Mar
28

Bombardier set to win $599 million R179 contract

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In a few years, the R160s will no longer be the newest members of the Transit fleet. (Photo by flickr user Queens Surface 295)

When the MTA Board gathers to meet later this morning, the august governing body will vote to determine the fate of the system’s next rolling stock purchase, and all signs indicate that they will award Bombardier with a $599 million to build out the R179s. The entire construction process, as Joe Lhota told me on Monday, will take place in New York state, and the MTA will receive 300 new cars as it gears up to retire the oldest rolling stock in the system.

As of now, the exact technical schematics of the new cars are unknown. It appears as though they will be surveillance-camera ready and will likely be modeled off of the R160s currently in service. We know that the 300-car order will spell the end of the line for the R32s and R42s currently in use along the C and J/Z lines respectively. Bombardier, builders of the R62A and R142 cars, bid approximately $57 million less for the project than ALSKAW, according to MTA documents.

Impressively enough, the cars these R179s will replace beginning in approximately 38 months — or by mid 2015 — have held up remarkably well considering their age. The R32s were the first mass-produced stainless subway cars and entered service in the mid-1960s. They will be past 50 by the time they are shelved, and their current upkeep and maintenance stats show their age. These cars breakdown more frequently and require more maintenance than the MTA’s newer models. The R42s, the city’s first fully air conditioned cars, entered service in 1969 and 1970.

The history of the R179 is an interesting one as well. When the MTA wraps Phase 1 of the Second Ave. Subway in 2016, it will need additional car sets to maintain service levels along the BMT Broadway line and the four-stop extension to the Upper East Side. Originally, the authority had planned on requesting a base order of 290 cars for the R179s with a purchase option for an additional 80 cars that would service Second Ave.

As the MTA notes in the staff summary, though, the funding didn’t materialize as expected and the authority weighed demand. “A reassessment of projected ridership growth as well as anticipated changes in ridership due to changes in demographics in certain parts of New York City led to the conclusion that 300 new cars would satisfy NYC Transit’s need in lieu of the original 290 plus 50 cars,” the document says. “It was determined that car requirements for 2nd Avenue Subway Phase 1 can be accommodated with existing spare cars.”

So with the impending end of the 222 R32s and 48 R42s still in service, straphangers want to know if their line will get the shiny new toys. Will the C train move up from worst to first? And what of the sets along the Jamaica lines? Early reports indicate that the new cars will head elsewhere while the C line will get the hand-me-downs. I’d imagine the A will enjoy the R179s while the C gets the old R46s that run along the A.

And so, the upgrade of the rolling stock, an unsung hero in the revival of the subway system, will continue. Now how about those R211s?



Categories : Rolling Stock

73 Responses to “Bombardier set to win $599 million R179 contract”

  1. Alex C says:

    They sure as heck better not be getting steel components from China like they did for the new el cars they built for Chicago. I understand construction will happen in NY state, but the sourcing of the components. Otherwise, I look forward to Bombardier’s expertise and experience in this order. I wonder how many of these will be 5-car and 4-car sets.

    • pete says:

      Otherwise, I look forward to Bombardier’s expertise and experience in this order.
      Last 25 years of rapid transit car buying has been basically no bid contracts because of pointless buy new york laws. Those cornfield factories in upstate aren’t used for anything but NY State rolling stock. The factories would close the moment the MTA orders stop rolling in. Sounds to me like the R142s will be getting scrapped in the early 2020s at the aggressive rate the MTA is going. Davis Bacon also guarantees the factories will be unionized so they will never be used for non governmental purchases, not creating any sustainable jobs.

      • Sounds to me like the R142s will be getting scrapped in the early 2020s at the aggressive rate the MTA is going.

        Huh?

        No one is talking about retiring the R142s, and those won’t be scrapped until the mid-2040s when their end-of-life nears.

  2. Shabazz says:

    They better have louder announcements than the R-160′s. Those announcements are really quiet and sometimes succumb to noise and vibrations within the car. Generally speaking, I also wish these new trains had some more style to them, and didn’t look like metal boxes. The new PATH trains are far more attractive.

