R68A (New York City Subway car)

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"R68A" redirects here. For the road, see Route 68.
R68A (New York City Subway car)
R68A B train.JPG
A train made of R68A's on the NYCS-bull-trans-B.svg train at Kings Highway.
An image of the R68A interior.jpg
Interior of an R68A car.
In service 1988-present
Manufacturer Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Built at Kobe, Japan;
Yonkers, New York (final assembly)
Family name SMEE
Replaced All remaining R10s and R27s, and some R30s.
Constructed 1988-1989
Entered service May 18, 1988, on the Concourse/Sixth Avenue NYCS-bull-trans-D.svg
Number built 200
Number in service 200 (168 in revenue service during rush hours)
Formation 4 cars per trainset
Fleet numbers 5001-5200
Capacity 70 (seated)
Operator(s) New York City Subway
Depot(s) Coney Island Yard (200 cars)[1]
Service(s) assigned NYCS-bull-trans-A.svg – 8 cars (1 train; PM rush)
NYCS-bull-trans-B.svg – 152 cars (19 trains)
NYCS-bull-trans-Q.svg – 8 cars (1 train; AM rush)
Car body construction stainless steel with fiberglass end bonnets
Train length 4 car train: 300 feet (91 m)
8 car train: 600 feet (180 m)
Car length 75 ft (22.86 m)
Width 10 ft (3,048 mm)
Height 12.08 ft (3,682 mm)
Platform height 3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Doors 8
Maximum speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight 92,720 lb (42,057 kg)
Traction system AdTranz E-Cam Propulsion with Westinghouse 1447J motors
(115 hp or 85.8 kW on all axles)
Electric system(s) 600 V DC Third rail
Current collection method Contact shoe
Braking system(s) WABCO (dynamic and friction), WABCO tread brake rigging model TBU GR90
Safety system(s) emergency brakes
Coupling system Westinghouse H2C
Headlight type halogen light bulbs
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The R68A is a B Division New York City Subway car order consisting of 200 cars built between 1988 and 1989 by Kawasaki Rail Car Company in Kobe, Japan, with final assembly done at the Kawasaki plant in Yonkers, New York.[2]


The R68A, numbered 5001-5200, was the fourth R-type contract and the last to be built with 75-foot (22.86 m) length (the previous three being the R44, R46 and R68). While the 75 foot length allows more room for sitting and standing passengers per car than the 60-foot (18.29 m) length that was previously used, 75-foot (22.86 m) cars suffer from clearance issues and cannot run on the BMT Eastern Division. As a result, B Division subway car orders made afterward (like the R143, R160, as well as the future R179 and R211 cars) have returned to the previous length of 60-foot (18.29 m) cars.

Delivery and Revenue Service[edit]

The first R68A cars were delivered to New York on April 12, 1988 and transferred to TA facilities the following day.[3] The cars replaced all of the remaining R10s, R27s, and unrebuilt R30s, all of which were retired between 1989 and 1991. The R68As were built with American and Japanese parts.

The R68As' first entry to revenue service was on May 18, 1988 on the Bronx and Manhattan half of the divided D train with the first fleet consisting of the consist 5010-5001-5006-5008-5009-5007-5004-5005.[3] Originally, the R68A order was supposed to be a second option order of the R68. However, due to poor performance from the R68 cars produced by Westinghouse-Amrail along with other issues, the MTA gave the order to Kawasaki, with an offer of $958,000 per car versus Westinghouse-Amrail's offer of $1,012,200 per car.[2][4]

The R68As are currently based out of the Coney Island Yard and are assigned to the B train with one set assigned to the A train during weekday afternoon rush hours and one on the Q during weekday morning rush hours.


The R68As are scheduled to remain in service until at least 2025[5] and the MTA is proposing mid-life technological upgrades for the fleet, including LED destination signs and automated announcements.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ New York Subway Barn Assignments – June 12, 2016
  2. ^ a b Levine, Richard (March 13, 1987). "M.T.A. PICKS NEW SUBWAY CARS FROM JAPAN OVER A CONSORTIUM". New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "www.nycsubway.org: The New York Transit Authority in the 1980s". www.nycsubway.org. Retrieved 2016-01-24. 
  4. ^ Levine, Richard (February 24, 1987). "Transit Authority Is Critical of its Newest Subway Cars". New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2016. 
  5. ^ MTA Capital Program Oversight Committee Hearing, June 2010 (page 20)

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]