 Volume 2" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. p. V-222. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting: July 2014" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. p. 30. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 
  29. ^ Donohue, Pete (July 29, 2014). "Riders on C train will have to wait longer for new Subway cars". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  30. ^ Kabak, Benjamin (August 14, 2015). "As Bombardier struggles, R179 delay to cost MTA $50 million". Second Avenue Sagas. Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Bombardier shut out of N.Y. subway contract because of 'poor performance'". Montreal Gazette. August 30, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  32. ^ "Governor Cuomo Announces $600 Million MTA Investment in Upstate Manufacturing". September 29, 2014. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  33. ^ Barone, Vincent (September 6, 2016). "New MTA subway cars to arrive for testing, will replace oldest fleet". AM New York. Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  34. ^ "T6010102 Purchase 300 B-Division Railcars". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved September 3, 2017. 
  35. ^ "14 months after delivery, new subway cars enter MTA's final testing stage with riders on J Line". New York's PIX11 / WPIX-TV. 2017-11-25. Retrieved 2017-11-26. 
  36. ^ "MTA's newest fleet of $2M subway cars face third crippling mishap". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017-12-12. 
  37. ^ "Testing woes plague Bombardier's faulty R179 cars - Second Ave. Sagas". Second Ave. Sagas. 2017-12-10. Retrieved 2017-12-12. 
  38. ^ "MTA's new fleet of subway cars plagued by mishaps". Curbed NY. Retrieved 2017-12-12. 

External links