Rolling Stock of the New York City Subway System

Subway Cars:

Subway cars are, in essence, the heart of any underground rapid transit system on rails and numerous types have served the New York network during its more than a century of operation.

The IND’s R-1s, for instance, ushered in a new designation scheme for the unified system. Initiated by the Board of Transportation and maintained by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), it employed an “R” prefix to denote revenue control combined with the number of the contract awarded to the subway car manufacturer. Consecutive numbers indicated successive contracts for identical or virtually identical coaches, which sometimes featured minor modifications, while a letter suffix, such as “A,” usually denoted an upgrade.

As the basic design for the IND’s fleet throughout the 1930s, the R-1 was succeeded by contracts R-4, -6, -7, and -9, which resulted in a 1,703-car production run.

The R-10, also for the IND, represented the first post-war and therefore new-generation type. Built by the American Car and Foundry Company between 1948 and 1949, it offered several advanced features, including all-welded construction; a single, 100-hp traction motor on each of four axles; both pneumatic and dynamic braking; a brake pipe pressure increase from 70 to 110 psi; and generators that served as brakes by reducing motor speed. A more rounded roof modified its external appearance, replacing the former, and sharper, clerestory one, while interior appointments included fluorescent lighting and smaller ceiling fans. Four hundred of these “SMEE”-or straight air motor electric-pneumatic emergency cars-were produced.

The R-12, dimensionally the IRT equivalent of the IND’s R-10s, incorporated the same propulsion, braking, ventilation, and window features in a 51-foot-long and 8.9-foot-wide (as measured at the door sill) car, but introduced double passenger doors, side seats (for 48 passengers), and poles to replace the former grab handles.

Manufactured by the American Car and Foundry Company, it became a welcomed sight when it appeared on the barge transporting it across the East River from the Hoboken Rail Terminal in 1948 because World War II-created material shortages had squeezed the last mile out of the coaches they replaced. The type was inaugurated into service on the IRT Flushing line.

Because of unsatisfactory performance, its predecessor R-11, constructed by the Budd Company in 1949, never preceded beyond the initial order for ten, although it had featured several innovations, including stainless steel bodies, modern interiors, germicidal lamps, public address systems, disc brakes, and electric door motors.

The IRT division’s fleet renewal needs were filled with several successive contracts whose cars were based upon the R-12. The R-15, for example, featured arched roofs, two portable windows in each passenger door, and leatherette longitudinal seats, and later sported maroon paint schemes with beige stripes.

Five years after car #6239 entered service, it was retrofitted with an air conditioning system, the first in the New York subway system to do so. But this apparently not ready for prime time novelty itself succumbed to the heat when it failed after only two weeks of operation.

The intermittent R-16, dimensionally conforming to the BMT and IND “B” division, was made by the American Car and Foundry Company between 1954 and 1955. Introducing a new body style, built up of steel sheets, it appeared in Pullman green colors with exposed screws, and sported rectangular-windowed passenger doors, fluorescent lights, recessed Axiflow ceiling fans, and public address systems.

Measuring 60 feet, like the IND cars, it was the heaviest at such a length, weighing 85,000 pounds and was used to inaugurate service to Rockaway Beach in 1956 on abandoned Long Island Railroad tracks.

The R-17, the “A” division counterpart, was manufactured by the St. Louis Car Company and the first of the 400 ordered were inaugurated into service in 1955 on the Pelham Bay-Lexington Avenue route.

Other than a few subtle style variations, the succeeding R-21s and -22s were identical to this standard.

The R-26, of which 210 were produced by the American Car and Foundry Company from 1959 to 1960, was the IRT equivalent of the articulated car, although it was operated in a “married pair” configuration in which neither was autonomous enough to run without the other. Even numbered ones, for instance, featured motor generators and batteries for low voltage power, while the odd numbered ones sported air compressors, main reservoirs, and brake equipment feed valves. Passengers were accommodated in molded fiberglass seats.

Three subsequent contracts, for 770 cars based upon this design, were awarded to the St. Louis Car Company and designated R-29s, -33s, and -36s, the first of which was deployed on the Broadway-Seventh Avenue local line.

The same company was also awarded the R-27, -30, and -30a contracts for 550 “B” division coaches, the first of which was delivered in 1960 and placed in service on the local Fourth Avenue and Brighton line route.

During the eight-year period from 1953, when New York State legislature created the New York City Transit Authority as a separate public corporation to operate all of the city-owned subway routes, and 1961, a prosperous period generated unprecedented rider demand, and the subway system itself embarked upon a substantial station improvement and fleet renewal program. The R-30s, along with R-27s and R-30as, replaced half of the BMT fleet at this time.

