Know Your Subway Cars

I tripped over a fun series of Wikipedia entries today – the various types of New York subway cars.

R32 – The tin cans from the 1960’s favored by the C line. Built by the lowest bidder in 1964 for the paltry sum of $117,000 per car!

R42 – The popular, all shiny gray interior trains with poles perfect for pole-dancing. From 1969.

R46 and R44 – The funky 70’s orange and yellow interior cars, the ones we F line travelers know so well.

R62 – Still funky 70’s colors, but with all the seats pointing the same way. From 1983, when train cars cost $918,293 each.

R142, R143, R160A and R160B – The fancy new trains with all the digital displays and automated announcements. Built by Kawasaki for a cool 1.2 million dollars each. The B article contains the information I’ve long been wondering about: the distinctive stepped-pitch whine that these cars make.

Most of the older cars were rebuilt and refurbished in the 1990’s. The names indicate the contracts under which they were purchased. There are even more articles on decommissioned trains like the R9, for example.

I love Wikipedia. It’s a place where expert trainspotters can share their vast wealth of useless minutiae. For those who want to dig even deeper into the trainspotting obsession, here is a deeper breakdown at