Welcome the new, long-awaited R211 subway cars to the MTA family!
The MTA held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the arrival of its latest subway cars, the first to enter the system in more than five years. The glistening and unspoiled R211 cars with signature blue-and-gold seats started their journey on the A line at the northernmost tip of the line at 207th Street station in upper Manhattan’s Inwood. The event was live-streamed and lucky members of the public jumped on board long before the train pulled out of the station.
The event represented the arrival of the first batch of R211 cars, with the rest of the R211 fleet designated for the A Line to come in a few months, according to New York City Transit President Richard Davey.
“Today is the first day to roll out a number of these cars,” Davey said. “We’re excited to retire some cars that survived not only eight U.S. presidencies (and) probably 208 New York City Transit presidencies.”
The Kawasaki-manufactured cars will then expand to the C Line. The train is part of a 535-R211 car order, with an additional 640 cars on top of that. The Staten Island Railway will also use the R211s.
“We’re pushing 1,200 cars into the New York City subway system,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “We’re ready to really start taking advantage of new signaling and run more trains.”
The R211s come with:
- Security cameras on the ceilings
- Wider door openings (58 inches compared to 50 inches on existing train cars)
- Open “gangway” passageways (similar to articulated buses with their “shotgun” layouts)
- Digital route maps above the doors
- Additional accessible seating, including flip seats to accommodate wheelchairs
- Red and green flashing lights lining doors to signify entry and departure times
- Brighter lighting and signage
Some R211 models, such as the one at the inaugural run, have doors between each car. Others will have open passageways. Straphangers can expect some features to remain the same, including the ubiquitous, robotic “Stand clear of the closing doors, please” announcements.
That moment when you’re waiting for the train and ✨this✨ pulls up.
New York, welcome aboard the R211.
Now in service on the A line 🎉 pic.twitter.com/711yPdCv96
— MTA (@MTA) March 10, 2023
The A Line is one of the MTA’s longest, stretching 31 miles from Inwood in Manhattan and ending in Far Rockaway in Queens.
One city legislator who attended the event said it was time that the MTA provided modern, clean cars.
“From Inwood to Far Rockaway, New Yorkers deserve state-of-the-art subway infrastructure,” said Selvena Brooks-Powers, Chair of the City Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who attended the unveiling. “New Yorkers deserve subways that are clean, safe, and accessible for everyone, including the elderly and members of the disability community with wider doors, more accessible seating and security cameras, which is a big deal.”
Though a man of few words, MTA train operator Tito Thorpe shared his excitement to be the first to pilot the R211s. He emphasized the “modern and up-to-date” cars that he said will grow on him like “a new shoe.”
“I get to be the first train operator to take this train into service with customers,” Thorpe said. “I’m very hopeful it’s going to be an eventful evening.”