Operating as married pairs, the cars were able to share parts, thus offering both equipment and maintenance cost savings. Odd-numbered cars, for instance, were equipped with air compressors for their brakes, while even-numbered ones offered motor generators and batteries to power motorman controls. Retaining the dark green exteriors and blue and gray interior color schemes of the previous R-16s, the R-30s, as well as the R-27s and R-30as, sported plastic, lengthwise seating benches.

An historically important car was the R-33S. Nicknamed “bluebird,” it was a tri-door car painted with a unique powder blue and off-white livery and used on 11-car “World’s Fair Express” trains, shuttling more than 51 million passengers from Times Square to Flushing Meadow Park during the 1964-1965 event. Operated in a “married pair” configuration, it otherwise formed part of ten-car, or five-set, trains and most were later rebuilt in the Coney Island Overhaul Shop. The “S” in its designation indicated a single cab. All others had two, installed at either end.

Although these contracts enabled the “B” division to commence its modernization program, and the R-17, -21, -22, -26, -29, -33, and -36 series facilitated the “A” division’s own, the BMT itself had still been saddled with 600 of its original “A-B” Standards and all of its articulated D-types, while the IND continued to operate all of its 1930 designs. What followed, then, were the first next-generation cars.

Designated “Brightliners,” these 60-foot-long coaches were the first to introduce fluted stainless steel construction, replacing the previous conventional steel material, and represented the first contract (R-32) awarded to the Budd Company of Philadelphia. They featured several improvements, one of which almost became a hindrance. Although their lower gross weights-of 70,000 pounds versus the 80,000 of, say, an R-27-gave them sprightly performance, that very weight reduction exerted less pressure on their suspension systems and therefore decreased the clearances within the BMT route network.

Initial deployment saw operation on the line’s Sea Beach, West End, and Brighton routes.

A subcontract for the R-32a resulted in interior lighting modifications.

Nevertheless, both types enabled the BMT to complete its modernization program by 1965.

Refocusing its efforts on the IND side of the program, the Transit Authority ordered 200 R-38 cars in 1966 from the St. Louis Car Company, and these offered several innovations, including lower-body fluted siding; a single console for power controls, indication lights, and brake valves in the motorman’s cab; and an electrical load sensor, which adjusted their braking action based upon car weight, itself a function of passenger load. The type was placed in service on the “E” and “F” lines.

Although the subsequent R-40 “St. Louis Car” eliminated the boxy appearance characteristic of rapid transit rolling stock, it sacrificed practicality for aesthetics. Slightly curved sides and slanted ends, almost suggesting monorail lineage, precluded safe, inter-car passage during movement because of the excessive gaps between them, and end doors were consequently locked and supplemented with a tangle of side hardware, such as slanted grab irons, low handholds with and without pantograph gates, and high handholds.

Of the 400 cars produced by the St. Louis Car Company between 1967 and 1968, the last 100, designated R-40Ms, appeared with vertical ends, greatly increasing their subway application.

The follow-on R-42, of which another 400 were built, was identical and featured air conditioning systems from inception, others in the series requiring retrofits. The type saw service on all “B” division routes.

In order to reduce the net number of cars per train, along with their operational and maintenance costs, yet maintain overall passenger capacity, the Transit Authority ordered 352 coaches from the St. Louis Car Company under contract R-44, in effect introducing a third “B” division length of 75 feet after the 60 feet of the R-1s and the 67 feet of the “A-B” Standards. Fifty-two of these cars were operated by the Staten Island Rapid Transit System, which offers no inter-track connection with the New York City subway network.

Featuring four 115-hp motors and composition brake shoes to replace the formerly standard cast iron ones, the R-44 intermittently offered full-width cabs for the motorman and the conductor and re-introduced the mixed transverse and longitudinal seating configuration.

Equipment varied according to car type. “A” cars, for example, offered air compressors, main reservoirs, and low voltage equipment. “B” cars provided traction motors, control groups, air reservoirs, and brake controls.

Although the type achieved a subway car record of 87.75 mph when it was run on the 5.9-mile Long Island Railroad track from Woodside to Jamaica on January 31, 1972, its scheduled service, initially on the “A,” “D,” “E,” and “F” lines, revealed an excessive number of mechanical issues.

Pullman Standard was awarded the contract for its 75-foot-long complement, but its promise, despite a new design feature, quickly plummeted. The R-46, whose 750-strong order represented the largest single one in subway history, introduced a new truck with an air suspension system designed by Rockwell International to replace the quarter-century standard one made by General Steel Industries, but it ultimately developed cracks. Initial operations saw its deployment on the former IND Queens line.

