The notoriously ancient R32 train cars, which were introduced in the 1960s and still run along the C line, will soon be a thing of the past. The New York Post reports that some of those cars will be swapped out in favor of extra-long cars that can accommodate more riders along the line.
As the Post point out, the R32 trains are only 60 feet long. MTA officials told the Post that some of them—not all—will be replaced by R46s, which span 75 feet and hold roughly 25 percent more riders. The upgrade is part of the larger subway action plan that debuted this summer, aimed at addressing the transit system’s breakdown.
The longer cars started running Saturday, but some transit advocates point out that the MTA will need to do more than that to lessen rider congestion along the line. "They need to have more frequent service on the C line," Andrew Albert, an MTA board member who heads the New York City Transit Riders Council, told the Post. "More frequent trains is the best answer."
Still, the continued replacement of R32s is a win for groups like the Riders Alliance, which points to the outdated trains as an example of the system's dire state. (Members of the group even donned 1960s attire for a 2015 rally calling attention to the C train cars still in service from 1964.)
When the designs were first introduced, the R32s were considered the "train of the future." But today, with roughly 200 of the original R32s still operating on New York City’s C, J, and Z lines, they are the oldest subway cars still in service here, and among the oldest still operating in the world.
In no small part to the aging cars, the C line has been ranked the worst in the system by the Straphangers Campaign more often than any other subway line.