R40 (New York City Subway car)

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R40 A train.jpg
An R40 train on the NYCS-bull-trans-A.svg at Jay Street – Borough Hall.
NYCS R40 4247 interior.jpg
Interior of an R40 Slant car.
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, 2013
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 New York City Subway car model built from 1967 to 1968 by the St. Louis Car Company in Missouri for the IND/BMT B Division.


The R40s were originally numbered numbered 4150-4249 and 4350-4449. In 1970, cars 4350-4449 were renumbered to 4250-4349.

The R40 cars were unique for their 10-degree slanted end (designed by the firm Raymond Loewy and Associates), and were nicknamed the R40 Slants or simply Slants. However, 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][2]


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.

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.[3]


The R160 order has replaced all of the R40 fleet. The last pair (4256–4257), in a mix with R40A slants, made its final trip on the A on June 12, 2009.[3] After retirement, most cars were stripped and sunk as artificial reefs. The last R40 car to be removed from property by barge was 4272, which was reefed in April 2010.[4]

Cars 4280-4281 (originally 4380-4381) are preserved by the New York Transit Museum.[5][6] They were restored to operating status in 2013-2014 and have been operating on New York City Transit Museum-sponsored excursions since August 2014.

Before cars 4280-4281 were preserved, cars 4192-4193 were temporarily displayed at the New York Transit Museum in 2008, but were later stripped and reefed.[7][8]

Cars 4162-4163 were used as school cars at East New York Yard and later Concourse Yard. The cars were finally trucked to Sims Metal Management in Newark, New Jersey on October 1, 2013 for scrapping.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A hazard is found on new IND cars Authority says sloped ends leave gap between the units NY Times November 9, 1968
  2. ^ Clines, Francis X. (August 12, 1970). "NEW SUBWAY CARS CALLED PERILOUS". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 25, 2016 – via New York Times Archives. 
  3. ^ a b "www.nycsubway.org". www.nycsubway.org. 
  4. ^ Chalasani, Radhika (17 September 2015). "Watery grave for NYC subway cars". CBS News. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  5. ^ "www.nycsubway.org". www.nycsubway.org. 
  6. ^ "Showing Image 107062". nycsubway.org. 
  7. ^ "Showing Image 79128". nycsubway.org. 
  8. ^ "Coney Island USA Bulletin Boards - Coney Island express train". coneyisland.com. 

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]

Media related to R40 (New York City Subway car) at Wikimedia Commons