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R62 (New York City Subway car)

An R62 train on the 3 entering Sutter Avenue–Rutland Road
Interior of R62 Subway.jpg
Interior of an R62 car
In service1984–present
ManufacturerKawasaki Heavy Industries
Built atKobe, Japan
Family nameSMEE
Entered serviceNovember 29, 1983 (revenue service testing)
Number built325
Number in service315 (260 in revenue service during rush hours)
Number scrapped8 (+2 for fire training)
Formation5-car sets (originally single cars)
Fleet numbers1301–1625
Capacity42 (seated-A car)
44 (seated-B car)
Operator(s)New York City Subway
Depot(s)240th Street Yard (10 cars)
Livonia Yard (305 cars)[1]
Service(s) assigned"1" train – 10 cars (1 train)
"3" train – 260 cars (26 trains)[2]
Car body constructionStainless steel with fiberglass end bonnets
Train length510.4 feet (155.6 m)
Car length51.04 feet (15.56 m)
Width8.60 feet (2,621 mm)
Height11.89 feet (3,624 mm)
Platform height3.6458 ft (1.11 m)
Doors6 sets of 50 inch wide side doors per car
Maximum speed55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight74,900 pounds (34,000 kg)
(Odd car)
74,540 pounds (33,810 kg)
(Even car)
Traction systemBombardier Groupswitch ECAM propulsion w/ 4 General Electric 1257E1 motors per car
all cars originally had General Electric SCM 17KG1924A1 Group as built.
Power output115 hp (85.8 kW) on all axles
Acceleration2.5 mph/s (4.0 km/(h⋅s))
Deceleration3.0 mph/s (4.8 km/(h⋅s)) (Full Service)
3.2 mph/s (5.1 km/(h⋅s)) (Emergency)
Electric system(s)625 V DC Third rail
Current collection methodContact shoe
Braking system(s)WABCO RT2 Braking System
WABCO Tread Brake Unit
Safety system(s)emergency brakes
Coupling systemWestinghouse H2C
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The R62 is a New York City Subway car model built between 1983 and 1985 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Kobe, Japan for the IRT A Division. The cars replaced the remaining R12s, R14s and R15s, which were all retired by the end of 1984.


The R62s are numbered 1301–1625, totaling 325 cars. Each car was purchased at an average price of US$918,293.

The R62 was the first stainless steel and air-conditioned subway car built for the "A" Division. A graffiti-resistant glaze was applied to all of the cars because of the extensive graffiti tagging of nearly all of the subway cars in the system since 1971.[3] They continued a controversial interior design by employing bucket seating, which was very narrow with each seat being about 17 inches (430 mm) wide. This reduced the number of seats per car when compared to standard bench seating, but allowed for higher standing capacity.[4] This design originated with the R44 and continued through the R68A order, as well as the R110A prototype cars.[4] Four cars in the order (1587–1590) were built with bench seating after complaints by passengers upon delivery.[5]

The R62s have full-width cabs at each end of each five-car set, but retain intermediate half-width cabs in the remaining cab positions, as the trains were originally built as single cars.[4]

The R62s also brought back the much more reliable WABCO RT-2 or SMEE braking system after an absence from subway equipment last used on their R42s in 1969. WABCO also discontinued their trouble prone RT-5 or P-wire braking systems after disastrous results, with continuous teething problems used during the 1970s period.

Currently, most R62s are maintained at the Livonia Yard in Brooklyn and assigned to the 3. One 10-car set is maintained at the 240th Street Yard in the Bronx and assigned to the 1.


Car order

After the R36 cars were delivered in 1963–1964, no more IRT cars were built for another 20 years. Several rolling stock orders were proposed for the IRT during this time.[4] In 1966, a lightweight R39 subway car, similar to the ones used on the Market–Frankford Line in Philadelphia, was proposed for the oldest elevated IRT and BMT lines; however, this proposal failed because most of the remaining elevated lines were closed, and demolished instead. In 1973, another proposal to replace the R12 through R17 series was deferred because not enough voters approved it.[4] Finally, in 1979, with the bus and train fleets in poor and decrepit shape, the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) looked into capital maintenance and bond acts to replace the oldest IRT cars (the R12s, R14s, R15s, and R17s) and to rebuild and refurbish newer (at the time) IRT cars (R21s and beyond). A bond issue for 136 new IRT cars was approved, and funds were procured for another new 1,014 IRT cars in 1981. These cars were referred to as the "R62" contract.[4] The R62 order was originally proposed as an order of 260 64-foot (20 m) cars, but the selected plan called for 325 51.4-foot (15.7 m) IRT cars instead.

