When the R42s entered service on May 9, 1969, Richard Nixon was president, the eventual World Champion Mets were 12-15, and Neil Armstrong’s famous moon walk was still over two months away. Tomorrow, these venerable old cars, the last 60-foot married pairs made by the St. Louis Car Company and the first fleet to come fully equipped with air conditioning, will make their final rides with a ceremonial trip along the A line, hosted by the Transit Museum.
The last run of the R42s has been a few years’ coming, delayed by the problems with the R179s. Most of the R42’s married pairs were scrapped a few years ago when the R160s arrived and the MTA was still reefing old rail cars. The last to be retired have been replaced, haltingly, with those R179s as the 50-year reign of some of the system’s oldest cars come to a close.
Wednesday’s ceremonial ride is sure to attract a large crowd of rail watchers and eager photographers, and the MTA is making it a long one. The ride will depart Euclid Avenue at 10:30 a.m. on the way to Far Rockaway. The express ride from Far Rockaway to 207th St. is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., and the final final run from 207th St. back to Euclid Ave. will depart at around 1:30 p.m. After that, you’ll just have to catch the R42s at the Transit Museum or immortalized on film in The French Connection.