R40 (New York City Subway car)

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R40 (New York City Subway car)
R40 A train.jpg
An R40 Slant train on the NYCS-bull-trans-A.svg at Jay Street – Borough Hall.
R40 4320.JPG
Interior of an R40 Slant car on the NYCS-bull-trans-B.svg.
In service 1968-2009
Manufacturer St. Louis Car Company
Built at St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Replaced many of the remaining BMT AB Standards
Constructed 1967–1968
Entered service March 23, 1968
Refurbishment 1987–1989
Scrapped 2008–2010
Number built 200
Number preserved 2
Number scrapped 198
Fleet numbers 4150–4349
(originally 4150–4249, and 4350–4449 which were renumber to 4250-4349 in 1970)
Capacity 44 (seated)
Operator(s) New York City Subway
Car body construction Stainless steel sides with carbon steel chassis and underframes, fiberglass A-end bonnet
Car length 60 ft 2.5 in (18.35 m)
Width 9 ft 9 in (2.97 m)
Height 12 ft 1.625 in (3.70 m)
Platform height 3 ft 9.125 in (1.15 m)
Doors 8
Maximum speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight 77,695 lb (35,242 kg)
Traction system General Electric (GE) SCM 17KG192AE2 propulsion system using GE 1257E1 motors (115 hp or 85.76 kW per axle)
Acceleration 2.5mph/s
Deceleration ~3mph
Braking system(s) WABCO "SMEE" Braking System, A.S.F. simplex unit cylinder clasp (tread) brake
Safety system(s) emergency brakes
Headlight type halogen light bulbs
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The R40 was a B Division New York City Subway car built between 1967 and 1968 by the St. Louis Car Company in St. Louis, Missouri. The R40 cars were unique for their 10-degree slanted end (designed by the firm Raymond Loewy and Associates), and were often referred to as the R40 Slant.


The R40 fleet was numbered #4150–4349; cars #4250–4349 were numbered #4350–4449 until 1970, while cars #4150–4249 retained their original numbers. This coincided with fleet renumbering of the R40A cars from #4250–4349/4450–4549 to #4350–4549.

The first incomplete pair of R40s (cars #4350-4351) came onto TA property in November 1967 for promoting the Transportation Bond issue on Election Day. On March 23, 1968, the R40 fleet entered service on the F.

The New York City Transit Authority found great dangers along with other hazards with the slanted end design posed with the lack of handholds for riders walking between cars, thus the danger of the passenger falling onto the tracks, and other design flaws. Within months, the cars were retrofitted with large grab rails with pantograph gates mounted, which effectively destroyed Loewy's design, but allowed passengers to travel safely between cars.[1]

Between 1987 and 1989, the R40s were rebuilt by Sumitomo in Elmira Heights, New York and retrofitted with air conditioning and a new interior design.[2]

Retirement, scrapping, preservation and usage[edit]

The R160 order has replaced all of the R40 fleet. The last slanted train—cars #4256–4257 in a mix with R40A slants—made its final trip on the A on June 12, 2009.[2]

Cars #4162-4163 were used as school cars at East New York Yard and were later transferred to Concourse Yard for storage. The pair was subsequently scrapped.

Cars #4192-4193 were on temporary display at the New York Transit Museum briefly in 2008 and were later reefed.[3][4]

Cars 4280-4281 (originally numbered 4380-4381) were designated to be preserved for the New York Transit Museum.[5][6] They were restored to operating status and are operated on certain excursions sponsored by the New York City Transit Museum.


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]