R27 (New York City Subway car)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Manufacturer St. Louis Car Company
Replaced BMT Standard, BMT ex-Staten Island ME-1 units, BMT Bluebirds, BMT Multi's, and many older BMT elevated equipment
Constructed 1960-1961
Entered service 1960–1961
Refurbishment early 1989 (27 cars)
Scrapped 1989-1990, 2013
Number built 230
Number preserved 0
Number scrapped 230
Formation Married Pairs
Fleet numbers 8020-8249
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 numbered 8020-8249.

The R27s were a continuation of the R16 style, except that the cars used the IRT R26-style pink hard fiberglass all-longitudinal seating instead of the mixed combination seating found on the older R16s.

The R27s were coupled together as pairs. 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 transferred from the SIRT, the MS Multi-section cars, and the IRT Lo-Vs that were modified to be used on B-division shuttles.

The R27s were the first cars to not use the numerical route designations used on former BMT lines; the cars ushered in letter designations for such routes (continuing where the IND designations ended). The IND routes either then or previously in use ran from A to HH; the BMT designations now ran from J to TT. After the merger in late 1967, many IND and BMT routes were joined together by some lines.

There were two versions of the R27: Westinghouse-powered equipped cars (8020-8135) and General Electric-powered cars (8136-8249).


The first train of R27s entered service on the QT line on November 15, 1960. The initial consist was #8027–8024, #8021–8020 and #8028–8029. The R27 were initially assigned to the QT and QB lines.[1] Once the R27s had arrived in sufficient numbers, they provided all weekend service on the BMT Southern Division.

Most R27s were transferred to the BMT Eastern Division 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-powered R27s and 3 Westinghouse-powered R27s were rebuilt and painted in the fox red paint scheme, similar to the 162 GE-powered R30s and other Redbird trains in the subway system, as part of the Clean Car Program.[2] The overhaul of the 27 cars cost $100,000 per car.

The cars that were rebuilt were 8042, 8091, 8126, 8145, 8158-8159, 8172-8173, 8177, 8186, 8224-8225, 8236, and 8241 (not completed). They ran on the C until being retired.


The R27s were replaced by the R68As in 1989, and indirectly replaced by rebuilt R38s and unrebuilt R30s, which started appearing on the C in late 1988. Car 8249 was the first R27 car to be retired, and the last un-rebuilt train ran on May 10, 1989, which marked an end to graffiti on subway cars.

The overhauled R27s were planned to run for many years to come, but all cars except 8042 were instead retired by the summer of 1989 due to reliability problems. 8042 was the last R27 to operate; it was mated to R30 car 8513 and ran on the C until the early 1990s.

No R27s were preserved. After retirement, most cars were sent to what is now Sims Metal Management's Newark facility to be scrapped and processed. Some cars were retained as movie props, but were ultimately scrapped as well. However, car 8145 was retained as a school car until 2011. It was stored at the Pitkin Yard, but towed to the 207th Street Yard in summer 2013, and finally sent to Sims Metal Management in Newark, New Jersey to be scrapped on October 22, 2013.[3]

See also[edit]

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


  1. ^ "First Run of the R27s". New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. November 1960. 
  2. ^ "Showing Image 4549". nycsubway.org. 
  3. ^ "R27 8145 (8)". Flickr. October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2016. 

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]