The New York City Subway System



IRT

The history of the New York City subway system began in 1900, when the Interborough Rapid Transit company began constructing the first underground transit line in the city. That line ran from City Hall in lower Manhattan, to Bronx Park and 230th street in The Bronx. Over the next few years, the IRT expanded into Brooklyn and Queens.

IRT's used shorter, narrower rolling stock compare to the other subway lines in the city. On average IRT cars had a length of 50 feet, and a width of 8'8".

"Hi-V" stock

TypeComposite
AliasCoppersides
BuilderSee Below
Date Built1903-1904

As Delivered

Composite Trailer
mm/Trackbed

Modified

Composite Trailer
mm/Trackbed

TypeTrailers
Road Numbers2000-2159
Composite Motor
mm/Trackbed
Composite Motor
mm/Trackbed
TypeMotors
Road Numbers3000-3339

When the IRT requested bids to build its first subway cars, no car manufacturer had the capability to build 500 all-steel transit vehicles, in the time allowed. Remember, this was 1904. Pullman would not build its first steel sleeping car for another six years. IRT made the decision to design a car of partially wooden construction, with as much fire-proofing and metal structure as possible. The lower sides had copper sheathing, giving these cars theit nickname.

They also spread the construction between four differnt manufacturers, Jewett (60 trailers and 40 motors), St. Louis (60 trailers and 140 motors), Wason (40 trailers and 60 motors), and Stephenson (100 motors)

Once the entire composite fleet came on-property, the IRT began working to replace them with all-steel equipment. That lead them to the remove of the Composites from subway duty, and move them to the Manhattan elevated lines within 10 years of their constrction.

TypeHi-V
Alias"Gibbs" motors
BuilderAC&F
Date Built1904-1908
Road Numbers3350-3649
2-door Gibbs
mm/Trackbed
 
Configuration2-door, as-built
4-door Gibbs
mm/Trackbed
 
Configuration4-door, experimental
3-door Gibbs
mm/Trackbed
 
Configuration3-door, modified, early
Noteno sill board
3-door Gibbs
mm/Trackbed
3-door Gibbs
mm/Trackbed
Configuration3-door, modified
3-door Gibbs
mm/Trackbed
3-door Gibbs
mm/Trackbed
Configuration3-door, MUDC
NoteMultiple Unit Door Control

Named after George Gibbs, the consultant who designed them, the IRT's first class of all-steel rolling stock suplemented the earlier "composite" cars. Since the two types had compatable control systems, the IRT ran mixed trains of Gibbs and Composite cars, in the years before the Composites left the subway.

Mr. Gibbs worked as a mechanical engineer, for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Since IRT and PRR shared many corporate officers, his "moonlighting" for the IRT does not seem surprising.

IRT had no trailers built to the Gibbs design. Once these cars started to arrive, many of the Composite motors got converted to trailers, and these ran in all Hi-V trains. No steel Hi-V trailers would join the IRT fleet until 1915.

TypeHi-V
AliasDeck Roof cars
BuilderAC&F
Date Built1907-1908
Road Numbers3350-3649
2-door Deck Roof
mm/Trackbed
Configuration2-door, as delivered
3-door Deck Roof
mm/Trackbed
Configuration3-door, modified

The Deck Roof cars represented a transition from the Gibbs cars (designed with two doors per side) and the later Headley types (which came from the manufacturers with three). The Deck Roof cars had two doors per side, as built, but also had the built-in provision to add a third door, if needed. The IRT took advantage of this provision, soon after they took delivery of these 50 cars.

However, these cars never recieved MUDC, and usually appeared on the ends of trains otherwise equipped with all powered doors. The Conductor and Trainman would stand between the Deck Roof and the endmost MUDC cars, and operate the power doors of four cars with one hand and the manual doors of one car with the other.

