MTA hosts 1st ride aboard brand new 'subway car of the future'

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Friday, February 3, 2023
Sneak peek: MTA unveils 'subway car of the future'
The MTA hosted a special preview event, giving reporters a ride aboard its brand new R211 subway cars. N.J. Burkett has the story.

BROOKLYN, New York City (WABC) -- The MTA hosted a special preview event Friday, giving reporters a ride aboard a complete train made up of its brand new R211 subway cars, months before it goes into passenger service.

The train pulled out from MTA Coney Island Yard in Brooklyn and traveled to Kings Highway on the F line before returning to Coney Island.

The new cars are being touted as the trains of the future.

The gleaming silver railcar glided along the rails that seemed unimaginable just 20 years ago.

"These cars, so far as they've been tested in our system, are really much more reliable than cars that we have operating virtually anywhere," said MTA Chairman Janno Lieber. "These will be at least three times as reliable."

The first thing riders notice is that there are no interior doors. So riders can walk effortlessly between cars.

It's bright and airy because there is 10% more interior space. And because the doors are wider, passengers can get in and out faster, which means less time at station stops.

Onboard security is enhanced with an extensive network of surveillance cameras. Literally dozens are spaced throughout the train, which can be monitored in real-time by train operators and conductors.

"We talked about cameras on our subway network and our subway system," said NYC Transit Authority President Richard Davey. "All of these cars will come with cameras to ensure safety of our customers."

The model R211 is intended to replace the dreaded R46s- dingy, decrepit cattle cars that carried three generations of New Yorkers and still do.

They're the oldest subway cars in New York and first went into service in 1975 and are still running on the A and C lines and the Staten Island Railway.

"One of the challenges we have is keeping these old cars in service," Davey said. "And so this will help deliver better service for our customers. Yeah, it's shiny and it's new, but it's all about delivering better service. This will do that."

In addition to looking new and sleek, the R211 cars are equipped with monitoring computers that will relay real-time performance information.

If a train is experiencing mechanical trouble, it can diagnose itself long before being brought back to the repair shop, the MTA says.

After years of delays, the first cars are set to roll out for use by the general public this summer.

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