R211 (New York City Subway car)

The R211 is a future new technology (NTT) New York City Subway car to be built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries for the B Division and the Staten Island Railway (SIR). They will replace all R44 cars on the Staten Island Railway and all R46 subway cars. The order is split into three parts: R211A and R211T cars for the subway and R211S cars for the SIR. The R211Ts will employ open gangways between cars, a feature not present on current rolling stock. The base order consists of 535 cars, with options for up to 1,077 additional cars.

MTA First Look at New R211 Subway Car Class (49419947913).jpg
R211T mockup at Kawasaki's plant in Kobe, Japan
R211 Open House (38033469164).jpg
Full-size mock-up of the proposed interior.
In service2020–2025 (expected)
ManufacturerKawasaki Heavy Industries
Built atLincoln, Nebraska, and Yonkers, New York[1]
Family nameNTT (New Technology Train)
ReplacedAll SIR R44s
All R46s
Number under construction535
(1,612 with all options exercised)
Number built10[2]
Number in service0
FormationFive-car sets (planned); four-car sets (only with Option 2 exercised)
Fleet numbersTBA
Car body constructionStainless steel with fiberglass ends and rear bonnets [3]
Train length5-car train: 301.05 feet (91.76 m)
4-car train: 240.84 feet (73.41 m)
Car length60.21 feet (18.35 m)
Floor heightTBD
Platform heightTBD
Doors8 sets of 58 inches (150 cm) wide side doors per car
Articulated sections4 (R211T)
Maximum speedTBD
Traction systemAlstom IGBT–VVVF[4]
Power outputTBD
Power supplyTBD
Electric system(s)600 V DC Third rail
Current collection methodContact shoe
Braking system(s)TBD
Safety system(s)TBD
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

Planning for the R211 order started in 2011. The design process started in 2012, at which time the order was supposed to consist of 75-foot-long (23 m) cars. The cars' lengths were changed to 60 feet (18 m) by 2015, and the first request for proposals was solicited in July 2016. After several changes to the proposal, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) awarded a contract to Kawasaki in January 2018. The cars are expected to be delivered between 2020 and 2023. They will contain new features such as wider doors, information screens, Wi-Fi, LED-lit doorways, open gangways, and LED interior lighting.[5]

Component orders

The MTA will invest $3.686 billion in this order.[6] The contract is split into three parts: R211A, R211S, and R211T. The base order of 535 cars will comprise 20 R211T open gangway prototype cars, 440 R211A cars that will partially replace the 750 aging R46 cars and 75 R211S cars which are expected to replace the remaining 61-car R44 fleet on the Staten Island Railway.[6][7]:73 There will be two options for additional cars: the first for 640 cars and the second for 437 cars.[8] Both options are designed to accommodate either standard cars or open gangway cars, depending on the test results from the 20 pilot cars. If all options are exercised, the order would total up to 1,612 cars.[6] In total, the R211 order would provide 1,015 new cars to replace existing fleet, as well as up to 597 cars for fleet expansions following the extension of the Second Avenue Subway and the automation of the New York City Subway.[7]:72

The option cars would entirely replace the older R46s by December 2024.[9] Since the R46s are 75 feet (23 m) long, and the R211 cars are only 60 feet (18 m), the 752 R46s would need to be replaced by 940 R211s.[a] Any additional cars not replacing existing rolling stock will be used to expand the system's fleet.[10][11] The R211Ts would also increase capacity and allow passengers to walk seamlessly from one car to the next.[10][12][13][14] The delivery of the base order is scheduled to be completed by August 2023, with option 1 and option 2 completed by December 2024 and October 2025 respectively.[15]


Mock up of the proposed open gangway design (top) and the proposed FIND system (bottom).

