R62 (New York City Subway car)

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An R62 train on the "3" train at Sutter Avenue–Rutland Road.
R62 interior.jpg
Interior of an R62 car
In service 1984–present (under CAP)
Manufacturer Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Built at Kobe, Japan
Family name SMEE
Replaced R12, R14, R15
Constructed 1983–1985
Entered service May 7, 1984 (under CAP)
Number built 325
Number in service 315 (260 in revenue service during rush hours)
Number preserved 2
Number scrapped 8
Formation 5-car sets
originally single cars
Fleet numbers 1301–1625
Capacity 42 (seated-A car)
44 (seated-B car)
Operator(s) New York City Subway
Depot(s) 240th Street Yard (15 cars)
Livonia Yard (300 cars)[1]
Service(s) assigned "1" train – 10 cars (1 train)
"3" train – 250 cars (25 trains)
Car body construction Stainless steel with fiberglass end bonnets
Train length 510.4 feet (155.6 m)
Car length 51.04 feet (15.56 m)
Width 8.60 feet (2,621 mm)
Height 11.89 feet (3,624 mm)
Platform height 3.6458 ft (1.11 m)
Doors 6 per car
Maximum speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight 74,900 pounds (34,000 kg)
(Odd car)
74,540 pounds (33,810 kg)
(Even car)
Traction system Bombardier Groupswitch ECAM propulsion with General Electric 1257E1 motors per car
all cars originally had General Electric SCM 17KG1924A1 Group as built.
Power output 115 hp (85.8 kW) on all axles
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) 625 V DC Third rail
Current collection method Contact shoe
Braking system(s) WABCO RT2 Braking System
WABCO Tread Brake Unit
Safety system(s) emergency brakes
Coupling system Westinghouse H2C
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The R62 is a New York City Subway car built between 1983 and 1985 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Kobe, Japan, serving the A Division (IRT). The R62s replaced the remaining R12s, R14s and R15s.


The R62s are numbered 1301–1625, totaling 325 cars. Each car was purchased at an average price of US$918,293.

The R62 was the first stainless steel and air-conditioned subway car built for the "A" Division. A graffiti-resistant glaze was applied to all of the cars because of the extensive graffiti tagging of nearly all of the subway cars in the system since 1971.[2] They continued a controversial interior design by employing bucket seating, which was very narrow with each seat being about 17 inches (430 mm) wide. This reduced the number of seats per car when compared to standard bench seating, but allowed for higher standing capacity.[3] This design originated with the R44, and continued with the R62A, R68 and R68A cars and R110A prototype cars.[3] Four cars in the order (1587–1590) were built with bench seating after complaints by passengers upon delivery.[4]

The R62 has full-width cabs at each end of each five-car set, but retains intermediate half-width cabs in the remaining cab positions, as the trains were originally built as single cars.[3]


Car order[edit]

After the R36 cars were delivered in 1963–1964, no more IRT cars were built for another 20 years. Several rolling stock orders were proposed for the IRT during this time.[3] In 1966, a lightweight R39 subway car, similar to the ones used on the Market–Frankford Line in Philadelphia, was proposed for the oldest elevated IRT and BMT lines; however, this proposal failed because most of the remaining elevated lines were closed, and demolished instead. In 1973, another proposal to replace the R12 through R17 series was deferred because not enough voters approved it.[3] Finally, in 1979, with the bus and train fleets in poor and decrepit shape, the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) looked into capital maintenance and bond acts to replace the oldest IRT cars (the R12s, R14s, R15s, and R17s) and to rebuild and refurbish newer (at the time) IRT cars (R21s and beyond). A bond issue for 136 new IRT cars was approved, and funds were procured for another new 1,014 IRT cars in 1981. These cars were referred to as the "R62" contract.[3] The R62 order was originally proposed as an order of 260 64-foot (20 m) cars, but the selected plan called for 325 51.4-foot (15.7 m) IRT cars instead.

In July 1981, the NYCTA began the bidding process for 325 cars under the R62 contract.[3] Nissho-Iwai American Corp, the parent company of Japanese train car builder Kawasaki Heavy Industries, was the lowest bidder for the initial 325 cars, while American company Budd Company submitted a high bid for the initial contract, and a low bid for the rest of the cars. The NYCTA did not want to award the large contract to a single builder, as it did in 1975–1978 with the R46s (which were plagued by mechanical problems and cracks in the chassis).[3]

The R62 contract was ordered on April 12, 1982, and awarded to Kawasaki Heavy Industries. This was the first time a foreign company was chosen to build cars for the New York City Subway.[3] Because a 1981 law now allowed the MTA and suppliers to broker contracts rather than accept the lowest bid, the MTA awarded the base contract to Kawasaki.[5]


The cars entered revenue testing on the 4 on November 29, 1983; and were also tested on the 2, 5 and 7 trains. [5] The cars entered service on May 7, 1984, as part of the Car Appearance Program. Soon after delivery, the cars also proved themselves much less prone to breakdowns than previous rolling stock.[5] All 325 cars were in service by August 1985, making the 4 the first entirely graffiti-free service in the system in many years.[5] All R62s currently run on the 3, with a few sets assigned to the 1.[5]

Kawasaki did not wish to build the additional cars the MTA wanted as a separate part of the R62 order, under contract R62A, for the same price. Bombardier, an Integrated Transportation rail car company headquartered in Montreal, won a contract to supply these additional 825 cars under a license from Kawasaki. [3][2][5]


On August 28, 1991, a sleep-deprived and intoxicated motorman caused a southbound 4 train to derail north of the 14th Street – Union Square station in Manhattan. The train was diverted from the express track to the local due to repairs, and the motorman sped through the switch at 40 miles per hour (64 km/h); as a result, the first car made the switch while several other cars in the consist did not. Five riders were killed and several dozen were injured. Cars 1435-1437 and 1439-1440 were wrecked in this accident, and are now all off MTA property. The remaining five cars of the consist (cars 1431–1434 and 1438) are now unitized.[2][6]

On December 21, 1994, disgruntled computer analyst Edward J. Leary firebombed a crowded 4 train at Fulton Street. Car 1391 suffered interior damage, but was repaired and returned to service. A little more than three years later, however, on February 3, 1998, cars 1391–1395, while out of service, was rear-ended by another out-of-service train of R33s at the 239th Street Yard. All five cars suffered anticlimber damage, but were repaired and returned to service.

On October 25, 2000, during the 2000 World Series, a rear-end collision occurred at the Fordham Road station on the IRT Jerome Avenue Line in the Bronx.[7]


Though no R62s were retired by replacement, ten cars involved in accidents were taken off property due to damage from accidents. Cars 1369, the damaged half of car 1370, 1437, and 1439-1440 were scrapped in 2005. Meanwhile, cars 1367-1368, and 1436 were reefed in February 2008.[8] Car 1366 and the undamaged half of car 1370 were donated to the FDNY Randall's Island training center, where they are used as training cars along with R40A 4461.

Initial replacement of the R62s is scheduled for 2023 with additional replacements in 2026.[9] The MTA was proposing mid-life technological upgrades for the R62s in 2010, including LED destination signs and automated announcements.[10][11]

See also[edit]


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]