R4 (New York City Subway car)

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R4 subway car at Seashore Trolley Museum, June 2007.jpg
An R4 subway car on display at the Seashore Trolley Museum
MTA NYC R4 484 interior.JPG
Interior of R4 car 484.
Manufacturer American Car and Foundry
Constructed 1932-1933
Scrapped 1977
Number built 500
Number preserved 4
Number scrapped 496
Formation motorized single units (Half-width operator's cab at each end; conductor controls on exterior)
Fleet numbers 400-899
Capacity 56
Operator(s) Independent Subway System
New York City Transit Authority
Car body construction Riveted Steel
Car length 60 feet 2 12 inches (18.35 m)
Width 10 feet (3.05 m)
Height 12 feet 1 58 inches (3.70 m)
Floor height (?)
Platform height (?)
Doors 8
Maximum speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight 84,503 lb (38,330 kg)
Traction system General Electric (GE) 714 A-1, A-2 DC Motors (2 per motor truck)
Power output 190 hp (142 kW) per traction motor
Acceleration 1.75 mph/s (2.82 km/(h·s))
Electric system(s) 600 V DC Third rail
Current collection method Contact shoe (Top running)
Braking system(s) WABCO Schedule AMUE with UE-5 universal valve, ME-23 brake stand, and simplex clasp brake rigging
Coupling system WABCO H2A
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

R4 is the contract number for the second order of standard subway cars purchased for the IND division of the New York City Subway. They were built by American Car and Foundry Company between 1932 and 1933, and were practically identical to the original R1 order. The R4s had a slightly different side door panel than the R1, adding small handle notches below the door window. The 500 R4s were numbered 400-899 to continue the R1's sequence of numbers. The R5 contract order was for trucks and motors for R4 fleet. In 1932, each new car cost $30,633 for the carbody under contract R4.[1]

The contract of subway cars was ordered to equip extensions of the IND in Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn.[1]

The R4's were used for service on the IND exclusively until 1972-73, when many were retired, and replaced by the R44's. Some still usable R4's were salvaged and renumbered with number plates removed from out of service newer R6 thru R9 series cars, and were transferred to East New York Yard of the Eastern Division, and were used on the former BMT J, KK, LL, M, and QJ routes until 1977 when these renumbered R4's were finally retired and replaced by the R46's.


  • Car 401 has been preserved by Railway Preservation Corp. and restored
  • Car 484 has been preserved by the New York Transit Museum and restored
  • Car 800 has been preserved by the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine and is used in various trips at their museum. It is undergoing restoration, including repainting.
  • Car 825 has been stored at the Trolley Museum of New York in Kingston, New York. It is not operational, but is repainted on a regular basis.

Experimental Refits[edit]

  • In 1946, 744 and 484 were outfitted with "bullseye" lighting and an experimental PA system.
  • In 1962, 467 became the first of the first-generation IND subway cars to be retrofitted with sealed beam headlights.

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


  1. ^ a b Cunningham, Joseph; DeHart, Leonard O. (1993-01-01). A History of the New York City Subway System. J. Schmidt, R. Giglio, and K. Lang.