The ride on the MTA's worst subway line

January 20, 2012 4:40:39 AM PST
The subway cars on the C line are the oldest in the fleet, introduced back in 1964. But instead of heading to the train yard for retirement, the MTA is extending their use until 2017.

You've got to give the cars, known as R-32's, some credit. They are survivors. Several other classes of subway cars built between 1964 and 1973 have all been retired due to structural defects, but the C-line cars keep on going...unfortunately.

Riders of the C train feel like they are stepping onto a time machine. The stainless steel ridges are in stark contrast to the sleek modern A train that shares the Hoyt Street Schermerhorn station in Brooklyn. The A train glides in almost silently to pick up passengers. The C train sounds like it's in pain.

As for the ride, well, hold onto your stomach. Eyewitness News put a camera on the floor to illustrate how much shaking the passengers have to endure.

"It's insane, to the fact that the quality is slowly decreasing as the years age on and on and on," rider Brian McCullough said. "But eventually, hopefully, with an influx of cash, they'll be able to repair them."

New York City Transit is planning to make $24 million in repairs, but only in order to keep the aging fleet chugging away for the next five years. There simply isn't enough in the budget to retire the fleet. The Straphangers Campaign's annual survey ranked the C train dead last, again, with three times the breakdowns and the least understandable announcements in the system.

"It does work from point A to point B," rider Guy Nelson said. "I'd say the intercoms, at times, I mean, you can't hear anything. Even though I know where I'm going, if the train's going express or delayed, it'd be nice to hear that."

If all goes as planned, the C line cars will be retired in 2017, when they are 53 years old.

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