TypeIRT Standard Hi-V
AliasHeadley (motors)
BuilderSee Below
Date Built1910-1911(motors)
1915(trailers)
Road Numbers3700-4024(motors)
4223-4514(trailers)

Motor

Early Headley Motor
mm/Trackbed

Trailer

 

Without sill boards

Late Headley Motor
mm/Trackbed
Hi-V Trailer
mm/Trackbed

Manual Doors

Late Headley Motor
mm/Trackbed
Headley Trailer
mm/Trackbed

MUDC

TypeIRT Standard Hi-V (after City takeover)
Late Headley Motor
mm/Trackbed
Headley Trailer
mm/Trackbed

MUDC

"Lo-V" stock

When the IRT took over the Steinway Tunnel, whose design had originaly anticipated use by streetcars, they decided instead to use subway cars, specially designed to cope with the steep grades. These cars became known as "Steinways", or "Boilers". They had lower gear ratios for extra power, at the expense of top speed.

TypeIRT Standard
AliasSteinways, Flivvers, Lo-Vs
Buildersee below
Date Built1915 - 1925

Motor

Lo-V Motor
mm/Trackbed

Trailer

Lo-V Trailer
mm/Trackbed
ConfigurationManual Doors
Road Numbers4025 - 5652
Lo-V Motor
mm/Trackbed
Lo-V Trailer
mm/Trackbed
ConfigurationMUDC
Road Numbers4025 - 5652
Lo-V Motor
mm/Trackbed
Lo-V Trailer
mm/Trackbed
ConfigurationManual Doors
Lo-V Motor
mm/Trackbed
Lo-V Trailer
mm/Trackbed
ConfigurationMUDC

Car #4581

Lo-V Motor
mm/Trackbed

standard cars

Lo-V Motor
mm/Trackbed
ConfigurationBMT Shuttle
TypeWorld's Fair Lo-V
AliasSteinways
BuilderStLouis Car Co
Date Built1938
Road Numbers5653 - 5702
Lo-V WF Motor
mm/Trackbed

 

BMT

The Brooklyn and Manhattan Transit started life as a series of steam-powered railroads running from the city of Brooklyn to the then remote seaside resort of Coney Island. Through mergers and aquisitions, these railroads, and Brooklyn's network of elevated lines, eventully came under the ownership of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit company, BRT.

When the now-unified city of New York issued their third and fourth contracts for the construction and operation of the subway system, BRT joined the IRT as an operator of these lines. BRT not only operated new subway lines in Brooklyn and Manhattan, but the "Dual Contracts" also covered conversion of BRT's surface and elevated Coney Island lines to electric operation.

The construction and alteration of the BRT's trackge was partially to blame of the infamous Malbone Street Wreck, in 1918. The aftermath of that wreck left the BRT in bankruptcy until it was allowed to reorganize into the BMT, in 1923.

Heavyweight stock

NameBMT Type-A/B
AliasBMT Standard
BMT Standard
mm/Trackbed
BMT Standard
mm/Trackbed
BuilderAC&F
Date Built1914
Road Numbers2000-2099

As Built

BMT Standard
mm/Trackbed

Rebuilt 1959-60

BMT Standard
mm/Trackbed
BuilderAC&F
Date Built1915-1918
Road Numbers2100-2499 (2400-2499 rebuilt)
BMT Standard
mm/Trackbed
BMT Standard
mm/Trackbed
BuilderAC&F
Date Built1919
Road Numbers2500-2599
BMT Standard
mm/Trackbed
BMT Standard
mm/Trackbed
BuilderPressed Steel
Date Built1920-1922
Road Numbers2600-2899 (2600-2799 rebuilt)
BMT Standard
mm/Trackbed
 
BuilderPressed Steel
Date Built1924
Road Numbers4000-4049

Type A cars had motorman's controls at both ends, and conductor's controls in the middle of the car. Type-B units formed part of 3-unit sets. The end units had one set of motorman's controls, each, and the center unit had conductor's controls.

The earliest cars had their road numbers painted on a plate, with a black background, fastened over the endmost door-pocket windows. Later cars had their numbers painted on the car sides, above these windows.

The first 500 cars had small route and destination signs installed in the center door-pocket windows, while subsequent cars had larger signs in the passenger windows next to the door-pockets.

