Thursday, January 23, 2020

R211/R262 Showcasing; A New Rail Line; Andy Byford Resigns As NYCT President


NEW YORK, NY- The MTA has released a first look at the new generation of subway cars, the R211 class for the B-division subway line. These trains will run on the subway's lettered routes and the Staten Island Railway. All three versions of the R211; the R211A, R211S, and R211T. 30 test cars are currently in production by Kawasaki Rail Car Inc, who have a $1.4 billion contract to produce 535 cars. The R211A and R211T will replace all remaining R32s, Staten Island Railway operated R44s (replaced by the R211S), and R46s. These trains would arrive just on time for CBTC (Communications Based Train Control) for the Queens Blvd and 8th Avenue subway lines. All R211s will be manufactured by Kawasaki, who show extreme promises with the the subway cars and these pictures prove just that.

The MTA will invest $3.686 billion in this order. The contract is split into three parts: R211A, R211S, and R211T. The base order of 535 cars will comprise 20 R211T open gangway prototype cars, 440 R211A cars that will partially replace the 750 aging R46 cars and 75 R211S cars which are expected to replace the remaining 62-car R44 fleet on the Staten Island Railway. There will be two options for additional cars: the first for 640 cars and the second for 437 cars. Both options are designed to accommodate either standard cars or open gangway cars, depending on the test results from the 20 pilot cars. If all options are exercised, the order would total up to 1,612 cars. In total, the R211 order would provide 1,015 new cars to replace existing fleet, as well as up to 597 cars for fleet expansions following the extension of the Second Avenue Subway and the automation of the New York City Subway. The option cars would entirely replace the older R46s. Since the R46s are 75 feet (23 m) long, and the R211 cars are only 60 feet (18 m), the 752 R46s would need to be replaced by 940 R211s. Any additional cars not replacing existing rolling stock will be used to expand the system's fleet. The R211Ts would also increase capacity and allow passengers to walk seamlessly from one car to the next. The delivery of the base order is scheduled to be completed by August 2023, with option 1 and option 2 completed by December 2024 and October 2025 respectively. All R211A and R211T cars will be equipped for communications-based train control (CBTC), while all R211S cars will be equipped with cab signaling.


The R262 order is divided into a base order and two option orders. The base order consists of 504 cars, the first option order consists of 445 cars, and the second option order has up to 415 cars. The subway car order will entirely replace the R62 and R62A fleets, and the second option order will include up to 225 cars to support ridership growth and other operational needs. The R262 order will consist of cars in 5-car sets for the mainline IRT and 6-car sets for the 42nd Street Shuttle. The base order and first option order (949 cars) will be funded in the MTA's 2020-2024 Capital Program, while the second option order (up to 415 cars) will be funded in the future 2025–2029 Capital Program.

The design of the R262 subway cars are based on the specifications of the R211T cars, which are being built for the B Division. They will have modern signage and communication, an ethernet network, updated crash energy management standards, open-gangways that allow passengers to move between cars during train movement and increase train capacity. In addition, they will be equipped with communications-based train control (CBTC). Unlike the R211s, R262s will have additional audio induction loops for riders with hearing impairments.

Like the R211s, the subway cars will have a blue front with large windows, LED headlights, and a blue strip with gold accents on the sides, similar to the new MTA Regional Bus Operations livery released in 2016. To designate the route, a large LED screen with the route bullet will be displayed at the ends of the train similar to trains with rollsigns; also, the route's destination will be displayed above the door on the front. These cars will replace the 1980s R62/62As in the 2020s, with a manufacturer to be determined.

A New Rail

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Thursday that it has awarded a $1.3 million contract to an engineering firm that will study the feasibility of creating a passenger rail from a freight-only line that runs from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to Astoria. “This project is hugely exciting – partly because it is based on the concept of squeezing more out of our already existing infrastructure so we don’t always have to build new subway lines from scratch,” said MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber.

The 16-mile line runs from southeast from Astoria through Glendale, Middle Village and Elmhurst in Queens. It either crosses or borders on 19 subway lines and two lines of the Long Island Rail Road. In Brooklyn, it travels through Midwood, East New York, Brownsville, Bushwick. The southern part of the line is owned by MTA Long Island Rail Road, which uses the line exclusively for freight trains operated by the New York and Atlantic Railway. CSX Transportation, a freight railroad, owns the northern part.

The study will look into the possibility for subway, commuter rail, light rail or bus service that would run in tandem with existing freight rail service to help residents travel within Brooklyn and Queens. The study comes at a time when residents in the Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale areas have been pointing out the lack of subways in that southwestern area of Queens as a part of the redesign of the borough’s bus network.

It also comes shortly after Mayor de Blasio began a renewed effort to advance the BQX, another Brooklyn-to-Queens transit alternative that would travel from Red Hook to Astoria along the East River. The MTA’s press release emphasized the possibilities for connections or transfers to intersecting subway lines and the LIRR. “Putting mass transit on the Bay Ridge Branch could allow the MTA to serve more neighborhoods and provide better connections to thousands of people throughout Brooklyn and Queens – all while also creating opportunities for increasing environmentally-friendly freight rail in years to come,” said Lieber.

Engineering firm AECOM will work on the study with subcontractor WSP.

Andy "Daddy Train" Byford Steps Down As MTA Chairman

NEW YORK, NY — New York City Transit Authority President Andy Byford announced his resignation on Thursday. Byford shared the news during a Metropolitan Transportation Authority board meeting.

“I’m very proud of what we have achieved as a team over the past two years and I believe New York City Transit is well-placed to continue its forward progress now that the MTA has a record-breaking $51.5 billion Capital Program in place,” he said in a statement. “I’m very grateful to Gov. Cuomo, Chairman Foye and members of the Board for giving me the opportunity to serve New York and to head up North America’s largest transit system.” Byford will stay on the job until Feb. 21. It is unclear who is successor will be.

Byford has held the position for just over two years and previously had similar roles in Toronto, Sydney, and London. During his time with the MTA he has been praised for turning it around by upgrading equipment, cleaning up stations, improving “on time” service and increasing ridership. He even dealt with Bombardier when they had a late delivery with the R179s; at least he'll be around to see the R179s come back to action.

I enjoyed Andy Byford's time with the MTA. In just two years, he helped improve bus and subway service and implement both the Subway Action Plan and the Bus Network Redesign plan. I don't care what anyone else has to say; Andy Byford was the best NYCT President we have ever had by far. Thank You for your time with the MTA, Andy; we wish you nothing but the best. My message is to whomever takes on the role of NYCT President; you better do a good job and do it right and continue on where Daddy Train left off.

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