MTA unveils new fleet of subway cars

BROOKLYN, New York City (WABC) -- The MTA on Thursday gave the public a look at the first cars in its new subway fleet.

The agency says it has ordered 535 R211 subway cars and has the option for more than 1,600 more if the cars test well.

The pandemic coupled with technical issues delayed Kawasaki's production, and the long awaited reveal drew plenty of train buffs.

They have 58-inch doors, roughly 8 inches larger than the current cars.

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The MTA says this will cut down on the wait time in stations and decrease delays for riders.

"The new cars also include digital displays, they provide real-time information about service and stations, there's new grab rails, including double poles and better lighting, LED lighting," MTA Executive Vice President and COO Demetrius Crichlo said. "There's safety graphics."

The R211 cars, which replace the 40-year-old R46 model, will travel along the lettered track lines.

The MTA says 75 of the cars are for Staten Island.

"This has the potential of reducing our dwell time 25-30% at each station," Crichlo said.

Plus they're equipped with CBTC -- communication based train control -- which is used for signaling.

"What they're allowing us to do is run more trains safely closer together," MTA Construction and Development President Janno Lieber said. "More trains safely and more reliability."

A yearlong test of the new cars begins next week, but no passengers will be involved.

If all goes well, the delivery of the new cars will begin in 2022 and finish in 2024.

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This week Eyewitness News is honoring the MTA's Information Technology workers as our heroes of the week for their tireless work during the pandemic.

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