    • TP says:

      Oddly enough I hope they have quieter announcements. I think the R160 announcements are too loud! And I think the new PATH cars have way too bright lighting. It feels like riding in a hospital. I don’t want to see my fellow riders that well. We’ll have to agree to disagree on both of these issues…

      • Alex says:

        Yeah, I’m surprised that anyone finds the R160 announcements too quiet. I’ve always found them plenty loud. As far as the aesthetics, even the small touch of red on the R142s added a little something IMO. I was disappointed when the R160s came out and were just black and steel.

  3. chris R32_3671 says:

    Waste of money, the MTA pulled a dumb move, why would you order 300 cars knowing that after the older cars are retierd, the R46s are gonna need to be pulled from service by the time 2016 comes, they should have made this order over 1,150 cars that would have been enough to wipe out all R32,42 and R46 subway cars, btw this won’t be enough to completely wipe out the R32s, SI has R44 cars that needs to be replaced as well and we are gonna loose 64 R46 cars to staten island, this order was a total waste of money, if it was a larger order then it would have made sense and it could have saved the MTA 500 million

    • al says:

      R211
      They might go with 67 feet long cars with 52 feet truck center distances. This allows for reduction in car and bogie count vs 60′ cars while still allowing alignment at the car ends for enclosed gangway between cars. 5 doors per side would speed boarding and alighting and reduce dwell time. It might even fit on the BMT Eastern Division curves.

      • Someone says:

        The equivalent of 900 75-ft long cars = 1,007.46269 67-ft long cars.
        Besides, if the MTA ordered 67-foot cars, the subway wouldn’t be able to get platform screen doors (if it ever orders any) until 2055 at the very least.

    • Andrew says:

      Retiring 752 cars prematurely would have been a dumb move. The R46′s will be retired by the R44′s. I don’t think any R46′s will be going to Staten Island.

      One thing that this order will do is finally rid the Eastern Division, with its special requirements of short cars and short trains, of its old cars. The R211′s won’t need to conform to those requirements.

      • Ed says:

        Well it not true at all R-46 will go Staten Island

        • Someone says:

          No, the MTA is currently planning to replace the SIR R44s with R211s, which will either be 60 feet or 75 feet long. The majority of SIR platforms are only 300 ft long and no 67-footer can exactly fit that length without overrunning the platform or having a train that is too short.

  4. Justin Samuels says:

    The MTA had to deal with the budget they got for the 5 year capital plan. The state just funded three years of the latest capital plan. So probably on the next capital plan the MTA will order the 211 to replace the r46s. This 179 order is enough to replace the 222 R32 card and the 48 R42 cars in service.

  5. David Brown says:

    I took a look at the MTA website, to see what they had planned with their new funding mechanism. The costs of the cars are bad enough, but the biggest complaint is they are not fixing the worst of the major subway stations (Meaning Chambers St on the “J” & “Z” and 149th St Grand Concourse). I can understand fixing certain stations are not cost effective (Such as 21st St on the “G”), but everyone knows how bad Chambers and 149th are. It is so funny that people love to bash Republicans over MTA funding, but where is the outrage about the Democrats (Such as those running for Mayor saying zero about Chambers St)? They should have demanded that Chambers St be a major priority for the MTA (Of course, the overruns on Fulton St & Bleeker St alone, could have paid for that Station’s renovation alone). To quote Aerosmith” “Same Old Story, Same Old Song And Dance My Friend.”.

    • R. Graham says:

      Because state Senate Republicans have actual MTA power. The Mayor really doesn’t. At least the Senate has influence over the Governor who has all the power. The Mayor has none when it comes to transit.

  6. Onix Navarro says:

    First off, let me just say that I love this site because of it’s vast subway news. That being said, I agree with David on the deplorable conditions of Chambers and 149th, but let’s talk about the D line up in The Bronx. It’s horrid! And what makes it worse is that only 2 stations, Tremont and Yankee Stadium have gotten any kind of rehab. And in the case of new rolling stock: are we ever going to see new trains on the D line?