The doors on the R211s will be 58 inches (150 cm) wide, wider than the current MTA standard of 50 inches (130 cm), thereby projected to reduce station dwell time by 32%.[1] This design change partially incorporates a design feature of the R110A prototype subway cars, which had doors that are 63 inches (160 cm) wide.[16] The new cars will have Wi-Fi installed, USB chargers, digital advertisements, digital customer information displays, illuminated door opening alerts, and security cameras,[17][18][1][19] unlike the current New Technology Trains, which lack these features.[20] Each car will contain an on-board computer system that could detect breakdowns in critical systems such as braking and door-opening.[1]

It was announced in July 2016 that some of the cars would have open gangways that allowed passengers to move between cars during train movement.[1] To test out the curve radius and gangway flex in the existing 60-foot-long cars, an R143 test train was equipped with measuring gauges and was operated on most parts of the B Division.[b]

There will be a change in exterior appearance from previous New Technology Trains. The subway cars will have a blue front with large windows, LED headlights, and a blue strip with gold accents on the sides, similar to the new MTA Regional Bus Operations livery released in 2016. To designate the route, a large LED screen with the route bullet will be displayed at the ends of the train, a feature similar to trains with rollsigns. Also, the route's destination will be displayed above the door on the front, similar to the overhead rollsign arrangement last used on the R38 order from 1966, which displayed both the route and destination.

There will also be several changes in interior appearance. Updated FIND displays would be installed. The seating on the inside will be blue and gold, and flip seats will be installed to allow for space for wheelchairs.[17][18] There will also be looped stanchions, a feature found in some R46, R62A, and R160 cars, as well as on all R179 cars.

All R211A and R211T cars will be equipped for communications-based train control (CBTC), while all R211S cars will be equipped with cab signaling.[8]

As part of an action plan to fix the subway's state of emergency of 2017, many of the R211's features are now being implemented on several R160s assigned to the E, F, and L routes.[21][22][23]


Initial request for proposals

The R211 Design Master Plan was approved by the MTA in December 2011, and design planning began in December 2012.[12][24] An R211 solicitation was posted in the classified section of Metro Magazine's May 9, 2013, issue, stating the proposal to acquire these cars in the near future. At the time, the order was planned to be 75 feet (23 m) in length, the same length as the R46 cars. Open-gangways, which would allow passengers to seamlessly walk throughout the train or units, and other alternate configurations were also initially considered for the entire order.[25]

By the release of the MTA's 2015-2019 Capital Program in October 2015, the order specified 60-foot (18 m) cars, which has been the standard length of new B Division cars since the R143 order. As of March 2016, open-gangways will be tested on ten cars (now designated as the R211T).[13] Additionally, the order was broken up into a base order of 565 R211A cars and two option orders: the first for 375 R211A cars, and a second for up to 520 R211As.[13][10][11][25]

The Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued on July 22, 2016, and the contract was to be put out for bidding.[12][13][17] With the RFP, the breakup of the order was changed. The base order consisted of 285 cars, with 10 R211T cars, 75 R211S cars, and 200 R211A cars. There were still two option orders; the first option order contained 740 cars (either R211As or R211Ts, depending on the success of the R211Ts in the base order), and the second base order contained 520 cars. The RFP closed in December 2016,[26] and the contract was expected to be awarded in early 2017,[12] at which time the existing R46 fleet would be 42 years old, making the oldest cars 45 years old, in 2020. However, in January 2017, the contract was pushed back to mid-2017.[26]

On April 24, 2017, at the New York City Transit Board Meeting, the breakdown of the order was changed once again. The base order will now include 535 cars (an increase of 250 cars), with 10 R211T cars, 75 R211S cars, and 450 R211A cars. The option order now consisted of between 490 and 640 R211T cars. This change was made to allow for faster deliveries of the R211 cars. The R211As, with their standard configuration, could be delivered as soon as 2020 – earlier than the open-gangway R211T cars, which would not be delivered until at least 2023.[27]

Creation of mockup and awarding of contract

Full-size mock-up of the proposed exterior of an R211 car at 34th Street–Hudson Yards station

