R44 (New York City Subway car)
Interior of a Staten Island Railway-operated (SIR) R44 car.
|In service||1971–2010 (NYCTA-operated cars)
1973-present (SIR-operated cars)
|Manufacturer||St. Louis Car Company|
|Built at||St. Louis, Missouri, USA|
|Refurbishment||July 1991 – January 1993|
|Scrapped||2012-2013 (NYCTA-operated cars & one damaged SIR-operated car)|
|Number in service||62 (SIR-operated cars)|
|Number scrapped||284 NYCTA-operated cars and 1 SIR-operated car (+1 SIR-operated car stored on property)|
|Formation||Single units (SIR), 4 car sets (NYCTA)|
|Fleet numbers||5202–5479 (NYC Subway)
388–435, 436–466 (even) (SIRTOA)
(cars originally numbered 100–435, 436–466 (even))
|Capacity||A car: 72 (seated)
B car: 76 (seated)
|Operator(s)||New York City Subway
Staten Island Railway
|Depot(s)||SIRT (62 cars)|
|Service(s) assigned||Staten Island Railway – 62 cars (15 trains)|
|Car body construction||Stainless steel with carbon steel chassis and underbody, with fiberglass end bonnets|
|Car length||74 ft 8.5 in (22.77 m) (over anticlimbers)|
|Width||10 ft (3,048 mm) (over threshold)|
|Height||12.08 ft (3,682 mm)|
|Platform height||3.76 ft (1.15 m)|
|Maximum speed||Test: 87.75 mph (141.22 km/h)
Service: 55 mph (89 km/h) - 60 mph (97 km/h)
|Weight||A train car: 88,950 lb (40,347 kg)
B train car: 84,530 lb (38,342 kg)
|Traction system||NYC Subway: Westinghouse E-CAM XCA448F propulsion with Westinghouse 1447F motors 115 hp (85.8 kW) on all axles
Staten Island Railway: General Electric SCM-CAM 17KG192A1 propulsion with GE 1257E1 motors 115 hp (85.8 kW) on all axles
|Prime mover(s)||electric motor|
|Acceleration||2.5 mph/s (4.0 km/(h·s))|
|Deceleration||3.0 mph/s (4.8 km/(h·s)) (Full Service)
3.2 mph/s (5.1 km/(h·s)) (Emergency)
|Electric system(s)||600 V DC Third rail|
|Current collection method||Contact shoe|
|Braking system(s)||NYC Subway: Westcode (dynamic and friction), WABCO tread brake unit
Staten Island Railway: WABCO RT5C (dynamic and friction), WABCO tread brake unit
|Safety system(s)||dead man's switch, tripcock|
|Headlight type||halogen light bulbs|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The R44 is a New York City Subway car model built from 1971 to 1973 by the St. Louis Car Company in St. Louis, Missouri for the IND/BMT B Division and the Staten Island Railway. The cars replaced many R1-R9 series cars and all 1925 Standard Steel built SIRTOA ME-1 trains, providing Staten Island with a new fleet of railcars. Since September 16, 2010, however, all NYCTA-operated cars have been retired and removed from MTA property, leaving the SIR as the sole operator of the R44.
A total of 352 R44 cars were ordered: 300 cars for the New York City Subway (numbered 100–399, with 278 of the cars later renumbered 5202–5479) and 52 cars for the Staten Island Railway (also known as ME-2 or MUE-2 cars, numbered 400–435 and even numbers between 436–466).
The R44s originally came in singles, but needed each other to run, much like the "married pairs" of subway cars before them (R26 to R42, except R33WFs). The NYCTA-operated cars were reassembled after overhaul into ABBA sets of four; A cars are evenly numbered with operator cabs while B cars have odd numbers and no cabs. The SIR-operated cars were never reassembled after overhaul and remain set up as singles.
The R44 was the first 75-foot (23 m) car for the New York City Subway. The cars were introduced under the idea that a train of eight 75-foot (22.86 m) cars would be more efficient than one of ten 60-foot (18.29 m) cars. Despite the increase in length, the R44s had eight pairs of doors per car (four on each side) like other B Division cars. As a result, eight 75-foot (22.86 m) cars have only 64 (32 per side) pairs whereas ten cars have 80 (40 per side). The reduced number of doors on a train of eight 75-foot cars increased boarding and dwelling times, so recent car orders have returned to ten 60-foot (18.29 m) cars, starting with the R143.
The interior design was very different from previous models. The R44s had orange and yellow plastic bucket seats, a feature which would be incorporated into the other 75-foot B-division cars and the A-division R62s & R62As. The seats were protected from the doorways by faux wood and glass panels. The walls were tan with "wallpaper" featuring the seals of New York State and New York City. This design continued onto the subsequent R46 cars.
The R44 was the first car since the BMT Green Hornet to incorporate a two-note warning tone, the first two notes of Westminster Quarters, that sounds before the doors begin to close as the train prepares to leave the station. When the cars were built, the chime was sounded four seconds before the doors closed, but the time delay was later removed. This has become the signature sound of the subway and is used with all subsequent cars.
The R44s also set the world speed record for a car. On January 31, 1972, a consist reached a speed of 87.75 mph (141.22 km/h) on the Long Island Rail Road's main line between Woodside and Jamaica. With two motors per car disabled, the car still reached 77 mph (124 km/h). The cars were capable of attaining even higher speeds, but the length of the test track was insufficient to allow further acceleration. The R44s were built to reach such high speeds because it was anticipated that the cars would run along the Second Avenue Subway, whose opening was delayed, to January 1, 2017.
To ensure the subway could accommodate 75-foot (22.86 m) cars, two retired R1 cars (numbered 165 and 192; renumbered XC675 and XC575 respectively) were cut in half, lengthened to 75 feet (22.86 m) and sent to various places around the subway and the Staten Island Railway.
