Steinway Lo-V (New York City Subway car)

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Steinway Lo-V
Steinway Lo-V No. 4562.jpg
A Steinway Lo-V train entering 167th Street
ManufacturerPressed Steel Car Company, American Car and Foundry, Pullman Company
Number built138 cars (138 motors)
Number preserved0
Number scrapped138
Fleet numbers4025-4036, 4215-4222, 4555-4576, 4700-4718, 4720-4771, 5628-5652 (all motors)
Capacity196: 44 (seated) 152 (standing)
Operator(s)Interborough Rapid Transit Company
New York City Transit Authority
Car body constructionSteel
Car length51 ft 6 in (15.70 m)
Width8 feet 11 516 inches (2.73 m)
Height12 feet (3.66 m)
Floor height3 ft 2 18 in (0.97 m)
Maximum speed60 mph (97 km/h)
Weight~ 74,000 lb (33,600 kg)
Traction systemMotor car: Westinghouse 577, General Electric 260 Air Compressor: WABCO D-2-F
Prime mover(s)electric motor
Power output105 hp (78 kW) (WH 302, one car), 120 hp (89 kW) (WH 302F, 302F1, GE 240C, 259)
Electric system(s)600 V DC Third rail
Current collection methodTop running Contact shoe
Braking system(s)WABCO Schedule AMUE with UE-5 universal valve, ME-23 brake stand, and simplex clasp brake rigging
Coupling systemWABCO J
Headlight typeincandescent light bulbs
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The Steinway Lo-V was a New York City Subway car type built between 1915 and 1925 by the Pressed Steel Car Company, American Car and Foundry, and Pullman Company. These cars were built specifically for use on the IRT Corona Line (currently known as the IRT Flushing Line, used by the 7 train), and the IRT Astoria Line (currently known as the BMT Astoria Line, used by the N train and W train.) They had special gear ratios to climb the steep grades (4.5%) in the Steinway Tunnels, something standard IRT equipment could not do.[1]


The Steinways, which were named after William Steinway, were among the first Low-Voltage cars delivered to the IRT, starting with the 12 car order from Pressed Steel Car Company in 1915. Pullman then built and delivered at least 70 Steinway cars in 1916. In 1925, American Car and Foundry delivered 25 Steinway cars, which would be the last standard body IRT cars built. The last Steinways placed in service were 30 cars converted from former High-V cars and Low-V trailers. These cars were built as part of the 1915 and 1916 orders from Pullman.[2]

The Steinways served the IRT Queens lines until 1950, when they were displaced by the R15s. After that, the Steinways were transferred to the Lexington-Pelham Bay local line, where they served along with older High-V cars until 1956, when they were displaced by the R17s. They were then spread over both IRT East Side and West Side routes, where they remained in service until the end of 1963, in quite limited numbers. A handful of them survived until early 1970, mixed in trains with 1938 World's Fair cars and Low-V trailers, on the IRT Third Avenue Line in the Bronx.[3]

Following their retirement, no Steinway cars were preserved. All were scrapped following their removal from revenue service.

Similar cars[edit]

The 1938 World's Fair Lo-V was technically a "Steinway" car, as it also contained the special gear ratios required to climb the grades of the Steinway Tunnels. However, as the World's Fair Lo-V is significantly different, it is a separate and distinct car class and not included in the "Steinway" grouping.

See also[edit]

  • Flivver Lo-V, a low voltage propulsion control IRT subway car built in 1915.
  • Standard Lo-V, a low voltage propulsion control IRT subway car built from 1916 to 1925.
  • World's Fair Lo-V, a low voltage propulsion control IRT subway car built in 1938.


  1. ^ Sansone, Gene (2004). New York Subways. JHU Press. p. 84. ISBN 0-8018-7922-1.
  2. ^ " Chapter 2, The IRT Subway". Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  3. ^ " Chapter 2, The IRT Subway". Retrieved 2017-12-11.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gene Sansone, New York Subways: An Illustrated History of New York City's Transit Cars, ISBN 0-8018-7922-1, pp. 73–74, 78–80, 84–85, 95–96.

External links[edit]

Media related to Lo-V (New York City Subway car) at Wikimedia Commons