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R27 (New York City Subway car)

The R27 was a New York City Subway car model built by the St. Louis Car Company from 1960 to 1961 for the IND/BMT B Division.

St. Louis R-27 No. 8167.jpg
An R27 train on the former QJ service leaving Sheepshead Bay.
In service1960-1990
ManufacturerSt. Louis Car Company
Entered service1960–1961
Refurbishmentearly 1989 (27 cars)
Scrapped1989-1990, 2013
Number built230
Number preserved0
Number scrapped230
FormationMarried Pairs
Fleet numbers8020-8249
Capacity56 (seated)
Operator(s)New York City Subway
Car body constructionLAHT Carbon steel
Car length60 ft (18.29 m)
Width10 ft (3.05 m)
Height12.08 ft (3.68 m)
Platform height3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Doors8 sets of 45 inch wide side doors per car
Maximum speed55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight80,600 lb (36,560 kg)
Traction systemWestinghouse XCA248 and General Electric MCM 17KG192A
Power output100 hp (75 kW) per traction motor
Electric system(s)600 V DC Third rail
Current collection methodTop running Contact shoe
Braking system(s)WABCO ME42B SMEE
Coupling systemWestinghouse H2C
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge


The R27s were numbered 8020-8249.

The R27s were a continuation of the R16 style, except that the cars used the IRT R26-style pink hard fiberglass all-longitudinal seating instead of the mixed combination seating found on the older R16s, as well as removing the "porthole" style front windows found on the R15, R16, and R17.

The R27s were coupled together as pairs. These cars, along with their identical R30 and R30A sister cars, replaced the oldest BMT Standards (including all 50 of the trailer cars), the ME-1s purchased and transferred from the SIRT, the MS Multi-section cars, and the IRT Lo-Vs that were modified to be used on B-division shuttles. The cars also permitted all borrowed IND equipment such as the R1/9's used on the #2 Fourth Avenue Local extension to Astoria-Ditmars Blvd, and the R10 cars used on the #15 Jamaica Line to be returned to their respective lines on the IND division, and also helped to stabilized the BMT division to a certain extent.

The R27s were the first cars to not use the numerical route designations used on former BMT lines; the cars ushered in letter designations for such routes (continuing where the IND designations ended). The IND routes either then or previously in use ran from A to HH; the BMT designations now ran from J to TT. After the merger in late 1967, many IND and BMT routes were joined together by some lines.

There were two versions of the R27: Westinghouse (WH)-powered equipped cars (8020-8135) and General Electric (GE)-powered cars (8136-8249).


The first train of R27s, consisting of cars 8027–8024, 8021–8020 and 8028–8029, entered service on the QT line on November 15, 1960. The R27s were initially assigned to the QT and QB lines.[1] Once the R27s arrived in sufficient numbers, they provided all weekend service on the BMT Southern Division.

Most R27s were transferred to the BMT Eastern Division after November 1967, although they would appear in the northern and southern divisions as well as on many IND routes as well.


In early 1989, 24 selected GE-powered R27s and 3 WH-powered R27s were rebuilt and painted in the fox red paint scheme, similar to the 162 GE-powered R30s and other Redbird trains in the subway system, as part of the Clean Car Program.[2] The overhaul of the 27 cars cost $100,000 per car.

14 cars known to be rebuilt were 8042, 8091, 8126, 8145, 8158-8159, 8172-8173, 8177, 8186, 8224-8225, 8236, and 8241. They ran on the C until being retired in early 1990.


The R27s were replaced by the R68As in 1989, and 1990 (they were indirectly replaced by rebuilt R38s and unrebuilt R30s, which started appearing on the C in late 1988). The last un-rebuilt R27 train ran on May 10, 1989, which marked an end to graffiti on subway cars.

The overhauled R27s were planned to run for many years to come, but all cars except 8042 were instead retired by the summer of 1989 due to reliability problems and the lack of air conditioning on the cars. 8042 was the last R27 to operate; it was mated to R30 car 8513 and ran on the C until the early 1990s.

After retirement, most cars were sent to what is now Sims Metal Management's Newark facility to be scrapped and processed. Some cars were retained as movie props, but were ultimately scrapped as well. However, car 8145 was retained as a school car until 2011. Initially held for the New York Transit Museum, it was stored at the Pitkin Yard, but towed to the 207th Street Yard in summer 2013, and finally sent to Sims Metal Management in Newark, New Jersey to be scrapped on October 22, 2013.[3] No other known examples of this model survive today.

See alsoEdit

  • R30/R30A - a very similar model also built by St. Louis Car Company.


  1. ^ "First Run of the R27s". New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association. November 1960.
  2. ^ "Showing Image 4549".
  3. ^ "R27 8145 (8)". Flickr. October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2016.

Further readingEdit

  • Sansone, Gene. Evolution of New York City subways: An illustrated history of New York City's transit cars, 1867-1997. New York Transit Museum Press, New York, 1997 ISBN 978-0-9637492-8-4

External linksEdit