In May 2017,[26] the MTA quietly built a mockup of the R211 in a sparsely-used section of the 34th Street–Hudson Yards station's mezzanine, hidden behind a construction wall. The New York Daily News first reported on the mockup's existence in September of that year. The mockup contains features such as the open-gangway designs, digital screens showing next stops and their station layouts, multicolor lights next to the doors to indicate which set of doors will open, and a blue-and-gold-stripe paint design on its exterior.[28] The model was completed and was made publicly accessible from November 30 to December 6, 2017, so riders could review it.[29][30]

In August 2017, Bombardier Transportation, who was manufacturing the R179s at the time, was banned from bidding on the R211 contract due to various delays and problems associated with the R179 contract.[31][32] Shortly afterward, it was reported that CRRC had also opted out of contention for the R211 contract, leaving Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Alstom Transport as two of the likely bidders for the contract.[32]

On January 19, 2018, the MTA Board suggested that Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc, a subsidiary of Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Kobe, Japan, be awarded the $3.7 billion base order for the first 535 new R211 cars.[27][19] The cars are anticipated to be delivered from 2020 to 2023, with the option orders to be delivered by 2025. The R211 base order includes 20 R211T cars with open gangways; 75 R211S cars for the Staten Island Railway, to be delivered near the end of the base order; and 440 cars similar to the R143/R160 series, operating in five-car units.[27][1] The cars will be assembled at Kawasaki's factories in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Yonkers, New York.[1] The first test train is expected to be delivered in July 2020, with the production cars being delivered between 2021 and 2023.[15] At the same time it was announced that there would be two option orders, with the first consisting of 640 cars, and the second consisting of 437 cars in 89 sets.[33][c] In October 2018, it was confirmed that the second option order would consist of 89 sets, and in September 2019, it was confirmed that the 89 sets would be formed from 437 cars.[34][8][d] The entire order will consist of 1,612 cars with both options exercised.[8][35]:12

By January 2019, the first R211A test train was scheduled to be delivered in July 2020. Thereafter, new R211 cars would be produced and delivered at a rate of 30 to 40 cars per month.[35]:29 The first two test trains of ten R211T open-gangway cars would be delivered in May 2021, followed by the first 5-car set of R211S cars for the Staten Island Railway in December 2021.[35]:12 Under the schedule outlined in January 2019, the base order of R211 cars would begin delivery in October 2021[7]:74 and continue to be delivered through mid-2023.[35]:12 If the two option orders of 1,077 cars were exercised, deliveries would continue through late 2025. A decision on whether to make the first option order as open-gangway or standard trainsets would need to be decided by late 2022.[35]:13 It was also announced in January 2019 that Kawasaki had made a full-car mock-up of the R211 fleet.[35]:15–17