    • David Brown says:

      I agree 100% about the “D” line, you can come up with a number of terms associated with the letter “D”, deplorable, dirty, and decrepit come to mind. However, since the textbook meaning of economics is “The study of SCARCE resources and how BEST to allocate them.” (Obviously a subject alien to those at MTA (Particularly as it relates to the words scarce and best)). Those few words should give a clue to which SHOULD be the priority stations to be renovated, which of course, are the most used and (or) major transfer points. Included are: 1: 138th St Grand Concourse (“2″, “3″ “4″ & “5″) (Not to mention right next to Hostos College). 2: West 4th St The first of two brutal “D” train Stations (“A”, “B”, “C”, “F”, “M” and of course, “D”). 3: 14th St (“F” & “M” part)(While dealing with that station they should make the “B” the local and the “F” the express (Because the “B” follows the “D” and the “M” the “F”). 4: 145th Bronx. That should be the other priority “D” Station as it is a “B” terminal and the “A” and “C” stop there as well. 4 & 4a Chambers & 149th Grand Concourse. In my humble opinion, a real opportunity was missed to make the MTA accountable for the terrible shape of those Stations.

      • Alex says:

        I understand the logic of swapping the F and B on the local and the express, but it’s not practical. The F and M currently never mingle with the B and the D, they merely run parallel. Running the B local and the F express would require switchovers before 34th and again before W4, causing a lot of backups with little gain.

      • Henry says:

        With the amount of delays on the F, having the B & F swap would make any delays on the F ripple through the D, the N, and a whole bunch of other trains that these share tracks with.

        As an F rider from Queens who needs to get downtown, I dislike the current setup, but the extra 5 minutes gained would not be worth the trouble.

      • Someone says:

        Having the B and F cross over at W 4 St would have a very negative effect on train capacity on the line. The F would barely pass the M and the D would not pass the B at all.

    • And in the case of new rolling stock: are we ever going to see new trains on the D line?

      The cars that run on the D line are R68s that were delivered between 1986 and 1988. Their lifespan puts them up for replacement in the late 2020s. They still run fine, and the MTA is considering technology upgrades on them [pdf]. As to the stations, it’s more important to have functioning cars than nice looking stations, and in a time of limited funds, rolling stock gets priority.

      • Andrew says:

        There have been plenty of station rehabs, and there will be plenty more. But there’s more to a station rehab than making a station look pretty. In fact, Chambers had a component replacement two or three years ago – the platform edges and the steps (and maybe other components too) are new.

        Most capital work isn’t visible to the public. Even if you never see a substation or a signal, you depend on them every time you get on the train.

  7. Adam says:

    The R46′s can stand until the R211 is ready to replace them. I don’t personally mind the R46s lasting until the 211s are ready. Seeing the R32s and R42s go will be hard, but hey we got 5 more years.

  8. Larry Littlefield says:

    If I were the MTA, I would think of eliminating investment in the components of the system people can see and focus on the parts they can’t see.

    If you have fewer subway cars, you have less service. If stations become so decrepit they have to close, you walk or bike farther. But if you have signal or structural failure, you have no service.

    You have to consider the possibility that reinvestment in the system will stop dead three years from now.

  9. John-2 says:

    At the very least, with only a 300 car order, the MTA probably needs to look at the local economic conditions when both the R-179 arrives and the Second Ave. subway extension opens. If we’re still in a recessionary cycle, they can probably get away with adding just the 300 cars while extending the system and not face a car crunch; but if the economy has recovered and/or is in a major growth phase by 2016, they might want to hold onto 50-100 of the best of the R-32s as rush-hour spares, or we’re going to be back to the situation of the mid-to-late 1990s, when the MTA retired the R-30s because it didn’t anticipate the boom in the economy and the increase in subway ridership.