The AC&F cars had a celestory with angled sides and box ventilators. The Pressed Steel cars had more conventional "deck" rooves, with vent panels in the vertical celestory sides.

NameBMT Type-D
AliasTriplex
BuilderPressed Steel
Road Numbers6000-6121
Date Built1925-1928
BMT Triplex
mm/Trackbed

Appearance as built

BMT Triplex
mm/Trackbed

Later appearance

Elevated stock

NameBMT Q-type
Road Numbers1600ABC-1629ABC
Date Built1938-1940
 
NameBMT QX-type
Road Numbers1630AB-1642AB
Date Built1938-1940

Q

BMT Q car
mm/Trackbed

QX

BMT QX car
mm/Trackbed
Date1938
Lettering"BMT Lines"
AssignmentFlushing and Astoria lines
BMT Triplex
mm/Trackbed
BMT QX car
mm/Trackbed
Date1945
Lettering"New York City Transit System"
AssignmentFlushing and Astoria lines
BMT Q car
mm/Trackbed
 
Date1950
Assignment3rd Avenue Elevated
BMT Q car
mm/Trackbed
 
Date1958
AssignmentMyrtle Avenue Elevated

Lightweight stock

TypeBMT Multi-Section cars
BMT Green Hornet
mm/Trackbed
TypeBMT Pullman Experimetal
Multi-Section
AliasThe Green Hornet
Date Built1934
BMT Zephyr
mm/Trackbed
TypeBMT Budd Experimetal
Multi-Section
AliasThe Zephyr
Date Built1934
BMT Multi
mm/Trackbed
TypeBMT Production Multi-Section
AliasMulti
Built ByPullman and St Louis Car Co.
Date Built1936
BMT Bluebird
mm/Trackbed
TypeBMT Lightweight
Compartment Car
AliasThe Bluebird
Built ByClark Equipment Co.
Date Built1938 & 1940
Road
Numbers
8000 - 8005

Bluebird number 8000 was a prototype, and could not operate with the other cars due to incompatable couplers. The BMT could not obtain replacement couplers due to WWII materiel shortages. BMT had planned to aquire 50 Bluebirds, but New York's anti-transit Mayor LaGuardia blocked further purchases as soon as the city took over the BMT in the summer of 1940.

The Zephyr had no couplers, and could only run as a single unit.

Five-section "multis" designated each section A-B-C-B1-A1, while the three-section Bluebirds just used A-B-A1.

"City" cars

The Independent subway system used rolling stock with the same 10-foot width of the BMT's equipment, but only 60' long.

Pre-War cars

TypeR1/4/6/7/9
Date Built1932 - 1940
Road Numbers100 - 1802
R1
mm/Trackbed
R1
mm/Trackbed

R1 #100 - 199

R1
mm/Trackbed
R1
mm/Trackbed

R1 #200 - 399

R4
mm/Trackbed
R4
mm/Trackbed

R4 - R9

R4
mm/Trackbed
R4
mm/Trackbed

MTA Repaint

IND's prewar rolling stock the then conventional arrangement of two traction motors per car, in a single truck. This was the standard for early EMUs, because it placed all of the control and propulsion equiment close together.

Postwar cars

TypeR10
Date Built1948
R10
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered

R10
mm/Trackbed

Repaint, Tartar Red

R10
mm/Trackbed

Repaint, 1964 World's Fair

R10
mm/Trackbed

MTA Repaint

R10
mm/Trackbed

Reapint, Kale Green

TypeR11/R34
Date Built1949
R11
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered (R11)

R34
mm/Trackbed

Rebuilt (R34)

SMEE cars

TypeR12/R14
Date Built1948/49
R12
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered

R12
mm/Trackbed

Repaint, Tartar Red

R12
mm/Trackbed

MTA Repaint

R12
mm/Trackbed

Repaint, "Anti Grafiti" White

   
TypeR15
Date Built1950
R15
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered

R15
mm/Trackbed

Repaint, Solid Maroon

R15
mm/Trackbed

Repaint, Dark Green

R15
mm/Trackbed

MTA Repaint

   
ConfigurationSingle Cars
TypesR17 R21 R22
Date Built1955-58
R17
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered (R17)