See also


  1. ^ Both quantities represent 94 full-length trainsets, each of which is 600 ft (180 m) long. Each 600-foot trainset of R46s would require 8 cars, while each 600-foot trainset of sixty-foot-long cars would require 10 such cars. As such, 752 R46 cars could be arranged to make 94 full-length trainsets, and 940 sixty-foot-long cars could be arranged to make 94 such trainsets.
  2. ^ See also:
    • Tech And Transit (April 4, 2017), ⁴ᴷ R211 Open Gangway Measurement Test Train (R143 8269-8272), retrieved April 5, 2017
  3. ^ If the second option had 333 cars, there would 88 cars in 22 sets of four cars each, and 245 cars in 49 sets of five cars each.
    • If the second option had 437 cars, there would be 32 cars in 8 sets of four cars each, and 405 cars in 81 sets of five cars each.
  4. ^ An option order with 333 cars would only result in 83.25 train sets of four cars, but an MTA board meeting document from October 2018 mentions 89 four- and five-car trainsets in the second option order, all of which would be equipped with communications-based train control. Assuming all 437 cars will be equipped with CBTC, the order would have to be divided into 81 five-car sets, totaling 405 cars, plus 8 four-car sets, totaling 32 cars.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Maslin Nir, Sarah (January 19, 2018). "New York Set to Acquire the Next Generation of Subway Cars". The New York Times. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  2. ^ https://1010wins.radio.com/articles/mta-reveals-first-look-at-new-r211-subway-cars
  3. ^ https://global.kawasaki.com/en/corp/newsroom/news/detail/?f=20180125_9620
  4. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd-XmUIIc8M MTA Board Meeting Stream, 5:38:46
  5. ^ http://www.kawasakirailcar.com/NYCTAwardsR211Contract
  6. ^ a b c "New York City Transit and Bus Committee Meeting 1/22/2018" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 22, 2018. p. 134-136. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting January 2020". web.mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 2020. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d "New York City Transit and Bus Committee Meeting October 2018" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 19, 2018. pp. 188–189. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  9. ^ Goldstein, Richard (December 4, 2017). "Subway Cars Will Get Wider Doors by 2020, Everyone Rejoice". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c "Review of the A and C Lines" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. December 11, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  11. ^ a b "MTA Twenty-Year Capital Needs Assessment 2015-2034" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d "MTA Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting: January 2016" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 29, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d "Transit & Bus Committee Meeting - March 2016" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. March 21, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  14. ^ Rivoli, Dan (August 13, 2015). "Ancient subway trains on C and J/Z lines won't be replaced until 2022, documents say". Daily News (New York). Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting January 2018" (PDF). web.mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  16. ^ "R-110 New Technology Test Program". www.nycsubway.org. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  17. ^ a b c "Governor Cuomo Unveils Design of Reimagined MTA Subway Cars and Details Ambitious Plan to Enhance Subway Stations". July 18, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  18. ^ a b "MTA renderings" (PDF). www.governor.ny.gov. July 18, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  19. ^ a b "kawasakirc.com NYCT Awards R211 Contract". Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc. January 27, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  20. ^ "NYC, meet your (possible) subway cars of the future". am New York. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  21. ^ Chung, Jen (October 3, 2017). "Photos: Step Inside The MTA's New Subway Cars, Now With Less Seating". Gothamist. Archived from the original on October 4, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  22. ^ Furfaro, Danielle (October 3, 2017). "MTA removes seats from E train cars". New York Post. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  23. ^ "news - Subway Action Plan Update: New Subway Cars on E Line". MTA. October 3, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  24. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting: October 2012" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 2, 2013. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  25. ^ a b "New York City Transit: R211 - New Generation of Subway Cars". Metro Magazine, MTA New York City Transit. May 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  26. ^ a b c "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 23, 2017. p. 37. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  27. ^ a b c Metropolitan Transportation Authority (January 22, 2018). "NYCT/Bus Committee Meeting" (PDF). p. 135. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  28. ^ Rivoli, Dan (September 5, 2017). "New subway train prototype up but hidden at Hudson Yards station". NY Daily News. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  29. ^ Rivoli, Dan (November 30, 2017). "MTA unveils models of future subway cars available for viewing". NY Daily News. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  30. ^ Barone, Vin (November 30, 2017). "Tour the MTA's potential new subway cars". am New York. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  31. ^ "Bombardier shut out of N.Y. subway contract because of 'poor performance'". Montreal Gazette. August 30, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  32. ^ a b "Kawasaki vying for $3.2 billion New York subway order". 1330 & 101.5 WHBL. Midwest Communications. August 31, 2017. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  33. ^ https://new.mta.info/sites/default/files/2019-09/MTA%202020-2024%20Capital%20Program%20-%20Full%20Report.pdf page 185/PDF page 187
  34. ^ "S-48013 R179/R211 Carborne Equipment for the CBTC 8th Avenue Line" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. December 14, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  35. ^ a b c d e f "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2019.

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