The next round of subway car replacements, now targeted at the “A” division, signaled the next-generation of cars.

Because of the rapid and massive nature of the system’s 24-hour-per-day operation, the now-aging state of the IRT R-14s, -15s, -17s, -21s, and 22s wailed for replacement and funding provided by the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s five-year capital improvement plan facilitated acquisition of 1,150 of them, 325 of which were ordered from Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan under contract R-62 on April 12, 1982 and 825 of which were obtained from Bombardier of Quebec, Canada, under contract R-62A seven months later, on November 15. The later incorporated different types of motors and brakes.

Both incorporated heavyweight components for optimum longevity and minimum maintenance costs and a high degree of part interchangeability, but these 51-foot-long, 74,500-pound coaches also offered several innovations, including stainless steel construction with fiberglass end caps, multi-tone rubber flooring, heavy sound insulation, corner cabs, dual (power and brake) motorman handles, and contoured fiberglass seating.

The type entered service on the #4 line on May 7, 1984.

Its “B” division counterpart, constructed under contracts R-68 and -68A by, respectively, Westinghouse-Amrail and Kawasaki, were deployed on the “B,” “D,” and “G” lines and on the Franklin Shuttle.

21stCentury Rolling Stock and Routes:

The New York City subway system, by its very rapid transit nature, is not a static entity and can therefore only exist by creating the routes its riders need and purchasing the rolling stock to serve them.

Shortly before the 21stcentury dawned, it had turned its attention toward the latter by ordering two five-car R-110A sets from Kawasaki for “A” division routes and three three-car R-110B units from Bombardier for the “B” division network. Both were intended as new-technology prototypes.

Tested in order to provide performance and system evaluation, they featured welded steel construction, AC traction motors, battery power operation, air bag suspension, computerized traction and braking control, electronically controlled door motors, automatic announcements, automatic climate control, and electronic route and destination signage.

Most of these features were incorporated in the subsequently ordered R-142 (680 from Bombardier) and -142A (400 from Kawasaki) in 1997. With a 51-foot overall length and 8.9-foot width, the type offered a 70,000-pound empty weight and maximum, 62-mph design speeds.

Configurations of both varied. “A” cars, with a single cab and two motor trucks, offered seating for 34 and standing room for 148, while “B” units, devoid of cabs and equipped with a single motor truck, respectively accommodated 40 and 142.

Inaugurated into service on July 10, 2000 on the former IRT #6 line, the new Millennium R-142 cars replaced most of the earlier-generation R-26, -28, -29, -33, and -36 “Redbirds,” so nicknamed because of the red body and silver roof paint schemes they had sported.

The dimensionally comparable “B” division R-160A (400 ordered from Alstom of France) and -160B (260 from Kawasaki) were intended as R-32, -38, -40, -40M, and -42 replacements and were inaugurated into service on December 22, 2008 on the “E” line.

Although the New York City subway system’s foundation was laid when it became unified, its network, like the trains that ply its track, hardly remained stationary.

Both the Archer Avenue subway and the 63rdStreet tunnel opened between 1988 and 1989, for example, and the latter’s connection to the Queens Boulevard tracks was completed in 2001. Other projects included the South Ferry Terminal #1 line, the Fulton Street Transit Center, and the westward extension of the #7 line. But the most massive redimensioning of the system occurred when a significant gap in its coverage was definitively plugged with the Second Avenue subway line.

Thirteen years before the elevated tracks that had once plied the route had been razed in 1942, proposals to replace them with a subterranean passage had already been discussed and, with demolition of the Third Avenue el 14 years later, the service gap became more gaping than the excavations needed to plug it would have. Yet, while the plan behind it lapsed, its need only rose: East Side neighborhoods, once predominantly industrial, experienced their own metamorphosis, serving as a magnet for population redistributions as their profiles reflected decided commercial, corporate, and residential sides.

Microscopically, the very same conditions which had originally given rise to the subway system at the turn of the 20thcentury occurred in this pocket of Manhattan-namely, devoid of either elevated or underground lines, riders were forced to use the only remaining transportation artery-the streets, whose increasingly clogged conditions screamed of the need for an alternative before they were choked into motionless silence.

The closest subway lines, the IRT #4, 5, and 6 that ran below Lexington Avenue, were logistically too distant and, instead of serving as a rapid transit convenience, only became the opposite to those across town.