Delivery and early mishaps
After many months of exhaustive testing on the A, D, E, and F (one week on each service, starting December 16, 1971), (as well as on the LIRR's trackage, as the R44s were new transit cars electrically and mechanically), the first sets of R44s was placed in service on the New York City Subway on the F in April 19, 1972, following a brief introductory ceremony attended by the Mayor of New York City John V. Lindsay, along with MTA Chairman William J. Ronan at the Jamaica – 179th Street station. The Staten Island R44s were delivered between January and April 1973. The first six Staten Island R44s went into service on February 28, 1973. With the completion of the R44 order, along with the State of the Art Car, the St. Louis Car Company, which was established in 1887, shut down operations. An eight-car train was tested in 1973 with carpeting.
Cars 388–399 were eventually sent to the Staten Island Railway.
Ten NYCTA-operated R44s were involved in various accidents and fires that led to their premature retirements before the General Overhaul Program (GOH) program for the R44s commenced, so they were not rebuilt during the GOH program. They were stored on the system until March 2001, when they were shipped off property and scrapped.
General Overhaul Program and post-overhaul
During the General Overhaul Program, from 1991 to 1993, the remaining R44s were rebuilt by the NYCTA either at the 207th Street Yard in Manhattan or the Coney Island Complex in Brooklyn (cars 5342-5479 and all SIR cars) or by Morrison-Knudsen off NYCTA premises (cars 5202-5341). Some improvements included the repainting of the carbon steel blue stripes into silver gray stripes, although NYCTA-operated cars 5228-5229 and all SIR cars had their carbon steel sections replaced with stainless steel panels. The rollsigns on the sides were replaced with electronic LCD signs on the NYCTA-operated cars and were completely removed on the SIR cars. The SIR-operated R44s, however, retained their original two-note warning tones unlike their NYCTA-operated counterparts, which had their warning tones replaced with the same ones that are found in the R62s, R62As, R68s and R68As.
Even after the GOH program, several NYCTA-operated R44s were retired due to various mishaps. Cars 5319 and 5402 were involved in separate fire-related incidents that led to car 5319 being scrapped and car 5402 being put out of service. Cars 5282-5285 were involved in a derailment north of 135th Street that destroyed 5282 entirely, resulting in the rest of the set being placed out of service; however, 5284 was later repaired using parts from other cars and returned to service until retiring along with the other NYCTA R44 cars in 2010. Car 5248 was taken out of service in 2004 due to cracked truck bolsters. As a result, cars 5248, 5283, 5285 and 5402 were all stored out of service for parts until they were scrapped with the rest of the NYCTA-operated cars.
All SIR-operated cars were overhauled for a second time between 2007 and 2010 as a part of scheduled maintenance program. Several improvements included the repainting of the bulkheads, rebuilt trucks, new dark floors, new periwinkle bucket seats, and updated logos; unlike the NYCTA-operated cars, the SIR-operated cars retained their original blue "M" MTA decals during their first overhaul. The SIR-operated cars have been undergoing further intermittent rounds of scheduled maintenance as their parts age over time.
The MTA was planning to replace all of the R44s with R179s. However, due to several structural integrity issues found on the NYCTA-operated R44s (due to much higher levels of wear and tear, along with heavier level of mileage and vandalism than the SIR-operated cars), surveys were conducted in 2009 on eight cars which resulted in the decision to retire them in place of the remaining R32s and R42s that were retiring at the time. As a result, the option order of R160 cars ended up replacing the R44s. The first cars were retired in December 2009 with the eight cars that failed the structural integrity tests, and the last train (cars 5378-5381 and 5426-5429) made its final trip on September 16, 2010 on the A and C. After retirement, all of the NYCTA-operated cars (excluding cars lost in accidents) were mothballed and placed into storage system-wide (namely at the 207th Street, Pitkin, Concourse, and Coney Island yards).
Starting in May 2012 and lasting until summer 2013, most of the NYCTA-operated R44s were scrapped at Sims Metal Management. The only NYCTA-operated R44 that was not scrapped is car 5240 (originally 172), which has been preserved and is now on display at the New York Transit Museum.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority later dropped the plan to order R179s for the Staten Island Railway, instead opting to overhaul some R46s to replace the SIR-operated R44s there. However, the plan to overhaul the R46s for the Staten Island Railway was also dropped, and 75 R211S cars are planned to replace the SIR-operated R44s instead. The remaining R44s are currently scheduled to be replaced in 2022–2023, and until then, they are undergoing intermittent round of scheduled maintenance to extend their usefulness until their retirement. Out of the 64 SIR cars, 62 remain in service. Car 402 was pulled from service after being damaged in a derailment at Tottenville in 2008. It was stored at the 207th Street Yard, stripped of parts to keep the active SIR-operated cars running, until 2013, when it was scrapped with most NYCTA-operated R44s. Car 466 was pulled from service for unknown reasons in 2017 and is also being stripped of parts to keep the active SIR-operated cars running.
SIR-operated car 458 also received damage from a derailment at Tottenville, similar to car 402. It was stored out of service until it was repaired in March 2016 at the NYCTA's 207th Street Yard Overhaul Shops using parts salvaged from NYCTA-operated R44s, then returned to service.
An SIR-operated R44 train on the Staten Island Railway, prior to the GOH program.
An overhauled NYCTA-operated R44 train on the at Broad Channel.
NYCTA-operated R44 car 5240 (originally 172) on display at the New York Transit Museum.
- R46 (New York City Subway car) - a similar model built by Pullman Standard.
- New York Subway Barn Assignments – November 6, 2016
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