R211 (New York City Subway car)

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R211 Open House (38033470954).jpg
Full-size mock-up of the proposed exterior of an R211 car
R211 Open House (38033469164).jpg
Full-size mock-up of the proposed interior.
In service 2020–2023 (expected)
Manufacturer Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Built at Lincoln, Nebraska, and Yonkers, New York[1]
Family name NTT (New Technology Train)
Replaced All remaining R32s
All remaining R44s
All remaining R46s
Number under construction 0
(535 proposed)
(1,612 with all options exercised)
Number built 0
Formation Five-car sets (planned)
Fleet numbers TBA
Train length 5-car train: 301.05 feet (91.76 m)
Car length 60.21 feet (18.35 m)
Width TBD
Height TBD
Doors 8 sets of 58 inch wide side doors per car
Maximum speed TBD
Traction system IGBT–VVVF (supplier undetermined)
Electric system(s) 600 V DC Third rail
Current collection method Contact shoe
Braking system(s) TBD
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The R211 is a future new technology (NTT) New York City Subway car to be built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries for the B Division and the Staten Island Railway (SIR). They will replace all remaining R32, R44 (SIR), and R46 subway cars. The order is split into three parts: R211A and R211T cars for the subway and R211S cars for the SIR. The R211Ts will employ open gangways between cars, a feature not present on current rolling stock. The base order consists of 535 cars, with options for up to 1,077 additional cars.

Planning for the R211 order started in 2011. The design process started in 2012, at which time the order was supposed to consist of 75-foot-long (23 m) cars. The cars' lengths were changed to 60 feet (18 m) by 2015, and the first request for proposals was solicited in July 2016. After several changes to the proposal, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) awarded a contract to Kawasaki in January 2018. The cars are expected to be delivered between 2020 and 2023. They will contain new features such as wider doors, information screens, Wi-Fi, LED-lit doorways, open gangways, USB charging ports and LED interior lighting.[2]

Component orders[edit]

The MTA will invest $3.686 billion in this order.[3] The contract is split into three parts: R211A, R211S, and R211T. The base order of 535 cars will comprise 20 R211T open-gangway prototype cars, 440 R211A cars that will partially replace the 750 aging R46 cars as well as R32s that are not replaced by the R179s, and 75 R211S cars which are expected to replace the remaining 62-car R44 fleet on the Staten Island Railway.[3] There will be two options for additional cars; the first for 640 cars and the second for either 333 or 437 cars. Both options are designed to accommodate either standard cars or open gangway cars, depending on the test results from the 20 pilot cars. If all options are exercised, the order would total up to 1,612 cars.[3]

The option cars would entirely replace the older R32s and R46s. Any additional cars not replacing existing rolling stock will be used to expand the system's fleet.[4][5] The R211Ts would also increase capacity and allow passengers to walk seamlessly from one car to the next.[6][7][4][8] The delivery of the base order is scheduled to be completed by August 2023, with option 1 and option 2 completed by December 2024 and October 2025 respectively.[9]


Mock up of the proposed open gangway design (top) and the proposed FIND system (bottom).

The doors on the R211s will be 58 inches (150 cm) wide, wider than the current MTA standard of 50 inches (130 cm), thereby projected to reduce station dwell time by 32%.[1] This design change partially incorporates a design feature of the R110A prototype subway cars, which have doors that are 63 inches (160 cm) wide.[10] The new cars will have Wi-Fi installed, USB chargers, digital advertisements, digital customer information displays, illuminated door opening alerts, and security cameras,[11][12][1][13] unlike the current New Technology Trains, which lack these features.[14] Each car will contain an on-board computer system that could detect breakdowns in critical systems such as braking and door-opening.[1]

It was announced in July 2016 that some of the cars would have open gangways that allowed passengers to move between cars during train movement.[1] In order to test out the curve radius and gangway flex in the existing 60-foot long cars, an R143 test train was equipped with measuring gauges and was operated.[a]

There will be a change in exterior appearance from previous New Technology Trains as well. The subway cars will have a blue front with large windows, LED headlights, and a blue strip with gold accents on the sides, similar to the new MTA Regional Bus Operations livery released in 2016. To designate the route, a large LED screen with the route bullet will be displayed at the ends of the train similar to trains with rollsigns; in addition, the route's destination will be displayed above the door on the front. There will also be a few changes in interior appearance. Updated FIND displays would be installed. The seating on the inside will be blue and gold. Flip seats will be installed to allow for space for wheelchairs.[11][12] There will also be looped stanchions, a feature found in R160A cars 9798-9802 and all R179 cars.

As part of an action plan to fix the subway's state of emergency of 2017, many of the R211’s features are now being implemented on several R160s assigned to the E and L routes.[15][16][17]


The R211 Design Master Plan was approved by the MTA in December 2011, and design planning began in December 2012.[6][18] An R211 solicitation was posted in the classified section of Metro Magazine's May 9, 2013 issue, stating the proposal to acquire these cars in the near future. At the time, the order was planned to be 75 feet (23 m) in length, the same length as the R46 cars. Open-gangways, which would allow passengers to seamlessly walk throughout the train or units, and other alternate configurations were also initially considered for the entire order.[19]

By the release of the MTA's 2015-2019 Capital Program in October 2015, the order specified 60-foot (18 m) cars, which has been the standard length of new B Division cars since the R143 order. As of March 2016, open-gangways will be tested on ten cars (now designated as the R211T).[7] Additionally, the order was broken up into a base order of 565 R211A cars and two option orders: the first for 375 R211A cars, and a second for up to 520 R211As.[7][4][5][19]

The Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued on July 22, 2016 and the contract was to be put out for bidding.[6][7][11] With the RFP, the breakup of the order was changed. The base order consisted of 285 cars, with 10 R211T cars, 75 R211S cars, and 200 R211A cars. There were still two option orders; the first option order contained 740 cars (either R211As or R211Ts, depending on the success of the R211Ts in the base order), and the second base order contained 520 cars. The RFP closed in December 2016[20] and the contract was expected to be awarded in early 2017,[6] at which time the existing R46 fleet will be 42 years old, and the existing R32 fleet would be 53 years old.[b] However, in January 2017, the contract was pushed back to mid-2017.[20]

On April 24, 2017, at the New York City Transit Board Meeting, the breakdown of the order was changed once again. The base order will now include 535 cars (an increase of 250 cars), with 10 R211T cars, 75 R211S cars, and 450 R211A cars. The option order now consisted of between 490 and 640 R211T cars. This change was made to allow for faster deliveries of the R211 cars. The R211As, with their standard configuration, could be delivered as soon as 2020—earlier than the open-gangway R211T cars, which would not be delivered until at least 2023.[3]

In May 2017,[20] the MTA quietly built a mockup of the R211 in a sparsely-used section of the 34th Street–Hudson Yards station's mezzanine, hidden behind a construction wall. The New York Daily News first reported on the mockup's existence in September of that year. The mockup contains features such as the open-gangway designs, digital screens showing next stops and their station layouts, multicolor lights next to the doors to indicate which set of doors will open, and a blue-and-gold-stripe paint design on its exterior.[21] The model was completed and was made publicly accessible from November 30 to December 6, 2017 so riders could review it.[22][23]

On August 29, 2017, Bombardier Transportation, who was manufacturing the R179s at the time, was banned from bidding on the R211 contract due to various delays, and problems associated with the R179 contract.[24][25] Two days later, on August 31, it was reported that CRRC was also out of contention for the R211 contract, leaving Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Alstom Transport as two of the likely bidders for the contract.[25]

On January 19, 2018, the MTA Board suggested that Kawasaki Rail Car Corp., a subsidiary of Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Kobe, Japan be awarded the $3.7 billion base order for the first 535 new R211 cars.[3][13] The cars are anticipated to be delivered from 2020 to 2023, with the option orders to be delivered by 2025. The R211 base order includes 20 R211T cars with open gangways; 75 R211S cars for the Staten Island Railway, to be delivered near the end of the base order; and 440 cars similar to the R143/R160 series, operating in five-car units.[3][1] The cars will be assembled at Kawasaki's factories in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Yonkers, New York.[1] The first test train is expected to be delivered in July 2020, with the production cars being delivered between 2021 and 2023.[26]


  1. ^ See also:
    • Tech And Transit (April 4, 2017), ⁴ᴷ R211 Open Gangway Measurement Test Train (R143 8269-8272), retrieved April 5, 2017
  2. ^ The R46s were first delivered in 1975, and the R32s were first delivered in 1964, which makes them 43 and 54 years old respectively.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Maslin Nir, Sarah (January 19, 2018). "New York Set to Acquire the Next Generation of Subway Cars". The New York Times. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  2. ^ http://www.kawasakirailcar.com/NYCTAwardsR211Contract
  3. ^ a b c d e f Metropolitan Transportation Authority (January 22, 2018). "NYCT/Bus Committee Meeting" (PDF). p. 135. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Review of the A and C Lines" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. December 11, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "MTA Twenty-Year Capital Needs Assessment 2015-2034" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d "MTA Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting: January 2016" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 29, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d "Transit & Bus Committee Meeting - March 2016" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. March 21, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  8. ^ Rivoli, Dan (August 13, 2015). "Ancient subway trains on C and J/Z lines won't be replaced until 2022, documents say". Daily News (New York). Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  9. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting January 2018" (PDF). web.mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  10. ^ "www.nycsubway.org: R-110 New Technology Test Program". www.nycsubway.org. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c "Governor Cuomo Unveils Design of Reimagined MTA Subway Cars and Details Ambitious Plan to Enhance Subway Stations". July 18, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  12. ^ a b "MTA renderings" (PDF). www.governor.ny.gov. July 18, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  13. ^ a b "kawasakirc.com NYCT Awards R211 Contract". Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc. 2018-01-27. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  14. ^ "NYC, meet your (possible) subway cars of the future". am New York. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  15. ^ Chung, Jen (October 3, 2017). "Photos: Step Inside The MTA's New Subway Cars, Now With Less Seating". Gothamist. Archived from the original on October 4, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  16. ^ Furfaro, Danielle (October 3, 2017). "MTA removes seats from E train cars". New York Post. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  17. ^ "news - Subway Action Plan Update: New Subway Cars on E Line". MTA. 2017-10-03. Retrieved 2018-01-20.
  18. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting: October 2012" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 2, 2013. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  19. ^ a b "New York City Transit: R211 - New Generation of Subway Cars". Metro Magazine, MTA New York City Transit. May 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  20. ^ a b c "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 23, 2017. p. 37. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  21. ^ Rivoli, Dan (September 5, 2017). "New subway train prototype up but hidden at Hudson Yards station". NY Daily News. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  22. ^ Rivoli, Dan (November 30, 2017). "MTA unveils models of future subway cars available for viewing". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  23. ^ Barone, Vin (November 30, 2017). "Tour the MTA's potential new subway cars". am New York. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  24. ^ "Bombardier shut out of N.Y. subway contract because of 'poor performance'". Montreal Gazette. August 30, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  25. ^ a b "Kawasaki vying for $3.2 billion New York subway order". 1330 & 101.5 WHBL. Midwest Communications. August 31, 2017. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  26. ^ Metropolitan Transportation Authority (January 22, 2018). "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting" (PDF). pp. 39–40. Retrieved January 19, 2018.

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