Subway lemons strike again: MTA pulls new R179 cars after Manhattan uncoupling

Illustration by Luis Matos/Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A northbound A train made up of new R179 cars split in half in Manhattan early on Wednesday morning, June 3, leaving transit officials feeling sour about possibly having lemons on the rails.

According to acting MTA New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg, the train was pulling into the Chambers Street Station when the sixth and seventh car of the ten-car train separated from the group. Ten passengers were evacuated with no injuries.

The R179 cars, which have been under intense scrutiny after a series of doors malfunctioned while in service earlier this year.  

The entire R179 fleet was temporarily pulled off the tracks in January for thorough inspections and repairs — and after Wednesday’s incident, Feinberg had no choice but to take them out of service again.

“At this time, we believe this to be an isolated incident, however, I am launching a full investigation, and out of an abundance of caution, the entire R179 fleet is being pulled from service until further notice,” Feinberg said. “We have redeployed additional spare cars and minimal impacts to service are anticipated.”

Whether or not the cars will return to service after this latest incident remains a mystery. Feinberg put the squeeze on the R179 cars’ producer, Bombardier, over the latest problem.

“This marks the latest unacceptable issue with one of Bombardier’s R179 cars. Customer and employee safety is New York City Transit’s North Star,” Feinberg said. “We will not compromise one inch on safety. We will not return the fleet to service without certainty and validation that all cars are fit for passenger service – period.”