  10. Al D says:

    The L is going to need a few more train sets as well since not enough R143s (oops R160s) were ordered. Sensing a pattern here…

    • Larry Littlefield says:

      One question is whether maintenance can be scheduled to reduce the number of spares the subway system has to carry.

      Note to Ben: I can no longer download the annual data from the National Transit Database, because the unzip program does not work on my I-Mac and my employer blocks such programs at work. But if you have a PC, why don’t you download it and write about it.

      http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/data.htm

      One thing to look at is VOMS (Vehicles Operated in Maximum Service) compared with the size of the fleet for the subway. It will knock your eyes out. I’m willing to bet that back in private sector days, maintenance was done overnight or in the mid-days, with the whole fleet out on the road at rush hour.

      • Andrew says:

        I’m not sure what you find so surprising, but every transit system has spares. Otherwise, any one car that’s out of service during rush hour for any reason would render it impossible to make service. It would also be impossible to overhaul the cars or to make any modifications or upgrades that take longer than a few hours.

        http://www.tcrponline.org/bin/.....mode=false (free registration required)

    • Andrew says:

      Is it possible that some of the R179′s are going to the L? (Do we even know the 4/5 car breakdown?)

  11. BrooklynBus says:

    Let’s make it simple. Just send the R 179s to 179th Street.

  12. UESider says:

    is it feasible to have articulated trains similar to buses? could you have either a 4/5 car set or even an 8-10 car set with no divide between cars?

    • Alex C says:

      http://nycsubway.org/cars/bmtodd.html
      Beyond feasible. It’s been done, and transit agencies in other civilized countries for years have bought articulated rail cars that allow passengers to easily walk through a train.

      • Dave G says:

        The BMT did it – first with the “D type” cars, also known as the Triplex – and later with the Multi’s.
        The D-type were three-car sets that rode one four trucks – two trucks were situated between cars. Above each of these trucks was a cylindrical passage between the cars. These ran from 1927 to 1965.
        Then there were the multi sets – the all-aluminum “Green Hornet” from 1936 (retired before WWII for the aluminum scrap drive), the “Zephyr” – a stainless steel version built in 1937 that lasted into the mid-1950s, and the five sets (five cars each) of the “production” Multi’s – built on cold rolled steel in 1939 and lasting until the R27/R30 fleet arrived in 1960.

        Ah, then there was the final order – the rubber suspension “Bluebird” fleet that was ordered from Clark Equipment. One set was delivered in 1940, just as the City was taking over the BMT. The City promptly cancelled the order for the fleet – but two more sets were delivered since construction was too far along to quit. So there were three of those in 1940. They lasted until the mid-1950s.

        Note a pattern here??

    • Kai B says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8qp_LnHI4w

      Pro: Less lurching, better passenger distribution and feeling of safety.

      Con: Semi-permanent-coupling so if one car has a problem the whole train has to be taken out of service.

      • Henry says:

        Another con: If something like the 11-car F train pilot were actually put into service, it would be complicated (maybe even impossible) to change the car lengths.

        • Someone says:

          Another con: If an articulated train were to be in a crash, the entire trainset would have to be scrapped instead of just the 1 or 2 cars that were involved.

    • Someone says:

      The 10-car articulated trains are in service in the Tokyo Metro already and have been for many years.
      http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-jAxG.....M16111.jpg

      On a side note, articulated cars are commonly built by Bombardier. This S Stock train in London is an example.
      http://img69.imageshack.us/img.....roveeb.jpg

      The NYC Subway even used to have articulated rolling stock, shown here.
      http://images.nycsubway.org/ar....._26407.jpg

  13. Andrew says:

    So with the impending end of the 222 R32s and 48 R42s still in service, straphangers want to know if their line will get the shiny new toys. Will the C train move up from worst to first? And what of the sets along the Jamaica lines? Early reports indicate that the new cars will head elsewhere while the C line will get the hand-me-downs. I’d imagine the A will enjoy the R179s while the C gets the old R46s that run along the A.

