A R68 train on the D at Bay Parkway
Interior of an R68 car
|Manufacturer||Westinghouse-Amrail Company: Westinghouse, ANF Industrie (all cars)|
Jeumont Schneider (2500-2724), Alstom (2725-2924)
|Number in service||425 (344 in revenue service during rush hours)|
|Formation||2500–2915 (416 cars) are linked into 4 car units|
2916–2924 (9 cars) remain as single units with OPTO switches added
|Operator(s)||New York City Subway|
|Depot(s)||Concourse Yard (276 cars)|
Coney Island Yard (149 cars)
|Service(s) assigned|| – 48 cars (6 trains, AM rush)|
– 40 cars (5 trains, PM rush)
– 232 cars (29 trains, AM rush)
– 224 cars (28 trains, PM rush)
– 48 cars (12 trains)
– 24 cars (3 trains)
– 8 cars (1 train, PM rush)
– 4 cars (2 trains)
|Car body construction||Stainless steel with fiberglass end bonnets|
|Train length||2 car train: 150 feet (46 m)|
4 car train: 300 feet (91 m)
8 car train: 600 feet (180 m)
|Car length||74 ft 8.5 in (22.77 m) (over anticlimbers)|
|Width||10 ft (3,048 mm) (over threshold)|
|Height||12.08 ft (3,682 mm)|
|Platform height||3.76 ft (1.15 m)|
|Doors||8 sets of 50 inch wide side doors per car|
|Maximum speed||65 mph (105 km/h)|
|Weight||92,720 lb (42,057 kilograms)|
|Traction system||AdTranz E-Cam Propulsion with Westinghouse 1447J motors 115 hp (85.8 kW) on all axles|
|Prime mover(s)||electric motor|
|Acceleration||2.5 mph/s (4.0 km/(h⋅s))|
|Deceleration||3.0 mph/s (4.8 km/(h⋅s)) (Full Service) |
3.2 mph/s (5.1 km/(h⋅s)) (Emergency)
|Electric system(s)||600 V DC Third rail|
|Current collection method||Contact shoe|
|Braking system(s)||New York Air Braking (NYAB) GSX23 Newtran "SMEE" braking system, NYAB tread brake rigging model TBU190|
|Safety system(s)||dead man's switch, tripcock|
|Coupling system||Westinghouse H2C|
|Headlight type||halogen light bulbs|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The R68 is a B Division New York City Subway car order consisting of 425 cars built by the Westinghouse-Amrail Company, a joint venture of Westinghouse, ANF Industrie, Jeumont Schneider, and Alstom. The cars were built in France from 1986 to 1988 and shipped through New York Harbor.
The R68 was the third R-type contract to be built with 75-foot (22.86 m) cars (the previous two being the R44 and R46), which have more room for sitting and standing passengers per car than the 60-foot (18.29 m) cars that were used previously and afterward. This order was evolved from the R55, a proposed car that was considered in the early 1980s, but never left the drawing board, or purchased due to a lack of funding, and more attention was paid to replacing the worn-out R12, R14, R15, and R17 IRT fleet at the time. The cars, numbered 2500–2924, cost about $1 million each. They replaced many R10s dating from 1948, all remaining 6300-series R16s dating from 1954 to 1955, and some R27s and R30s dating from 1960 to 1962. The cars are built with stainless steel, and are graffiti-resistant.
On October 15, 1982, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that it would purchase 225 cars from Westinghouse-Amraill. The cars were built in France from 1986 to 1988 and shipped through New York Harbor. The first of the 225 cars were initially scheduled to arrive in January 1985, with the entire order complete in May 1986. The projected cost of the order was $210 million, or about $933,000 per car.
The R68's manufacturers suffered from significant system integration problems. Poor communication and coordination between the carbody builder (ANF Industrie) and the chassis assembler (Westinghouse) led to operational failures. Due to this, the R68s became known as a "lemon". During the beginning of service, the R68s had problems with malfunctioning doors, faulty wiring, electrical controls that suddenly lost power, and malfunctioning air brakes. In addition, the fleet had a high breakdown rate. Another problem occurred on November 11, 1986, when a train of R68s failed to climb the grade on the Manhattan Bridge. However, extensive work performed by the New York City Transit Authority provided solutions to the fleet's many problems.
The MTA was given a second option order of an additional 200 subway cars from Westinghouse-Amrail. However, due to problems from the manufacturer, the MTA awarded it to Kawasaki. Westinghouse-Amrail offered to have the 200 cars built for $1,012,000 each, while Kawasaki agreed to have them built for $958,000 per car. This order became the R68A.
The delivery of the first R68 was made on February 4, 1986, but it failed to pass a sharp curve on the South Brooklyn Railway trackage on 38th Street in Brooklyn, and as a result the curve had to be rebuilt and the radius eased somewhat, and the delivery took place on February 26, 1986. The 30-day acceptance test for the R68s began on the Brighton Line on April 13, 1986. The R68s' first entry to revenue service was on June 20, 1986, on the Brooklyn half of the divided D train with the first fleet consisting of cars 2500–2507. There were two contracts to supply the R68 fleet. The primary order consisted of cars 2500-2724 while the option order consisted of cars 2725-2924. The R68, therefore, became the first subway fleet to have an option order.
The R68s are based in the Concourse Yard in the Bronx and the Coney Island Complex in Brooklyn and assigned to the B, D, G, N, Q, W and Franklin Avenue Shuttle. The R68s on the shuttle remain as single units with OPTO switches added while the rest of the fleet were reconfigured into sets of four.
The R68s are scheduled to remain in service until at least 2025-2030. In 2010, the MTA proposed mid-life technological upgrades for the R68s, including LED destination signs and automated announcements.
LED lights from CRRC (China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation) were tested on cars 2860–2867. LED lights, door chimes (similar to those on the R142, R142A and R179) and PA systems from SEPSA (Italian: Società per l'Esercizio di Pubblici Servizi Anonima; an Italian railroad company) were tested on 2892–2895. Public Address and Intercom, LED displays, LCD displays and CCTV as well as Train Operator displays from CSiT (CSinTrans Inc.) were tested on cars 2844 and 2846. Display screens from Melco were tested on cars 2804-2807. LED lights and surveillance cameras were tested on 2792-2795.[a] Each program gave out the date and time and all retrofitted cars ran on the G. However, none of the displays indicated the next stops along the routes. All the upgrades were later removed, and it is unlikely that further technological improvements will be implemented in the near future.
Media related to R68 (New York City Subway car) at Wikimedia Commons