New high-tech subway automobiles arrive in Brooklyn

Next to one of the new R211 subway cars on the Sunset Park waterfront are left-right Demetrius Crichlow, acting Senior Vice President for the Department of Subways at MTA New York City Transit; Janno Lieber, President of MTA Construction and Development; and a representative from Kawasaki. MTA photo by Marc Hermann

The first five subway cars of the new R211 fleet were on Thursday at the level crossing and freight yard in 39. revealedthe Street and First Avenue on the Brooklyn boardwalk.

These new Kawasaki cars are part of an initiative to expand the use of CBTC (Communication Based Train Control) technology.

With this technology, the train control system continuously records the condition of the tracks via radio technology. The data is then available to the driver and the control centers.

According to Janno Lieber, President of MTA Construction and Development, the technology will enable the MTA to run trains closer together.

The subway cars also have grab bars, LED lighting, video surveillance and digital displays to provide real-time service information and safety graphics, Lieber said at the press conference on Thursday.

A crew member manually sets a switch so that the train can move from the tracks onto the MTA’s underground tracks. MTA photo by Marc Hermann

They also feature doors that are wider than standard doors on existing cars. They are expected to reduce boarding time within the stations.

However, don’t expect to be driving R211s anytime soon. There will be more than a year of testing.

Then, if everything goes well, according to Lieber, the first 535 cars should arrive by September 2022.


The interior of one of the new R211 subway cars. Note that there is still protective material on the floors. MTA photo by Marc Hermann

Initially, they are supposed to be used on the Queens Boulevard line, but it is possible that some could be used on the A and C lines, both of which run along the Fulton Street corridor in Brooklyn. In addition, Lieber said, some will be directed to the MTA’s Staten Island Railroad.

“Today is an exciting day for everyone in the Department of Subways,” said Demetrius Crichlow, acting senior vice president, Department of Subways, MTA New York City Transit. “The impact on customers will be enormous once we complete the tests and get them on track. Our drivers will improve the driving experience with extended doors that will help reduce boarding time. ”

The R211 are part of a $ 6.1 billion investment in rolling stock included in the current capital plan. While the full base order of R211 consists of the above 535 cars, the contract includes options for up to 1,500 cars that NYCT can exercise over time.

An MTA driver begins to tow the new wagons with a locomotive. MTA photo by Marc Hermann

In addition, 20 of the upcoming R211 racing cars will have accordion-style passageways between cars, similar to those in articulated buses, allowing passengers to move from one car to another.

While the cars were originally expected from Kawasaki a year ago, the order was held up by complications due to the COVID situation and technical breakdowns.

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