R27 (New York City Subway car)

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R27 (New York City Subway car)
Manufacturer St. Louis Car Company
Replaced BMT Standard, and BMT ex-Staten Island ME-1 units, BMT Bluebirds, and BMT Multi's, and many older BMT elevated equipment
Constructed 1960-1961
Entered service 1960–1961
Refurbishment Early 1989
Scrapped 1989-1990
Number built 230
Number preserved 0
Number scrapped 230
Formation Married Pairs
Fleet numbers 8020-8135 (WH), 8136-8249 (GE)
Capacity 56 (seated)
Operator(s) New York City Subway
Car body construction LAHT Carbon steel
Car length 60 ft (18.29 m)
Width 10 ft (3.05 m)
Height 12.08 ft (3.68 m)
Platform height 3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Doors 8
Maximum speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight 80,600 lb (36,560 kg)
Traction system Westinghouse XCA248 and General Electric MCM 17KG192A
Power output 100 hp (75 kW) per traction motor
Electric system(s) 600 V DC Third rail
Current collection method Top running Contact shoe
Braking system(s) WABCO ME42B SMEE
Coupling system WABCO H2C
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The R27 was a New York City Subway car built by the St. Louis Car Company for the New York City Transit Authority in 1960 and 1961. The R27s were a continuation of the R16 style, except for the use of IRT R26 style pink hard fiberglass all longitudinal seating instead of the mixed combination seating found on the older R16s.


The cars were "Protestant" married pairs, which means that they were coupled together as pairs. Their initial assignment was on the BMT Brighton QT & QB lines on November 6, 1960, where they ushered in letter markings on the BMT. These cars along with their identical R30 and R30A sister cars replaced the oldest BMT Standards including all 50 of the trailer cars, the ME-1s that came from the SIRT, MS Multi-section cars, and the IRT Lo-Vs that were modified to be used on shuttles on the BMT division.

An omen of the future was seen on the route signs on these cars when they were delivered: The numerical route designations formerly used on the BMT were not used; the letter designations for routes were continued where the IND designations ended. The IND routes either then or previously in use ran from A thru HH; the BMT designations were now to begin with J and run thru TT. After the merger in late 1967 many IND and BMT routes were joined.

Eventually, once they had arrived in sufficient numbers, they provided all weekend service on the BMT Southern Division. The R27s were primarily BMT Eastern Division cars after November 1967, although they would appear in the northern and southern divisions as well as on IND routes.


In early 1989, 24 selected GE R27s and 3 WH R27s were painted in the fox red paint scheme similar to the 162 GE R30s and other Redbird trains in the subway system as part of the Clean Car Program.[1]

The overhaul of those 27 cars costed $100,000 a piece. Due to reliability problems still present with the overhauled cars, they were retired and scrapped after only a few months.

The cars that were overhauled were: 8042, 8091, 8126, 8145, 8158-8159, 8172-8173, 8177, 8186, 8224-8225, 8236, 8241 (not completed). They were also the last R27s in service after May 10, 1989, where they ran out their last miles on the C.

Retirements and scrapping[edit]

Retirement of the R27s started with a combination of the last R68As entering service, the rebuilt R38s entering service, and unrebuilt R30s (which appeared on the C late in 1988) in 1989. Car 8249 was the first car of the R27 fleet to be retired as the rest quickly followed.

All graffiti R27s were retired on May 10, 1989. The Red R27s were retired by the Summer of 1989, with the exception of 8042. [2] 8042 was the last R27 to operate, it was mated to R30 car 8513 and ran on the C for a period of time. [3] After being retired, the R27s were scrapped between 1989-1990.

Car 8145 was the last surviving R27, retained as a school car until 2011, when it was stored at Pitkin Yard. The car was finally stripped at 207th Street Yard and then sent to Sims Metal Management in Newark, New Jersey to be scrapped on October 22, 2013.

See also[edit]

  • R30/R30A - a very similar model also built by St. Louis Car Company.


Further reading[edit]

  • Sansone, Gene. Evolution of New York City subways: An illustrated history of New York City's transit cars, 1867-1997. New York Transit Museum Press, New York, 1997 ISBN 978-0-9637492-8-4

External links[edit]