News & Reviews News Wire New York MTA sets farewell for long-serving subway equipment

New York MTA sets farewell for long-serving subway equipment

By | December 13, 2021

Budd-built R32 to operate on four Sundays, ending 58 years in service

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Stainless steel subway train in station
Stainless steel subway train in station
A northbound New York City Transit C train of R32 cars pauses at the 14th Street Station on Dec. 1, 2019. NYC Transit has announced farewell runs for the Budd-built equipment. (Joseph M. Calisi)

NEW YORK — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced plans for a series of celebratory final runs as it retires subway equipment that it says are some of the world’s oldest active subway cars.

The R32 cars, nicknamed Brightliners, were built by the Budd Co. in Philadelphia, with the first of the cars making their revenue debut on Sept. 14, 1965. One set of the cars will operate on four consecutive Sundays beginning Dec. 19, with the final run coming on Jan. 9, 2022.

“As we continue the work to modernize the transit system and improve the customer experience, it is truly bittersweet to say farewell to a fleet of historic R-32 trains that have served New Yorkers for nearly six decades,” New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano said in a press release. “A significant amount of history goes along with these trains and we’re delighted that we are able to offer the opportunity to ride them one — or even a few — more times in their final days.”

On Dec. 19, Dec. 26, and Jan. 2, the train will operate on the F and D lines. It will depart the 2nd Avenue Station on the F line at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., making all express stops to 145 Street Station on the D line. It will make return trips from 145th Street on the D line at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., making all express stops back to 2nd Avenue.

On the final day of operation, Jan. 9, the train will operate on the Q line, where the cars made their debut in 1964 on what was then the BMT Brighton Line. The train will depart Brighton Beach at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. to 96th Street, making express stops on the Brighton and Broadway lines via the Manhattan Bridge. Return trips from 96th Street will depart at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.

“We are delighted to help retire this iconic car class,” said Concetta Bencivenga, director of the New York Transit Museum. “While this celebration is ‘End of the Year, End of an Era!’, it is also a testament to the Transit Museum’s ongoing recovery effort and hopefully the start of the return of our beloved nostalgia rides.”

The R32 cars received the Brightliner nickname because of their stainless steel exteriors. In all, 600 of the cars were built; most were retired in the late 2000s, with some having been sunk in the Atlantic Ocean as part of an artificial reef program.

3 thoughts on “New York MTA sets farewell for long-serving subway equipment

  1. What I will miss is they are the last cars where you can stand and look directly out the front window. (Correct me if I’m wrong)

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