The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that 298 R179 subway cars that had been removed from service are back in operation after safety inspections were completed and the cars were validated fit for passenger service.
“Safety is the MTA’s first priority, which has guided the entire review and inspection process of the R179 fleet,” said MTA Chief Operating Officer Mario Péloquin. “We were determined not to return cars to service one day before we were satisfied the issues identified were fully resolved and the safety of the cars was assured.”
“I want to thank New Yorkers for their patience during this process and I want to applaud Sally Librera and the entire subways team for their leadership,” said New York City Transit President Andy Byford. “We diligently sought and received independent confirmation from third-party engineering firm LTK and assurance from Bombardier that the cars are safe and ready for service.”
“I thank the entire subways team for their hard work over the last two weeks to ensure all of the R179s are completely safe,” said Senior Vice President for Subways at New York City Transit Sally Librera. “Our team undertook a massive technical and logistical effort to move trains and inspect cars and we didn’t rest until the job was done.”
MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) pulled the R179 cars out of service on January 7 after New York City Transit was notified by Bombardier Transportation of two incidents that had occurred on December 24 and January 3 in which the locking mechanism on the subway car doors was found not to be secure. Upon learning that there was the potential for a broader issue with the car doors from Bombardier, New York City Transit took immediate action to pull the fleet from service and replace them with spare cars that same night, including R-46s on the A, R-32s on the C, and R-143s, R-160s, and R42s on the J.
Over the course of the past two weeks, third-party engineering firm LTK, New York City Transit, and Bombardier completed inspections and adjustments of all door systems, as well as software upgrades and testing for the entire R179 fleet. This also included certified sign-off of the R179 cars serviceability from LTK. In total, 318 cars, 2,544 doorways and more than 5,000 separate doors were inspected and certified for safety in addition to a successfully deployed software upgrade which provides a redundant safety measure. In addition, test trains were sent throughout the transit system with no passengers on board to further validate that adjustments and upgrades are functioning as designed.
Approximately 156 R179 trains cars, which serve the A C J and Z lines, re-entered service during the AM rush hour on January 24 – representing 75 percent of the normal Friday rush in-service number. Six trains on the A, nine trains on the C and three trains on the J/Z lines were placed into service. The balance of the fleet will be phased in over the weekend.
Full subway service on these lines for our customers has been maintained during the inspection and upgrade process using the spare cars. These older train cars will now be returned to transit yards to be used as spares, with some scheduled to be phased into retirement.