    I’m not sure where those early reports come from, but if the C is sticking with its shorter trains, it’s pretty much guaranteed that it will get the R179′s.

    • Justin Samuels says:

      The Wall Street Journal has indicated that the C will likely not get the r179s. The C is shorter because it has a lot less use than the A train. So the A would likely get the r179s, while the C could simply get 6 or 4 car r46s . They do this with the G train getting 4 car r68 trains.

      • al says:

        Not a good idea. 6 car R46 has 5% less capacity than 8 car R32. It also has fewer doors (24 vs 32) that will drive up dwell time. It might be fine for off peak but peak hrs require more capacity. Furthermore, if the casino/convention center goes through at the Aqueduct, they’ll want to increase service on A, which will put a premium on slots for C through Cranberry St Tunnel.

        • Andrew says:

          A casino and convention center in Ozone Park won’t require any more service – very few conventioneers travel to the convention center in the PM rush or away from the convention center in the AM rush. In the opposite direction, and at all other times, A trains have plenty of space for more passengers.

        • Henry says:

          Compared to the A, C train ridership is pretty low, and service headways are long.
          If anything, capacity on the C isn’t a pressing problem, because from 125th to Columbus Circle, the B is more heavily used, and from 50th to WTC/Chambers St, the E is more heavily used.

      • Andrew says:

        The Wall Street Journal leaves the question open.

        The C cannot possibly drop to 6-car or 4-car trains. (Even if there were a desire to go to 6-car trains, there aren’t enough R46 pairs to make that possible. And 4-car trains would be woefully inadequate for the loads unless the trains ran substantially more frequently, which is expensive and runs into capacity constraints between Canal and Hoyt-Schermerhorn.)

        Either the C will stay with its current 8 car length, in which case it must run R179′s, or it’s going to be expanded to 10 cars, in which case it can run pretty much any car class.

        • Justin Samuels says:

          I occassionally see them run 8 car r46 train on the C. They could simply run 8 car r46s on the C, giving the A train the r179s. I’m sure with the A train serving the new casino, the racetrack, and the beach areas the MTA would like to give the A train an upgrade next.

          Oh, and there’s the convention center discussion as well.

          • Andrew says:

            They can’t replace 480 foot trains with 600 foot trains without buying extra cars (two per train on the C). Does this contract include those extra cars? If not, then the C is sticking with 480 foot trains, and they will be R179′s.

            Again, the casino/racetrack/beach/convention center are irrelevant. The only times of day that additional riders would potentially require an increase in capacity are the morning rush, for trips into Manhattan, and the evening rush, for trips out of Manhattan. How many people travel from a casino/racetrack/beach/convention center into the CBD in the morning rush or from the CBD to a casino/racetrack/beach/convention center in the evening rush? Very few. At all other times of day, there is room for more A trains if the current A trains start to get overcrowded.

        • Someone says:

          The C doesn’t have to run R179s if it keeps its 8-car trains. It can run R160s as well. The C can pretty much swap trains with the BMT Eastern Division, which it already does.

          If the C does stick with its 8-car trains then there will be 260 R179 cars arranged in 4-car sets and 40 in 5-car sets. If not, then there will be 260 cars in 5-car sets and 40 in 4-car sets.

    • Someone says:

      Aren’t the 40 5-car R179s going to go to the SAS? There aren’t half as many R179s that can replace the R46s. Most likely either the C, J/Z, and Q will get R179s, or the R179s will be divided amongst the J/L/M/Z and the Q and the C will get R160s from ENY.

  14. Enrique says:

    Isn’t there a problem with the third rail in Broad Channel that doesn’t allow for the R160′s? If that’s true (I heard it was from an unreliable source 3 years ago), then A) wouldn’t the R179 have to use less energy than R160 or B) has the MTA upgraded the third rail in Broad Channel and the Rockaways? Or was this person simply full of s**t?