R21
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered (R21/R22)

R21
mm/Trackbed

MTA Repaint (R17/R21/R22)

R21
mm/Trackbed

"Anti Grafiti" white (R21/R22)

   
ConfigurationMaried Pairs
TypesR26 R28 R29 R33 R36
Date Built1959-64
R26
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered (R26/R28)

R29
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered (R29/R33/R36)

R29
mm/Trackbed

MTA Repaint (R26/R28/R29/R33/R36)

R29
mm/Trackbed

"Anti Grafiti" white (R26/R28/R29/R33/R36)

R29
mm/Trackbed

Kale Green (R33)

R29
mm/Trackbed

GOH "Redbird" Fox Red (R26/R28/R29/R33/R36)

TypeR33S
Date Built1963
 
TypeR36WF
Date Built1964

R33S R36WF

R33SR36WF
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered

R33SR36WF
mm/Trackbed

"Anti Grafiti" white

R33SR36WF
mm/Trackbed

General Overhaul and repaint Fox Red

For a time, the A division (former IRT) used colored stripes under each cars' number plates to designate the yard responsible for maintianing that car. These colors were:
YardRGB
East 180th St.#000000
239th St.#008000
240th St.#C00000
Westchester#EEEC30
Jerome Ave.#F8AF00
Livonia & 148th St.#0000FF
Corona#B83CD2

60-foot arch-roof cars

TypeR16
Date Built1954-55
R16
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered

R16
mm/Trackbed

Special

R16
mm/Trackbed

Repaint, Tartar Red

R16
mm/Trackbed

MTA Repaint

   
TypeR27/R30
Date Built1959-64
R27
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered

R30
mm/Trackbed

Repaint, Tartar Red

R30
mm/Trackbed

MTA Repaint

R30
mm/Trackbed

"Redbird" Repaint, Fox Red (R30)

"Brightliners"

TypeR32
Date Built1964
R27R27
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered

R32R27
mm/Trackbed

General Overhaul

TypeR38
Date Built1966-67
R38R38
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered

R38R38
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered, with A/C

R38R38
mm/Trackbed

General Overhaul

TypeR40
Date Built1967-69
R40
mm/Trackbed

"Slant", As Delivered

R40
mm/Trackbed

"Slant", General Overhaul

R40M
mm/Trackbed

"Modified", As Delivered

R40M
mm/Trackbed

"Modified", General Overhaul

TypeR42
Date Built1969-70
R40
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered

R40
mm/Trackbed

General Overhaul

TypeR44/R46
Date Built1971-75
R46R46R46R46
mm/Trackbedmm/Trackbed

As Delivered

R46R46R46R46
mm/Trackbedmm/Trackbed

General Overhaul

R46R46R46
mm/Trackbedmm/Trackbed

JFK Express

R46R46
mm/Trackbed

Bicentennial cars

The "Throwbacks"

TypeR62
Date Built1983-87
R62
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered

R62
mm/Trackbed

As Rebuilt, single cars

R62 R62 R62 R62 R62
mm/Trackbed

As Rebuilt 5-car sets

TypeR68
Date Built1986-89
R68
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered

R68R68R68R68
mm/Trackbedmm/Trackbed

As Rebuilt

The "New-Tech" cars

TypeR142/R188
Date Built1999-2004
R142_A  Coming_Soon  R142_B  R142_B  R142_A
mm/Trackbed

As Delivered

TypeR143/ R160/ R179
Date Built2001-09
R143A R143A R143A R143A
mm/Trackbedmm/Trackbed

As Delivered

SIRT

The Staten Island Rapid Transit has no connection to the rest of the New York City subway.

TypeSIRT ME-1
Date Built1925
Road Numbers300-389
SIRT ME-1
mm/Trackbed

in B&O colors

SIRT ME-1
mm/Trackbed

On BMT

SIRT ME-1
mm/Trackbed

SIRTOA

work cars

Non revenue equipment

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