Although a second vision foresaw a dual-track routing from Lower Manhattan to the Bronx-and several tunnels facilitating it had already been dug-financial constraints during the 1970s served more of an obstacle to it than the rock through which its lines would have to be bored.

The idea, at least in theory, never fully died and, like a ten-car train, regained momentum at the end of the 20thcentury with the Manhattan East Side Alternatives (MESA) study of 1995, which determined that the existing #4 and 5 lines could not adequately meet the demand-and part of that demand stemmed from riders who lived or worked up to a half-mile from its stations.

One of the 20 proposed remedies was to continue to lay a Second Avenue subway line and it was selected, with ground broken for it on April 12, 2007. Running below its namesaked avenue from the Financial District to 125thStreet, the dual-track infrastructure provided West Side and Brooklyn access by means of a 63rdStreet tunnel link to existing tracks.

The four-phase construction project entailed an initial 96thto 63rdStreet line, itself an extension of the “Q” train, and then a westward, cross-town routing for an “F” line interchange at 63rdStreet itself. Following existing, but unused track below Central Park, it would resume its southerly direction beneath Seventh Avenue, crossing the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn.

After more than a century, the New York City subway system would ultimately be able to correct the inherent imbalance created by its West Side routing concentration.

Followed its own Track:

The New York subway system reshaped the city it served until it ultimately reshaped itself.

Currently divided into “A” division or former IRT numbered lines and “B” division or previous BMT and IND lettered lines, it is the world’s largest, 24-hour rapid transit system, with underground, elevated, ground-level, open-cut, and embankment routes, serving 468 stations via 842 duplicated revenue and non-revenue track miles plied by 6,282 cars, which, in 2011, collectively traveled 342.7 million miles and transported over 1.6 billion passengers.

More than anything, however, it ended up following its own track. Extending from its Manhattan heart, it pumped the population through it, like arteries, to its outer Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens boroughs, creating a cohesive metropolis that operated as a single whole, until three decades after it had first put wheels on its rails, it turned around and unified itself-as the New York City subway system.

Upgrading to LED Boat Lighting in a Practical Manner

One of the most effective ways of improving a boats maintenance, durability, safety and operational costs is through the upgrading of existing lighting equipment to LEDs. Almost any person who spends more than a weekend or two onboard their boat knows quite well just how important effective lighting can be. Everything from operator alertness, to safety, to just plain aesthetic appeal can be directly affected by onboard lighting, and whether that effect is negative or positive depends greatly on the quality of the illumination being provided.

Of all the ways lighting can impact a boats performance, how it affects safety is the most important. Decks and walkways that are well illuminated provide less chance for slips and falls that could cause an injury. Many boats are also outfitted with lines, rigging, fishing gear and equipment that has a tendency to come loose and end up on decks or jutting out into walkway areas. Good illumination allows boaters to more easily move about the decks and avoid the potential hazards such equipment can pose. Good cockpit lighting reduces eyestrain and overall operator fatigue, thus helping to maintain a higher state of alertness. Even more important are the navigation lights, and if they are not up to snuff, it can be difficult for other boaters to see your craft and collisions could occur as a result.

For most older vessels, the onboard lighting installed by the boat manufacturer is of minimal effectiveness. This is not to say it is not “good”, but only that it meets the minimum requirements posed by safety and operating concerns. This lighting usually consists entirely of incandescent bulbs, and in order to better illuminate some areas, manufacturers often simply added more bulbs. Would this improve lighting? Certainly, however, on a boat where available power is limited, it is simply not practical to run a lot of lighting without having to burn excessive amounts of fuel to run generators and replenish onboard batteries.

By now you have probably already heard abut LEDs and how great using them on your boat can be. You’ve also probably heard a few conflicting opinions on just where to use LEDS onboard and just how effective they are. Let’s a take a few moments then to mention a bit about where installing LEDs onboard your boat can be effective and what you can expect from such an installations. First and foremost, modern LED lamps are pretty much capable of being installed just about anywhere a traditional incandescent lamp can. However, for many skeptical boaters who are new to LEDs, it is more sensible to try LEDs in a few select locations first in order to determine for themselves just how effective and practical LEDs really are.

Exterior lighting such as deck, spreader and spotlights onboard a boat are exposed to harsh weather conditions. Outfitting exterior lighting with LEDs is a good place to start your trial of LED lighting because not only does it allow you to gauge an LED lamps’ performance under the most demanding conditions, but exterior lighting is typically easier to access and install as well. When installing LED lighting on deck areas or attaching them to railings or canopy frames, keep in mind that these fixtures are going to be exposed to frequent salt water spray, rain, intense sunlight, and lots of windy conditions. Choose LED fixtures that are rated IP65 or better for wet conditions, and look for lamp housings finished with a tough powder or heavy paint coating. Mounting hardware should be stainless steel as well for added corrosion resistance. Also be certain to utilize waterproof wiring connectors and sealants to avoid any problems with power supply to the fixtures.

