R68A (New York City Subway car)

The R68A is a B Division New York City Subway car order consisting of 200 cars built between 1988 and 1989 by Kawasaki Rail Car Company in Kobe, Japan, with final assembly done at the Kawasaki plant in Yonkers, New York.[3]

R68A B train at Prospect Park.jpg
An R68A train on the B at Prospect Park
R68A G Train Interior.jpg
Interior of an R68A car
In service1988-present
ManufacturerKawasaki Heavy Industries
Built atKobe, Japan;
Yonkers, New York (final assembly)
Family nameSMEE
Entered serviceMay 18, 1988
Number built200
Number in service200 (168 in revenue service during rush hours)
Formation4 cars per trainset
Fleet numbers5001-5200
Capacity70 (seated)
Operator(s)New York City Subway
Depot(s)Coney Island Yard (200 cars)[1]
Service(s) assigned"A" train – 8 cars (1 train, PM rush)
"B" train – 152 cars (19 trains, AM rush)
 – 144 cars (18 trains, PM rush)
"N" train "W" train – 8 cars (1 train)[2]
Car body constructionstainless steel with fiberglass end bonnets
Train length4 car train: 300 feet (91.44 m)
8 car train: 600 feet (182.88 m)
Car length74 ft 8.5 in (22.77 m) (over anticlimbers)
Width10 ft (3,048 mm) (over threshold)
Height12.08 ft (3,682 mm)
Platform height3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Doors8 sets of 50-inch (1,270 mm) wide side doors per car
Maximum speed55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight92,720 lb (42,057 kg)
Traction systemAdTranz E-Cam Propulsion
(115 hp or 85.8 kW on all axles)
Traction motorsWestinghouse 1447J
Power output115 hp (85.8 kW) on all axles
Acceleration2.5 mph/s (4.0 km/(h⋅s))
Electric system(s)600 V DC Third rail
Current collection methodContact shoe
Braking system(s)WABCO (dynamic and friction), WABCO tread brake rigging model TBU GR90
Safety system(s)dead man's switch, tripcock
Coupling systemWestinghouse H2C
Headlight typehalogen light bulbs
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge


The R68As are numbered 5001-5200. They were the last cars to be built with a length of 75 feet (22.86 m) (the previous three being the R44, R46 and R68). While the 75 foot length allows more room for sitting and standing passengers per car than the 60-foot (18.29 m) length that was previously used, these cars suffer from clearance issues and cannot run on the BMT Eastern Division. Additionally, the reduced number of doors on a train of eight 75-foot (22.86 m) cars have led to increased boarding and dwelling times. As a result, subsequent B Division subway car orders have returned to the previous length of 60 feet (18.29 m), starting with the R143 order in 2001.

Delivery and Revenue Service

The first R68A cars were delivered to New York on April 12, 1988 and transferred to TA facilities the following day.[4] The cars replaced all of the remaining R10s, R27s, and unrebuilt R30s, all of which were retired between 1989 and 1993. The R68As were built with American and Japanese parts.

The R68As' first entry to revenue service was on May 18, 1988 on the Bronx and Manhattan half of the divided D train with the first fleet consisting of the consist 5010-5001-5006-5008-5009-5007-5004-5005.[4] Originally, the R68A order was supposed to be a second option order of the R68. However, due to poor performance from the R68 cars produced by Westinghouse-Amrail, along with other issues, the MTA gave the order to Kawasaki, with an offer of $958,000 per car versus Westinghouse-Amrail's offer of $1,012,200 per car.[3][5]

The R68As are currently based out of the Coney Island Yard and are assigned to the B, G, N, and W trains with one set assigned to the A train during weekday afternoon rush hours.


The R68As are scheduled to remain in service until at least 2025-30.[6] In 2010, the MTA proposed mid-life technological upgrades for the R68As, including LED destination signs and automated announcements.[7][8]

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. ^ a b Levine, Richard (March 13, 1987). "M.T.A. PICKS NEW SUBWAY CARS FROM JAPAN OVER A CONSORTIUM". New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "www.nycsubway.org: The New York Transit Authority in the 1980s". www.nycsubway.org. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  5. ^ Levine, Richard (February 24, 1987). "Transit Authority Is Critical of its Newest Subway Cars". New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  6. ^ MTA Capital Program Oversight Committee Hearing, June 2010 (page 20) Archived November 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Request For Information No. 9003 | Integrated Communications System on NYCT R62/R62A and R68/R68A Class Rail Cars
  8. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (June 16, 2011). "Transit Agency Weighs Digital Upgrade for Subway Cars". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 26, 2017.

Further reading

  • 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 links

  Media related to R68A (New York City Subway car) at Wikimedia Commons