R33 World's Fair (New York City Subway car)

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R33 World's Fair (New York City Subway car)
Train of Many Colors 4 8 08 at 40 Lowery.jpg
R33WF #9306, in its original colors, leads the Train of Many Colors through 40 St – Lowery St on a <7> express run to Mets – Willets Point, April 2008
MTA NYC Subway R33WF 9306 interior.jpg
Interior of R33WF 9306
Manufacturer St. Louis Car Company
Built at St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Constructed 1963
Entered service 1963
Refurbishment 1985
Scrapped 2001, 2013
Number built 40
Number in service 0 (28 in work service)
Number preserved 2
Number scrapped 10
Fleet numbers 9306–9345
Capacity 44 (seated)
Operator(s) New York City Subway
Car body construction LAHT (Low Alloy High Tensile) 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
Weight 75,122 lb (34,075 kg)
Traction system Westinghouse XCA248E with Westinghouse (WH) 1447C
Auxiliaries Motor-generator and battery set (WH YX304E)
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) standard gauge

The R33 World's Fair (R33 WF) was a New York City Subway car built in late 1963 by St Louis Car Company for the 1964 New York World's Fair. They are very similar to the R33 ML cars.


Cars #9333 (R33 World's Fair) and #9533 (R36 Main Line) are visible on the NYCS-bull-trans-6.svg service at Hunts Point Avenue in 2002, shortly before their retirement

R33 WF cars, which comprised fleet numbers #9306–9345, were made for the "A" Division, but only assigned to the 7 service (IRT Flushing Line) and were based out of Corona Yard. They were used to make 11-car trains with the R36 WF cars, which were built as two-car sets (pairs). They were built by the St. Louis Car Company in St. Louis, Missouri, for the 1964 New York World's Fair.[1]

Although the R33/36 WF cars were referred to as Redbirds, the original paint scheme was actually light turquoise blue and white upon delivery. This paint color scheme was used until the mid-1970s when they were painted "Silver/Blue" for the MTA livery. Then they were painted a full white (roof, bonnets, sides were all painted white) in 1981–2 to combat graffiti, since the white paint was a Teflon-based paint, the graffiti did not stick to it very well. The look was abandoned for the famous Redbird style. The Redbirds were painted between 1984 and 1989 to a deep maroon red body, black front bonnets and anti-climbers, and silver roof.

The first set of R33 WFs was placed in service on the 7 train on September 26, 1963. These cars were rebuilt "in-house" in 1985 by the Coney Island Shop, but not equipped with air conditioning system and retained their original Axiflow ceiling fans. They were the last New York City Subway car to not have air conditioning. For this reason, they were not used during the summer months due to poor air circulation or air flow and high humidity.

Retirements, scrapping and preservation[edit]

R33 WF 9309 at Corona Yard

The last car, 9309, made its final trip on November 3, 2003 on the 7 service with ten R36 WF cars, marking the end of the Redbirds. 9309 is currently a work motor, along with most other R33 WF cars.

Several cars have been preserved, including #9306, which has been part of the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn since 1976 (the only R33 WF car to not be rebuilt), and #9327, which is at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Most R33 WF cars were converted to work motors in the early 2000s. The cars that were not converted were 9#3306 and 9#327, which are preserved as heritage cars, and #9321, which was retired and reefed in 2001. The number "1" was placed before the former number (i.e. car #9345 became #19345) of some cars. The work cars are based out of various yards around the system, handle many tasks, and are versatile, doing car moves, trash pickup and yard switching.

Recently, however, R33 WF cars have been retiring from work service as they experience structural or mechanical issues. Retirement started with the reefing of #9339 in 2010 after it suffered from fire damage, and then the scrapping of a handful of cars for parts to keep other R33 WF and Redbird cars running. The remaining cars are expected to be decommissioned and scrapped as time progresses (except for #9306 and #9327).

A detailed list of the statuses of the 40 R33 WF cars is below, where bolded numbers indicate that the car is active (as a work motor):

See also[edit]


External links[edit]