Bridge, cockpit and cabin lighting are more locations where trying out a few LEDs before a complete upgrade to LED lighting can be educational. Most boat owners are quite familiar with rationing the use of cabin lighting in order to reduce the drain on power reserves, and LEDs installed in these locations can demonstrate just how effectively you can reduce power consumption while increasing the usefulness of your interior lighting. Imagine being able to illuminate your entire cabin effectively for hours, well enough to read or simply entertain passengers, without the need to frequently run the generator or engine to maintain power levels. Since LEDs can use up to 80% less power than traditional halogen cabin lights, you can operate several LED lamps using the same amount of power it would take to operate one or two halogen lamps.

On the bridge or in the cockpit are still a couple more areas where trying out LEDs can be quite productive. For cockpit and cabin lighting, red colored light is popular due to the prevailing wisdom that red lighting interferes less with the eyes’ natural acclimation to dark conditions. LED lamps are available which natively produce red illumination without the need for lenses or filters, thereby improving efficiency and reliability. Additionally, many interior LED boat light fixtures are designed to allow operators to choose from a variety of colors simply by moving a switch. This means operators can run white, red, blue, green, or any of several other colors inside their cockpit according to their preferences. Yet again, efficiency is a big plus and operators will be able to run their lights far longer, with less power consumption as well.

Navigational lighting is somewhat less ideal for trying out LEDs for a couple of reasons. Navigation lighting is regulated by law and although there are plenty of LED nav lights available that meet all requirements and specifications, it is still possible to run into problems with proper installation, or occasionally even improperly designed lights. If you go this route, make sure the LED nav lights you choose carry Coast Guard approval, and pay close attention to the proper installation of these lights.

For those new to LED lighting, taking a one step at a time approach to trying out LEDs can be a good way to gauge their effectiveness in an objective manner without breaking the bank or any major disappointments. Chances are, if you choose quality fixtures and give some attention to installing the proper lamps in the proper manner, you will realize great improvements in efficiency, safety, costs and the overall reliability of your onboard lighting systems.

A Few Safety Guidelines For Electric Chain Hoists

Electric Chain Hoists are essential material-handling equipment that is widely used lift heavy objects easily and quickly. However, improper use of electric chain hoists can lead to damage and even death. This article tries to outline some of the safety issues concerning electric chain hoists. At the outset, these hoists should always be used in accordance with the applicable safety regulations. Under no circumstances should anyone try to hoist loads over or near people. Therefore, the operational area should be kept clear of people to avoid any untoward mishaps. At the same time, care should be taken that no one should be allowed to work under or near hoisted loads.

The manufacturer will always provide a safety and usage manual for the electric chain hoist. Organize a training session for the proper handling of the hoist. Also, ensure that the individual in charge of operating the hoist has understood and has demonstrated the capacity to operate this device safely and competently. Care also should be taken to ensure that the operator is physically fit. Always ensure that the hoist is fitted with a torque-limiting device for hoist overload protection. It is essential that hoists be tested for overloading prior to shipping. Any good manufacturer will include built in safety features such as upper and lower limit switches and low voltage controls. There should be an emergency stop button in case of an undesirable situation.

Also, allow the hoist to be inspected periodically by authorized personnel. The hoist should be run through the daily mandatory checks before it is handed over for operation. Regarding operational concerns, the operator should also follow some basic steps to ensure proper functioning of the electric chain hoist. He or she should always check that the brake is functional prior to operating the hoist. Also, ensure that the gears are properly lubricated with the right type of oil. Moreover, the hoist should normally not be used in a moist or saline environment. If there is no alternative, then it is a good idea to inform the manufacturer and obtain proper guidelines for the operation of the same.

While using an electric chain hoists, never operate beyond the rated capacities. Typical lifting capacities of these hoists are from around 0.5 tons to 5 tons. They are also available in different speed capacities. This is because chain hoists have to endure a variety of handling procedures. Care should be taken that you do not end up buying hoist that does not meet your desired specifications. The thumb rule is that never violate the safety norms, otherwise you could be held liable for death or damage to your staff or property. Therefore, the key to safe operation is adherence to all the safety parameters along with proper training and guidance of your staff and operational personnel.