R143 (New York City Subway car)

The R143 is a class of 212 new technology (NTT) New York City Subway cars built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries for the B Division. The cars displaced R40/As and R42s that operated on the L service in order to automate the BMT Canarsie Line.

Manhattan bound R143 L train at New Lots.jpg
An R143 train on the L at New Lots Avenue
NYC Subway R143 8283 Interior.jpg
Interior of an R143 car
In service2002-present
ManufacturerKawasaki Heavy Industries
Built atYonkers, New York; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Kobe, Japan
Family nameNTT (new technology train)
Entered serviceDecember 4, 2001 (acceptance testing)
February 12, 2002 (official service)
Number built212
Number in service212 (184 in revenue service during rush hours)
Formation53 4-car sets (2 A cars and 2 B cars)
Fleet numbers8101-8312
Capacity240 (A car)
246 (B car)
Operator(s)New York City Subway
Depot(s)East New York Yard (212 cars)[1]
Service(s) assigned"L" train – 184 cars (23 trains)[2]
Car body constructionStainless steel with fiberglass rear bonnets
Train length4 car train: 240.84 feet (73.41 m)
8 car train: 481.68 feet (146.82 m)
Car length60.21 feet (18.35 m)
Width9.77 feet (2,978 mm)
Height12.13 feet (3,697 mm)
Platform height3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Doors8 sets of 50 inch wide side doors per car
Maximum speed55 mph (89 km/h)
WeightA car: 83,700 lb (38,000 kg)
B car: 81,900 lb (37,100 kg)
Traction systemBombardier MITRAC propulsion system, 3-Phase IGBT-VVVF two-level AC Traction Motors Model 1508C, Pulse-width modulation
Prime mover(s)electric motor
Power output150 hp (111.9 kW) per axle
Acceleration2.5 mph/s (4.0 km/(h⋅s))
Deceleration3.0 mph/s (4.8 km/(h⋅s))
(full service),
3.2 mph/s (5.1 km/(h⋅s))
AuxiliariesSAFT 250AH battery (B car)
Electric system(s)600 V DC Third rail
Current collection methodContact shoe
Braking system(s)Dynamic braking propulsion system; WABCO RT96 tread brake system; safety brakes
Safety system(s)dead man's switch, tripcock
Headlight typeincandescent light bulb
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge


The R143s are numbered 8101-8312. The 212 cars were expected to provide enough service for years, but the fast growth of the Williamsburg neighborhood overloaded the L by mid-2006.[3]

The R143s are the first 60-foot (18.29 m) B Division cars built for the New York City Subway system since the R42 from 1969, the first NTT model for the B Division, and the first automated fleet in the subway system. They are currently based at East New York Yard. The R143s are similar to the slightly newer R160s; however, the two car types cannot be used interchangeably.[4]

Like the R142s, R142As and R188s, the R143s feature electronic strip maps with all stops on the L route.

Unlike the rest of the NTT fleet, the R143s are equipped with interior LED screens, which take the place of the MTA Arts for Transit cards that are usually located there. These screens can display advertisements, public safety announcements, and other information.[5] Several R160s were similarly retrofitted with LCD screens after they were delivered. However, the LCD screens on the R160s have the capabilities to display multiple colors instead of only red, orange, and green.


Timeline of contractEdit

The contract for the R143 was put out for bidding in January 1998. The initial contract called for 100 sixty-foot cars that would come in five-car sets. The new cars would be expected to have automatic PA announcements, high efficiency lighting, emergency intercom and customer alarms, AC propulsion motors, speedometers and event recorders, electronic information display signs, artwork, a central diagnostics monitoring system, microprocessor controlled air compressor, brake and communication systems, roof mounted microprocessor controlled HVAC, and to be compliant with ADA requirements.[6]

Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc. was awarded a $190 million contract for 100 new B Division cars in late December 1998, with an option for 112 more cars.[7] The new design was based on the A Division's R142A, which Kawasaki also built,[8] and incorporated many features from the R110A and R110B prototypes. The cars were built with an average cost of about $1.5 million per car.


