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R29/R99 (New York City Subway car)

A graffiti-covered R29/R99 train at Times Square-42nd Street in May 1973.
In service1962–2002
ManufacturerSt. Louis Car Company
Built atSt. Louis, Missouri
Entered serviceApril 28, 1962
Number built236
Number preserved2
Number scrapped234
FormationMarried Pairs
Fleet numbers8570–8805
Operator(s)New York City Subway
Car body constructionLAHT carbon steel
Car length51.04 feet (15.56 m)
Width8.75 feet (2,667 mm)
Height11.86 feet (3,615 mm)
Doors6 sets of 50 inch wide side doors per car
Maximum speed55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight70,000 lb (31,751 kg)
Traction systemGeneral Electric 17KG192H3 or Westinghouse XCA248B
Traction motorsGeneral Electric 1257E1 or Westinghouse 1447J/JR (?)
Power output115 hp (86 kW)
Electric system(s)600 V DC Third rail
Current collection methodContact shoe
Braking system(s)WABCO, "SMEE" (electrodynamic)
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The R29 was a New York City Subway car model built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1962 for the IRT A Division.


The R29s were numbered 8570-8805. Between 1985 and 1987, the R29s were overhauled under contract R99. Therefore, it is also acceptable to refer to the cars as R99s, provided one is referring to them in their post-overhaul state.

The R29s are very similar to appearance to the R26s and R28s, with the exceptions that they were built by a different company and permanently paired with link bars (instead of couplers). They were also the first subway cars to feature a bright red paint scheme.


The first set of R29s debuted on the 7 service on April 28, 1962. After initial in-service testing, the first train of R29s (8570-8579) operated on 7 service as a special 10-car train on April 29, 1962. On May 1 of that year, it was transferred to the 1 service. The original intention was to assign all of these cars to the 7 service, while transferring the existing R12 and R14 cars on the line to the mainline IRT services to begin replacing their existing Low-Voltage cars, many of which were approaching 50 years of age at the time. However plans had changed, and it was decided to order the new R33WF single cars and R36WF married pair cars to completely re-equip the 7 service in time for the new 1964-5 Worlds Fair exhibition in Flushing instead; these cars were also ordered during 1962.

Four cars (pairs 8686-8687 and 8804-8805) were tested with G70 trucks. Use of these trucks was discontinued in 1970.[1]

By 1982, all R29s received air conditioning.

After being rebuilt by Morrison Knudsen in Hornell, New York as Redbirds between 1985 and 1987 under the R99 retrofitting program,[2] they were split into two groups with different propulsion equipment. The Westinghouse cars, 8570-8687, ran on the 6 service alongside the R36s and some Westinghouse R36WFs, while the General Electric cars, 8688-8805, ran on the 2 and 5 services with the R26 and R28 cars.


In 1998, New York City Transit announced that it would phase out its Redbird cars - R26, R28, R29, R33, and R36 - with modern R142 and R142A cars. Retirement of the R29s began in the summer of 2001, until the last train of R29s made its final trip on the 5 on October 24, 2002.[3]

As the R29 cars were being retired, some were used in work service, including pairs 8600-8601 and 8634-8635, which were used for signal dolly service in 2001, and cars 8716-8719, which were used in 2002 for transporting one of three Rail Adhesion Cars throughout the system (R33 8885). These pairs of cars were later reefed.[4]

After retirement, pair 8678-8679 was retained for work service and stored at the Unionport Yard[5] until July 2013, when the pair was moved to Concourse Yard for storage and preservation, along with R26s 7774-7775 and R28s 7924-7925. 8678-8679 remains in storage, while the rest of the fleet was stripped of all parts and sunk into the Atlantic Ocean to create artificial reefs.

Route assignment history

Service Years In Service Cars
7 1962 Cars 8570–8579 (4/28/62 to 4/30/62 only)
1 1962 All cars from 5/1/62 onward
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 1963–1966 All General Electric and Westinghouse cars
2, 4, 5 1966–1976 All General Electric cars
1, 3 1966–1970 All Westinghouse cars
6 1970–1983 First 30 Westinghouse cars
1, 3 1970–1985 Last 88 Westinghouse cars
2, 5 1976–1981 All General Electric cars
2 1982–1985 All General Electric cars
1, 3 1983–1985 All Westinghouse cars
2, 5 1985–2002 All rebuilt General Electric cars
6 1985–2002 All rebuilt Westinghouse cars
7 1978-1985 Some General Electric and Westinghouse cars


See also


  1. ^ Car 8686 in 6 service at Whitlock Ave.
  2. ^ []
  3. ^ a b George Chiasson, Jr. "A Historic Perspective of the R-26, R-28, and R-29". New York City Subway Resources. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
  4. ^ []
  5. ^ [1]