MTA New York City Transit’s new R160 subway cars have set a record for service reliability: A Mean Distance Between Failures (MDBF) of 1.2 million miles for the month of December 2009. The cars’ 12-month average is over 650,000 miles, “significantly above the contract target of 100,000 miles,” according to carbuilder Alstom Transport.
Alstom produces and tests its R160 cars (the order was shared with Kawasaki Railcar USA; most of the Kawasaki cars use Alstom Onix propulsion) as well as their propulsion equipment, including dynamic tests, at its Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Hornell, N.Y. (Hornell was recently featured in the Ultimate Factories series produced by Hoff Productions and broadcast by the National Geographic Channel.)
“The exceptional reliability of the cars is a tribute to quality engineering, successful systems integration, and constant analysis of root causes of failures,” Alstom said. “Once a cause is identified, corrective action is immediately taken, including installation refinement and design enhancement if need be, resulting in constant quality process and procedures improvement.”
The R160s, the newest generation of subway cars in the NYCT system, began service in the second part of 2006. There are today more than 1,400 in service, out of a fleet of 6,284 cars.