NYCT to Exercise 640-Railcar Option

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
MTA New York City Transit showed off the first five new Kawasaki R211 rapid transit cars at the South Brooklyn Interchange Yard on July 1, 2021. (Marc A. Hermann / MTA)

MTA New York City Transit showed off the first five new Kawasaki R211 rapid transit cars at the South Brooklyn Interchange Yard on July 1, 2021. (Marc A. Hermann / MTA)

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board’s New York City Transit (NYCT) Committee has approved exercising an option with Kawasaki for 640 R211 rapid transit cars, authorizing the full MTA Board to consider the order on Oct. 26.

Already on order are 535 R211s, part of a contract dating back to 2018 to replace R42 cars from 1969 and 1970 and some R32 cars, which are also more than 50 years old; delivery began in July 2021.

Kawasaki’s final negotiated price was $1.44 billion for the 535-car base order—including 440 standard closed-end cars and 20 open-gangway test cars for the B Division (lettered lines) and 75 closed-end cars for Staten Island Railway—with an offer of $1.33 billion for an initial 640-car option and $913.57 million for a second 437-car option. Total price tag: $3.69 billion.

The initial option, an addition to the base order, would bring the total number of R211s ordered to 1,175.

NYCT in July 2021 unveiled the first of five new R211s, part of a 535-car base order, at the South Brooklyn Interchange Yard. (Marc A. Hermann / MTA)

Manufacturing for 640-car option will take place at Kawasaki’s Lincoln, Neb., and Yonkers, N.Y., plants, NYCT reported. The Lincoln facility will produce the car body structure and install interior equipment, while final assembly and function testing will be performed at both the Lincoln and Yonkers facilities.

These rapid transit cars, initially planned for the A and C lines and the Staten Island Railway, will include 58-inch-wide door openings. Eight inches wider than standard door openings on existing cars, they are designed to speed boarding and reduce station dwell time, according to NYCT. The cars will also feature security cameras, digital displays to provide information about service and stations, brighter lighting and signage, and a “slicker” bonnet design, among other features, the transit agency added.

“We are thrilled to see customers coming back to the system with increased frequency and our main objective is to provide safe, fast reliable service,” NYCT President Richard Davey said during the Oct. 24 announcement.

“Our commitment to provide the best and most reliable service to our customers is unwavering and this investment is proof of that,” NYCT Senior Vice President for Subways Demetrius Crichlow said. “The MTA will deliver on its promise to provide the most efficient, most comfortable, and most modern service in the quickest timeline possible.”

Qualification testing on the R211s already delivered is under way, NYCT reported, with passenger service expected by spring.

Supply chain problems have caused delivery delays of the base R211 order, according to a June 27 Daily News report. So far, only one five-car trainset has been delivered for testing and that arrived a year late.

Separately, NYCT in February 2020 announced plans to develop and purchase up to 949 new R262 subway cars with an open-gangway configuration, designed for the A Division (numbered lines).

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