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R68 (New York City Subway car)

A R68 train on the D at Bay Parkway
R68 D train interior.jpg
Interior of an R68 car
In service1986-present
ManufacturerWestinghouse-Amrail Company: Westinghouse, ANF Industrie (all cars)
Jeumont Schneider (2500-2724), Alstom (2725-2924)
Family nameSMEE
Entered service
  • April 13, 1986 (revenue service testing)
  • June 20, 1986
(official service)
Number built425
Number in service425 (344 in revenue service during rush hours)
Formation2500–2915 (416 cars) are linked into 4 car units
2916–2924 (9 cars) remain as single units with OPTO switches added
Fleet numbers2500–2924
Capacity70 (seated)
Operator(s)New York City Subway
Depot(s)Concourse Yard (276 cars)
Coney Island Yard (149 cars)[1]
Service(s) assigned"B" train – 48 cars (6 trains, AM rush)
 – 40 cars (5 trains, PM rush)
"D" train – 232 cars (29 trains, AM rush)
 – 224 cars (28 trains, PM rush)
"G" train – 48 cars (12 trains)
"N" train "W" train – 24 cars (3 trains)
"Q" train – 8 cars (1 train, PM rush)
Franklin Avenue Shuttle – 4 cars (2 trains)[2]
Car body constructionStainless steel with fiberglass end bonnets
Train length2 car train: 150 feet (46 m)
4 car train: 300 feet (91 m)
8 car train: 600 feet (180 m)
Car length74 ft 8.5 in (22.77 m) (over anticlimbers)
Width10 ft (3,048 mm) (over threshold)
Height12.08 ft (3,682 mm)
Platform height3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Doors8 sets of 50 inch wide side doors per car
Maximum speed65 mph (105 km/h)
Weight92,720 lb (42,057 kilograms)
Traction systemAdTranz E-Cam Propulsion with Westinghouse 1447J motors 115 hp (85.8 kW) on all axles
Prime mover(s)electric motor
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)600 V DC Third rail
Current collection methodContact 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 systemWestinghouse H2C
Headlight typehalogen light bulbs
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 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[3], 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.[4]

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.[4]

Initial problems

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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[6] 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.[5]

Unused cab due to the reconfiguration of the R68s from single units to sets of four

Delivery and revenue service

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.[7] 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.

Replacement and Mid-Life Upgrades

The R68s are scheduled to remain in service until at least 2025-2030.[8] In 2010, the MTA proposed mid-life technological upgrades for the R68s, including LED destination signs and automated announcements.[9][10]

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 [it] (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.[11] However, none of the displays indicated the next stops along the routes.[12] All the upgrades were later removed, and it is unlikely that further technological improvements will be implemented in the near future.[13]

See also

Notes and references


  1. ^ See also:


  1. ^ "Subdivision Car Assignments: Cars Required June 24, 2018" (PDF). The Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. 61 (7): 16. July 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  2. ^ "Subdivision 'B' Car Assignments: Cars Required November 4, 2018" (PDF). The Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. 61 (12): 5. December 2018. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  3. ^ "Roster Summary By Type". Retrieved August 25, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Goldman, Ari L. (October 15, 1982). "FRENCH-U.S. CONCERN GRANTED M.T.A. PACT FOR 225 SUBWAY CARS". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Levine, Richard (March 13, 1987). "M.T.A. PICKS NEW SUBWAY CARS FROM JAPAN OVER A CONSORTIUM". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Levine, Richard (February 24, 1987). "Transit Authority Is Critical of its Newest Subway Cars". New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  7. ^ " The New York Transit Authority in the 1980s". Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  8. ^ MTA Capital Program Oversight Committee Hearing, June 2010 (page 20) Archived 2010-11-25 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Request For Information No. 9003 | Integrated Communications System on NYCT R62/R62A and R68/R68A Class Rail Cars
  10. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (2011-06-16). "Transit Agency Weighs Digital Upgrade for Subway Cars". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-26.
  11. ^ Rivoli, Dan (July 26, 2016). "G trains will be used to test new digital screens". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
  12. ^ "New Digital Signs on Some G Trains Will Display Date and Time". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on 2016-08-21. Retrieved 2016-07-29.
  13. ^ Request For Information No. 9003 | Integrated Communications System on NYCT R62/R62A and R68/R68A Class Rail Cars

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

Media related to R68 (New York City Subway car) at Wikimedia Commons