The time has finally come for commuters to ride the modern new R211 subway trains, just announced the MTA in a press release — and less than a year away from the “open gangway” style cars.
The MTA originally reported that the new R211 subway cars would be delivered to NYC Transit in 2020 though not being used by the public until 2021.
While the first five subway cars of the R211 fleet were unveiled in July of 2021, the MTA then announced they weren’t expected to begin serving passengers until the summer of 2022.
Now, the R211 cars have officially begun being phased into service on the A line!
The new trains hitting the tracks are part of the MTA’s order for 640 more new cars that was approved this past October. The new trains are part of the “Fast Forward” plans announced in early 2018 that will allow 50 years worth of subway updates to take place in only a decade. There will be nearly 5,000 new subway cars introduced to the tracks within that time.
These R211 cars, initially planned for the A and C lines and the Staten Island Railway, feature 58-inch-wide door openings which are eight inches wider than door openings on existing cars. The wider doorways are designed to speed up boarding and reduce the amount of time trains sit in stations.
In addition, the highly-anticipated R211 cars with “open gangways” (separate from the “standard” R211 cars described above), have just begun testing and are anticipated to roll out in the fourth quarter of 2023. These feature the “soft, accordion-like walls that connect subway cars and allow riders to move freely between them,” according to the MTA.
Both types of cars are also equipped with security cameras, digital displays with information about service and stations, and brighter lighting and signage, among other features.
“The new cars are going to give our riders a more modern passenger experience, so riding the subway no longer feels like a step into the past,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “We’re investing over $6 billion in new train cars as part of the historic $55 billion MTA Capital Program and it’s not just for aesthetics, because these new train cars enable us to run more frequent service.”
The news comes alongside other changes being made to NYC’s subway service, including increased speeds on certain lines, new subway safety plans, and the proposal to increase fares by 5.5%, among other announcements.