R38 (New York City Subway car)
|R38 (New York City Subway car)|
An R38 train on the at Kingston–Throop Avenues.
|Manufacturer||St. Louis Car Company|
|Built at||St. Louis, Missouri, USA|
|Entered service||August 23, 1966|
|Operator(s)||New York City Subway|
|Car body construction||Stainless Steel sides with Carbon Steel chassis, roof and underbody, with fiberglass top front and top rear bonnets.|
|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)|
|Maximum speed||55 mph (89 km/h)|
|Weight||77,420 lb (35,117 kg)|
|Traction system||General Electric (GE) SCM 17KG192AE2/H7 propulsion system using General Electric (GE) 1257E1 (115 hp or 86 kW per axle)|
|Braking system(s)||WABCO E2 "SMEE" Braking System, A.S.F. simplex unit cylinder clasp (tread) brake|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
The R38 was a New York City Subway car class built in 1966-1967 for the New York City Transit Authority to run on routes previously operated by the IND and BMT. A total of 200 R38 cars were ordered, since extra cars were required for the new IND Chrystie Street Subway Line which opened on November 27, 1967.
The cars were arranged in what are known as "married pairs" of two cars semi-permanently coupled together by a linkbar. Like the R32s before them, the R38s had body siding made of stainless steel.
The first two trains of R38s were placed in service at Queens Plaza after a brief introductory ceremony attended by Mayor John V. Lindsay, NYCTA Chairman Joseph O'Grady, and NYCTA Commissioners Joseph Gilhooly and Daniel T Scanell on the E and F on August 23, 1966. Though there were controversies about diverting these cars from their original assignment for the D, the IND Queens Boulevard Line was short of cars and the R1-R9s assigned to Jamaica Yard were in a worse state of disrepair.
The R38 was the first subway car fleet to have air conditioning installed. The last ten cars delivered (#4140–4149) came factory equipped with Stone Safety 10-ton split system air conditioning system featuring the compressor/condenser units mounted under the cars, and the evaporator units were installed on the top interior ends of same in 1967. The experiment was finally a success after past failures and air conditioning would soon, but not immediately, become standard equipment on new rolling stock built for the system, since the first 200 R40 cars were built without air conditioning. From this point on, the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) began adopting air conditioning as standard equipment on all new cars, as well as some slightly older model cars retrofitted with same to make life much more bearable throughout the subway system. This Stone Safety Air Conditioning system was adopted from their standard railroad coach or commuter coach air conditioning systems used very successfully.
The R38s were similar to the R32s, but had several differences, including a New York City Transit Authority seal on the cab ends, being half-fluted (up to the side windows) instead of fully fluted, and different interior design very similar to the last 150 R32 cars numbered 3800-3949, and slightly larger number plates.
196 of the 200 R38s were rebuilt by General Electric at its Buffalo, New York facility in 1987 and in 1988. During the rebuilding process, the R38s were fully equipped with air conditioning systems. Prior to rebuilding, the R38 featured mylar curtain route signs on their bulkheads displaying the service bullet and destination similar to the R32. After rebuilding, they received Luminator flipdot signs that displayed the service letter only, since the air conditioning evaporators mounted on the interior car ends made it rather difficult to change the front route and destination signs. The four cars that were not rebuilt were #3990-3991 and #4000-4001, which were involved in two different wrecks or yard accidents in June of 1972, in Coney Island Yard and 207th St Yards respectively.
Retirement, scrapping, and preservation
The R160 order has replaced the entire fleet of R38s. The first R38 cars were taken out of service in November 2008, and the R38 fleet was retired until the last pair (4098-4099) made its final trip on the C in March 18, 2009. All cars that were scrapped (except for 3990-1, and 4000-1) were stripped and sunken as artificial reefs.
Cars 4028-4029 have been preserved, repainted, and set aside for the New York Transit Museum and are currently being stored at Pitkin Yard along with other museum cars, and are operated on certain excursions sponsored by the New York City Transit Museum.
In popular culture
The scene on a subway train in Coming to America was shot on an R38. Also, the opening scene of the movie Saturday Night Fever shows a train of R38s on the B. Both scenes show the R38 before it was refurbished.
- 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
- nycsubway.org - NYC Subway Cars: R38
- Car Status/Assignment
- NYCSubway.org - Photo of scrapped R38 Car # 3950
- R16-R38 Rollsign Simulation
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