Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA
Testing of Open Gangway R211 Subway Cars Underway with Passenger Service Expected to Begin Fourth Quarter of 2023
Testing of Standard R211 Subway Cars Continuing with Passenger Service Expected this Spring
New Cars are Part of $6.1 Billion Subway Modernization Program
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) leadership today showcased one of the two R211 open gangway subway trains at the Coney Island Yard in Brooklyn that are currently undergoing testing and expected to be placed into revenue service in the last quarter of 2023 to determine potential future NYC Transit fleet purchases for open gangways. The open gangway cars are part of a 535-car order of the R211 model. That includes 20 cars with the open gangway feature unveiled today, an additional 515 cars with standard futuristic amenities, and 15 Staten Island Railway five-car trains.
These R211 cars are a critical part of the MTA’s ongoing modernization efforts and will be phased into service beginning on the A and C lines. The R211s feature 58-inch-wide door openings that are eight inches wider than standard door openings on existing cars. The wider doorways are designed to speed up boarding and reduce the amount of time trains sit in stations. While very similar to the standard R211 cars, the open gangway cars feature soft, accordion-like walls that connect subway cars and allow riders to move freely between them.
Testing on the standard R211s delivered is underway and are expected to be placed in passenger service in the Spring.
Both new subway car models include security cameras, additional accessible seating, digital displays that will provide more detailed station-specific information, brighter lighting and signage, among other features that improve the customer experience.
“Putting these cars into service will be a huge milestone in the MTA’s efforts to modernize our fleet,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “These modern subway cars will of course upgrade the passenger experience, but they will also complement our signal improvement efforts and allow us to run more trains and provide more frequent subway service.”
“These new subway cars feature security cameras and digital displays along with wider doorways that will help speed up boarding times, run more reliable service and create a more modern experience for riders,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. “NYC Transit is working hard to provide the best service possible as we continue to welcome riders back to mass transit.”
“NYC Transit is committed to delivering efficient, comfortable, and modern service to our customers. I am excited for New Yorkers to experience these new subway cars when they debut,” said New York City Transit Senior Vice President for Subways Demetrius Crichlow. “The open gangway cars, which will soon be introduced to the New York subway system, will allow riders to move more freely between trains and will provide greater accessibility.”
“The R211 represents another prime example of the successful collaboration between the MTA and the FTA to deliver for New Yorkers,” said Federal Transit Administration Regional Administrator Stephen Goodman. “This is a critical project, it’s a game changer, and we’re proud to be partners with the MTA in the delivery of these new cars, which will improve the customer experience.”
“Wider doors and additional accessible seating will drastically improve the experience for all riders and particularly those with disabilities,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo. “Open gangway pilot cars will also allow customers with mobility devices or strollers the ability to move through a train like never before, and I’m excited to try out these new cars.”
In October 2022, the MTA announced Board approval to order an additional 640 R211 subway cars, bringing the total number of new subway cars to 1,175 within the next two years. This second set of new subway cars is expected to be delivered in early 2025. If testing is successful, there is a second option for an additional 437 cars that could feature open gangways.
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