It just became slightly easier to squeeze onto a C-train. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Saturday added 40 longer cars to the line to accommodate more riders. As part of its emergency action plan, the MTA replaced some of its 60-foot long R32 models, which first debuted in the system in 1964, with 75-foot long R46 cars. The longer cars increase commuter capacity by 25 percent per train set and are expected to also help absorb crowds during the 2019 L train shutdown.
The C train platforms have always run shorter trains, despite being able to accommodate full-length ones because of the high cost of bringing in new cars. After developing more efficient maintenance of cars, more R46s have been put into service. MTA spokesperson, Jon Weinstein, told amNY in a statement: “Lengthening C trains was a promise made — and kept — under the Subway Action Plan to increase capacity and improve service for our riders.”
Although the newer R46 C subway cars, which were built in the 1970s, are replacing some R32’s, the classic-rickety car will still be in service. Known for its stainless-steel exterior and outdated roll signs, the R32 subway car is 53 years old, the oldest operated by the MTA and one of the oldest still in operation in the world.
The R32’s were supposed to be replaced by a new model, the R179, but there’s been a two-year delay in delivery. Plus, some of the cars have experienced testing failures since entering service earlier this fall.
The MTA hopes adding more cars will also improve the experience of C-train commuters. As 6sqft learned in June, the C is responsible for many of the system’s chronic problems. As the oldest line, the C-train breaks down roughly every 33,527 miles, as opposed to 400,000 miles for the average car, and sends a rippling effect of delays across the system.