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NYCT retires 1960s rail cars

The R-42 fleet will be replaced by R-179s and, eventually, R-211s.
Photo – Marc A. Hermann / MTA Flickr


MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) yesterday retired the last remaining R-42 subway cars from service, ending a 51-year run. 

The R-42 units were built by St. Louis Car Co. and delivered to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) starting in 1969. Eventually, the NYCT subway fleet totaled 400 R-42 rail cars, NYCT officials said in a press release.  

The majority of the fleet was retired between 2006 and 2009. Most of those cars were submerged in the Atlantic Ocean to form artificial reefs or scrapped by Sims Metal Management.

MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Foye, NYCT President Andy Byford and other passengers yesterday rode the last R-42 in service from Euclid Avenue Station to 207 Street Station, and then back again, officials said.

Two of the last R-42 cars will be housed at the New York Transit Museum, where they will be used to educate the public about the city’s mass transportation history.

The fleet will be replaced by R-179s and, eventually, R-211s.

The R-42 cars were the first of NYCT’s fleet to in arrive in service air-conditioned, and the last rail cars to be designed as married pairs. Married pairs means every two cars were semi-permanently linked in an effort to reduce the amount of components required to operate a train.


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