R29 (New York City Subway car)

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A graffiti-covered R29 at Times Square-42nd Street Subway Station in May 1973.
In service 1962–2002
Manufacturer St. Louis Car Company
Built at St. Louis, Missouri
Constructed 1962
Scrapped 2001–2002
Number built 236
Number preserved 2
Number scrapped 234
Formation Pairs
Fleet numbers 8570–8805
Capacity 44
Operator(s) New York City Subway
Car body construction LAHT carbon steel
Car length 51.04 feet (15.56 m)
Width 8.75 feet (2,667 mm)
Height 11.86 feet (3,615 mm)
Doors 6 per car
Maximum speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight 70,000 lb (31,751 kg)
Traction system General Electric 17KG192H3 or Westinghouse XCA248B
Prime mover(s) General Electric 1257E1 or Westinghouse 1447J/JR (?)
Power output 115 hp (86 kW)
Electric system(s) 600 V DC Third rail
Current collection method Contact shoe
Braking system(s) WABCO, "SMEE" (electrodynamic)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The R29 was a New York City Subway car built in 1962 by the St. Louis Car Company for the IRT division (also known as the A Division). They have very similar appearances to the R26 and R28 fleets with the exceptions that they were built by a different company and permanently paired with link bars, instead of couplers. These were also the first subway cars to feature a bright red paint scheme. Four cars (8686, 8687, 8804 and 8805) were tested with G70 trucks. Use of these trucks was discontinued in 1970.[1]

The first set of R29s debuted on the 7 service on April 28, 1962. After initial in-service testing, the first set of R29s (#8570-8579) operated on 7 service as a special 10-car train on April 29, 1962. On May 1 of that year, it was transferred to the 1 service. The original intention was to assign all of these cars to the 7 service, while transferring their existing R12 and R14 cars to the mainline IRT services to begin replacing their existing Low-Voltage cars, many of which were approaching 50 years of age at the time. However, it was decided to order the new R33 Worlds Fair single cars along with the new R36 Worlds Fair married pair cars to completely re-equip the 7 service in time for the new 1964-5 Worlds Fair exhibition in Flushing instead. The new R33 Worlds Fair singles cars and the R36 Worlds Fair married pair cars were also ordered during 1962.

After being rebuilt by Morrison Knudsen in Hornell, New York as Redbirds between 1985 and 1987, they were split into two groups with different propulsion equipment. The Westinghouse cars #'s 8570-8687 ran on the 6 service alongside the R36 Main Line and some Westinghouse R36 World's Fair cars while the General Electric cars #'s 8688-8805 ran on the 2 and 5 services with the R26 and R28 cars.

By 1982, all cars in the R29 series received air conditioning as part of the R99 retrofitting program.[2]

Retirements, scrapping and preservation[edit]

With the arrival of the R142s and R142As, retirement of the R29 fleet began in the summer of 2001. The last set of R29s made its final trip on the 5 service on October 24, 2002.[3]

As the R29 cars were being retired, some were used in work service, including 8600-8601 / 8634-8635, which were used for signal dolly service in 2001, and 8716-8717 / 8718-8719 which were used in 2002 for transporting one of three Rail Adhesion Cars throughout the system (ex.R33 ML car 8885). These pairs of cars were later reefed.[4]

After retirement, cars 8678-8679 were also used for work service and stored at the Unionport Yard [5] until July 2013, when the pair was moved to Concourse Yard for storage. The rest of the fleet was stripped of all parts and sunk into the Atlantic Ocean to create artificial reefs.

Route assignment history[edit]

Service Years In Service Cars
7 1962 Cars 8570–8579 (4/28/62 to 4/30/62 only)
1 1962 All cars from 5/1/62 onward
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 1963–1966 All General Electric and Westinghouse cars
2, 4, 5 1966–1976 All General Electric cars
1, 3 1966–1970 All Westinghouse cars
6 1970–1983 First 30 Westinghouse cars
1, 3 1970–1985 Last 88 Westinghouse cars
2, 5 1976–1981 All General Electric cars
2 1982–1985 All General Electric cars
1, 3 1983–1985 All Westinghouse cars
2, 5 1985–2002 All rebuilt General Electric cars
6 1985–2002 All rebuilt Westinghouse cars
7 1978-1985 Some General Electric and Westinghouse cars

See also[edit]