Just four months after restoring the R179s to service following significant door safety concerns, the MTA had to yank Bombardier’s faulty subway cars from service again on Wednesday. This time, the issue was an unexpected uncoupling that occurred shortly after 1 a.m. to an uptown A train entering Chambers St. The issue first came to light late last night via a Twitter post, and pictures of the incident were available via Reddit.
Sooo the whole back of this train DETATCHED@MTA pic.twitter.com/kWRxY2EINd
— Hupaul Camacho (@traplordhuey) June 3, 2020
New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg sent out a statement about these troubled cars early this morning:
“Early today, just after 1 a.m. a northbound A train became separated between the sixth and seventh cars of the ten-car train as it entered Chambers Street Station. Ten passengers were safely evacuated with no reported injuries to customers or employees. 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. We have redeployed additional spare cars and minimal impacts to service are anticipated. 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. 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.”
The R179s, which break down more often than older cars, have been problem-plagued from the start. Manufacturing problems and early testing failures delayed delivery of the full order, and the door safety issues caused then-NYCT President Andy Byford to pull the entirety of the fleet for a few weeks. It’s not clear yet how this will impact the MTA’s ability to deliver more service as NYC enters Phase 1 of the un-PAUSE process on Monday, and it is yet another issue for the Bombardier rail cars, which many consider to be lemons. In January, the MTA vowed to attempt to recover some money from Bombardier due to the ongoing issues, and debarment remains on the table. Bombardier is currently investigating this latest issue.