Delivery of the cars began in late 2001. A 30-day revenue acceptance testing with one train of eight cars (8101-8108) began on December 4, 2001.[9][10] According to Kawasaki, the test was "extremely successful".[8] The cars began running on the Canarsie Line (L train) on February 12, 2002, where they have been assigned to.[11] All 212 cars were delivered by March 2003.[12]

Along with displacing older equipment from the Canarsie Line, the R143s also displaced the R42s on the now-extended weekend M shuttle service on the BMT Myrtle Avenue Line, when that line became the first BMT Eastern Division line to be placed in weekend One Person Train Operation (OPTO) service. The R143s on the M were later displaced by the R160As in February 2008. OPTO service was also tested on the L during mid-2005, but it ended due to safety issues.[13][14]


Cars 8205-8212 were originally delivered with experimental Siemens traction motors to test the traction motors that would be later found in R160B cars 8843-9102. These cars were eventually refitted with the Bombardier MITRAC traction motors found on all other R143s.[15]

On June 21, 2006, an eight-car R143 train overshot the bumper at the end of the tracks in the Canarsie Yard after the operator suffered a seizure. The first car, 8277, suffered significant damage and was stripped of damaged parts before being sent to the Kawasaki plant in Yonkers to receive repairs. The other cars in the set (8278-8280) suffered minor body damage and were moved to the 207th Street Yard and repaired. Eventually, 8277 was sent back to New York City Transit property and repaired. By 2016, car 8277 was finally recoupled with 8278-8280, but the consist needed component upgrades to become operational.[16] The set returned to service in December 2017.[a]

In 2017, a set of R143s was equipped with measuring gauges to test out the curve radius and gangway flex in the existing 60-foot-long cars in order to collect data for evaluating the future R211T order.[b][better source needed]

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit


  1. ^ See also:
    • MTA T Train (December 15, 2017), MTA NYC Subway J train leaving Van Siclen Ave, retrieved December 16, 2017
  2. ^ See also:


  1. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20191205124356/http://nyctrackbook.com/Images/Updates/P.xlii.pdf
  2. ^ "Subdivision 'B' Car Assignments: Cars Required September 16, 2019" (PDF). The Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. 62 (10): 16. October 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  3. ^ New York Daily News, Oh, L, not enuf trains!, July 7, 2006
  4. ^ Chan, Sewell (November 30, 2005). "New Subway Cars Promise All Kinds of Information". The New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2007.
  5. ^ "Showing Image 3648". www.nycsubway.org. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "R34143 PURCHASE 100 CARS DIVISION 'B' OVER $10M". www.mta.nyc.ny.us. New York City Transit. January 27, 1998. Archived from the original on January 27, 1998. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  7. ^ "Metro Business; Subway Job to Kawasaki". The New York Times. December 30, 1998.
  8. ^ a b Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc., New York City Transit R143 Subway Cars Archived April 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, accessed April 14, 2007
  9. ^ "www.nycsubway.org". www.nycsubway.org.
  10. ^ "First run of the R143s". New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. January 2002.
  11. ^ Kennedy, Randy (July 31, 2002). "1,700 Subway Cars to Be Built Under Largest Such Contract in New York History". The New York Times. p. B3.
  12. ^ "Kawasaki completes NYCT R143 order. (Market).(New York City Transit)(subway cars contract)". Railway Age. HighBeam Research. March 1, 2003. Archived from the original on February 20, 2016.
  13. ^ On L Train, Drivers Perform Solo, Without Conductors, June 20, 2005, page B3
  14. ^ Conductors Are Returning to the Subway's L Line
  15. ^ Samsone, Gene (October 25, 2004). New York Subways: An Illustrated History of New York City's Transit Cars. Baltimore, MD: JHU Press. p. 282. ISBN 0801879221.
  16. ^ "New York City Subway Car Update" (PDF). The Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association (April 2016). March 30, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016.

External linksEdit

  Media related to R143 (New York City Subway car) at Wikimedia Commons