In July 1981, the NYCTA began the bidding process for 325 cars under the R62 contract.[4] Nissho-Iwai American Corp, the parent company of Japanese train car builder Kawasaki Heavy Industries, was the lowest bidder for the initial 325 cars, while American company Budd Company submitted a high bid for the initial contract, and a low bid for the rest of the cars. The NYCTA did not want to award the large contract to a single builder, as it did in 1975–1978 with the R46s (which were plagued by mechanical problems and cracks in the chassis).[4]

The R62 contract was ordered on April 12, 1982, and awarded to Kawasaki Heavy Industries. This was the first time a foreign company was chosen to build cars for the New York City Subway.[4] Because a 1981 law now allowed the MTA and suppliers to broker contracts rather than accept the lowest bid, the MTA awarded the base contract to Kawasaki.[6]


The cars entered revenue testing on the 4 on November 29, 1983; and were also tested on the 2, 5 and 7 trains.[6] The cars entered service on May 7, 1984, as part of the Car Appearance Program. Soon after delivery, the cars also proved themselves much less prone to breakdowns than previous rolling stock.[6] All 325 cars were in service by August 1985, making the 4 the first entirely graffiti-free service in the system in many years.[6]

Kawasaki did not wish to build the additional cars the MTA wanted as a separate part of the R62 order, under contract R62A, for the same price per car. Bombardier Transportation, an Integrated Transportation rail car company headquartered in Montreal, won a contract to supply these additional 825 cars under a license from Kawasaki.[4][3][6]


On August 28, 1991, a sleep-deprived and intoxicated motorman caused a southbound 4 train to derail north of the 14th Street – Union Square station in Manhattan. The train was diverted from the express track to the local due to repairs, and the motorman sped through the switch at 40 miles per hour (64 km/h); as a result, the first car made the switch while several other cars in the consist did not. Five riders were killed and several dozen were injured. Cars 1435-1437 and 1439-1440 were wrecked in this accident; cars 1435, 1437, and 1439-1440 were scrapped by 2001, while 1436 was reefed in February 2008.[7] The remaining five cars of the consist (cars 1431–1434 and 1438) are now unitized.[3][8]

On December 21, 1994, disgruntled computer analyst Edward J. Leary firebombed a crowded 4 train at Fulton Street. Car 1391 suffered interior damage, but was repaired and returned to service. A little more than three years later, however, on February 3, 1998, cars 1391–1395, while out of service, was rear-ended by another out-of-service train of R33s at the 239th Street Yard. All five cars suffered anticlimber damage, but were repaired and returned to service.

On October 25, 2000, during the 2000 World Series, an R62 4 train collided head-on with a work train at the Fordham Road station on the IRT Jerome Avenue Line in the Bronx. Car 1369 and one half of 1370 were damaged beyond repair.[9] Car 1366 and the undamaged half of car 1370 were donated to the FDNY Randall's Island training center, where they are used as training cars along with R40A 4461. Meanwhile, cars 1367 and 1368 were reefed in February 2008.


Though no R62s were retired by replacement, the aforementioned accidents caused the premature retirement of ten cars.[10] The remaining cars are expected to be replaced starting in 2023 and lasting into 2026. The MTA proposed mid-life technological upgrades for the R62s in 2010, including LED destination signs and automated announcements.[11][12]

In January 2019, the MTA announced that it would be replacing the R62/A fleets with the R262s, a new fleet that would be ordered as part of a future capital program.[13]:25

See also


  1. ^ []
  2. ^ "Subdivision 'A' Car Assignments: Cars Required May 9, 2019" (PDF). The Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. 62 (6): 4. June 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c " Chapter 11, Another Renewal for the IRT". April 10, 1998. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j " R-62 (Kawasaki) -- R-62A (Bombardier)". 1988. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ a b c d e Feinman, Mark S. (December 8, 2004). " The New York Transit Authority in the 1980s". Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  7. ^ []
  8. ^ 44:10-50:10 in this video do a small documentary on the accident: []
  10. ^ MTA Capital Program Oversight Committee Hearing, June 2010 (page 20) Archived November 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Request For Information No. 9003 | Integrated Communications System on NYCT R62/R62A and R68/R68A Class Rail Cars
  12. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (June 16, 2011). "Transit Agency Weighs Digital Upgrade for Subway Cars". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  13. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2019.

Further reading

  • Sansone, Gene. Evolution of New York City subways: An illustrated history of New York City's transit cars, 1867–1997. New York Transit Museum Press, New York, 1997 ISBN 978-0-9637492-8-4

External links