    • Alex C says:

      You may have read that on SubChat. I remember reading the same thing there a few years ago when the R160 was first going through testing and revenue service on the A. A lot of posters there (including reliable sources from the MTA) said the R160 had power problems in the Rockaways. Apparently LIPA and not ConEd supplies the electricity there.

  15. DailyNews0001 says:

    The R179′s will probably go to the E train and displace its R160s to the F/R and displace the R46s to the C and all remaining cars to SIRT. The 4-car sets will probably to the L train and displace its R160s to the JMZ and make the F J M Z R trains exclusively R160s, the E train exclusively R179′s, and the L train a mix of R143 cars and R179 cars, with the A C and SIRT exclusively R46s.

    • Someone says:

      There are only 40 cars currently planned to be arranged in 5-car sets, so the R179s would probably make up a tiny fraction of the E fleet. Unless of course the E were to suddenly convert from 600 ft to 480 ft trains, which you are probably proposing since the R46s on the C would have to be 600 ft long instead of its current length of 480 ft.

      There would be many more spare R46s since the F/R combined use 288 R46s and the C/SIRT combined only use 208.

      There aren’t enough R160s (36) to displace all 40 R42s on the J/Z. At least 4 cars of R143s or R179s would have to run on the J/Z to make up the shortfall.

      The roster would probably look like this:

      E=256 R179s (32 trains)
      F=410 R160s (41 trains)
      R=260 R160s (26 trains)
      M=184 R160s (23 trains)
      J/Z=144 R160s, 16 R179s (20 trains)
      L= 176 R143s, 16 R179s (24 trains)
      A= 304 R46s (38 trains)
      C= 144 R46s (18 trains)
      SIRT= 64 R46s (16 trains)

      • Someone says:

        Actually, I got the plan for the roster wrong.
        E= 256 R179s (32 trains)
        F= 390 R160s, 40 R179s (43 trains)
        R= 280 R160s (28 trains)
        M= 184 R160s (23 trains)
        J/Z= 160 R160s (20 trains)
        L= 184 R143s (23 trains)
        A= 304 R46s (38 trains)
        C= 144 R46s (18 trains)
        SIRT= 64 R46s (16 trains)

  16. DJREELZ says:

    Piece of shit, 19 year life span cars probably will only last 10 years, The R142′s will be gone before 2020, you hear the way the brakes and the motors already sound, the R1shitties are brand new and sound just like the R142′s. MTA using all there money for these trains and yet, they won’t even last that long. OTT (Old Tech Trains) still run better than them, even if they do have to be manintain more frequently, there Vintage cars, what would you expect. Brazil still uses there original Car Fleet and there over 100 years old I heard. smh

  17. Nathaniel says:

    I think (not sure, but I think) that MTA’s logic in where the R160s go is to first put them on the lines that run full time. That’s why the L, Q, F, N, E, etc. have gotten them as oppose to some weekend services like the B. I’m sure once the upgrades for the R68 & R68As come along, the rest of the full-time fleet (like the D) will be at the top of the list.

  18. spike says:

    Look if those wonderful r32s goes in five or six years, so should those rusty boring r46s if they last that long.

  19. spike says:

    Rust is forming under the r46s, the r32s always saves the r46s. So question is who is worse than who. Atleast the r32s look better.

  20. Someone says:

    They better have couch seating for the R179s.

  21. mike says:

    The MTA is keeping the R46s train cars atleast until 2019. Not 2016

  22. Mike says:

    The R46s will remain until 2019. Thats the new update. Read up on it guys. In my opinion, the new cars SUCK. Their lighting is too bright looking like a fish tank or hospital and they dont look like real trains. They look more like space ships. NYC’s transporation system and NYC in general is becoming too much like disney world. But hey i still love NYC

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  1. [...] 13th Congressional district. [City & State]The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board will vote Wednesday on the next purchase of subway cars, and sources say it is likely to give Bombardier the nearly $600 million order for 300 cars, which [...]

  2. [...] MTA voted to approve the deal in late March, and today, the i’s have been dotted and the t’s crossed as Bombardier [...]

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