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Subway Observations – Part 4

I’m back with Part 4! I, somehow, haven’t run out of ideas. With more rare signs, rare rolling stock changes, and more, this has the potential to be our best piece yet!


Here, we see a set of R1-9s passing through West 8th Street on the (Q) line, bound for Coney Island Yard. These trains were moving to the yard for security upgrades to combat vandalism. These trains entered service between 1931 to 1940 and remained in service until they were replaced between 1968 and 1977.


A set of retired R42s pass through DeKalb Av on the (B)(Q) lines, with its front rollsign scrolled to the orange (Q). This train was also bound for Coney Island Yard. The first of these trains entered service on May 9, 1969, and were retired on December 30, 2019. Miraculously, due to the R179s (the successors of the R42s) having various issues and being pulled out of service, the R42s briefly returned to service from January 8, 2020, to January 24, 2020. The last time these cars ran in passenger service was on February 12, 2020, with a retirement run along the (A) line. It’s very rare to see these moving through the system!


An out-of-service R68, signed as a (B), passes Parkside Avenue. This train was taken out of service at Church Avenue following an NYPD investigation on board the train and was most likely heading to Concourse Yard.


Another out-of-service R68, this time signed as a (Q), passes 25th Avenue on the express track, returning to Coney Island Yard. It’s unknown what this train was used for, but this was still a very interesting sight to see!


A (4) train bound for Utica Avenue enters Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr, using R62A-type subway cars instead of its usual R142 and R142A rolling stock. R62As are rarely used on the (4) line, however, during the weekend of January 27 – 29, (4) trains ran in two sections. The first section, between Utica Avenue (New Lots Avenue during late-night hours) and 3rd Avenue-138th Street on the (6) line used spare R62As from Westchester Yard (home to the (6) line).


An R62A (4) train bound for 3rd Avenue-138th Street on the (6) line sits at Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr, using a diamond<4> designation instead of the regular circle designation. The <4> designation was used to indicate that trains would skip 138th Street-Grand Concourse during rush hour in the peak direction. This designation was introduced in June of 1979 and discontinued in May of 2004. Trains continue to skip 138th Street in the peak direction to this day.


A (6) train bound for 149th Street-Grand Concourse on the (4) line enters 14th Street, using an R142A instead of its usual R62As. On the weekend of January 20 – 22, (6) trains ran in two sections. The section between Brooklyn Bridge and 149th Street borrowed spare R142s and R142As from Jerome Yard. R142As haven’t been regularly used on the (6) line since 2018 when there was a swap between Corona Yard (home to the (7) line) and Westchester Yard. The (7) line was having CBTC implemented, so the R62As that were being used were transferred to the (6) line, and select R142As were converted into the R188s we know today and given to the (7) line. CBTC is a railway signaling system that utilizes telecommunications to manage traffic and infrastructure, improving safety, and efficiency, and reducing headways.


An R68A (B) train bound for Bedford Park Blvd enters Church Avenue, with its’ middle rollsign scrolled to an (A) as opposed to (B). The reason this happened is that this particular set ran in (A) service the previous night, and crews forgot to change this sign back to (B).


An R68 (B) train bound for Bedford Park Blvd leaves Church Avenue, with its middle rollsign scrolled between the orange (S) and (V). The (V) line, which debuted on December 17, 2001, ran between 2nd Avenue and Forest Hills-71 Av. The orange (S) on the other hand, was used on two occasions. From August 1997 to the early 2000s, it ran late nights only from 21 St-Queensbridge to 2nd Avenue. The second time this bullet was used was from July 22, 2001, to December 16, 2001, when it ran between 21 St-Queensbridge and Broadway-Lafayette St at all times due to the closure of the north tracks on the Manhattan Bridge.


Here, we see the newest subway cars in the system, the R211Ts, running in revenue service on the (C) line! There aren’t many differences between the R211As (which run on the (A) line) and the R211Ts. The only major difference is that the R211Ts have open gangways, as opposed to the R211As, which do not.


A (D) train sits at the Stillwell Avenue terminal, using R160 cars instead of their assigned R68 cars. This is an EXCEPTIONALLY rare occurrence since the (D) has used R68s regularly since 1986! This was really an (F) train that was rerouted over the (D) line just programmed as a (D), but this was still a cool sight to see! Upon arrival at the terminal, this became an (F).


An R46 (N) train sits at the Stillwell Avenue terminal, with its middle rollsign scrolled to (B) as opposed to (N). How this happened is unknown, but it is rare to see an R46 signed up as a (B) in any aspect! R46s have run in revenue (B) service only twice within the past decade, so this was really nice to see.


An (N) train bound for Coney Island-Stillwell Av departs Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr, using R160 cars instead of their usual R46, R68, and R68A rolling stock. This train ran during the PM Rush Hour on April 29, 2024, due to an R68 missing its front rollsign, declaring it unfit for service. R160s haven’t regularly run on the (N) line since 2021, so this was a really cool sight to see!


An R160 (R) train enters 9th Avenue on the (D) line on the express track. This would be the last stop on this train. On May 22, 2024, an individual struck by a train at 53rd Street severely disrupted (N)(R) train service. This was the only (R) train to be rerouted to 9th Avenue. Once at 9th Avenue, this train was taken out-of-service and deadheaded to Coney Island Yard. It’s not common to see an (R) train running over the West End Line!


An R68 running on the Franklin Avenue Shuttle awaits departure at Prospect Park with its’ rear rollsign scrolled to <R> as opposed to (S). This is an incredible sight to see. The <R> bullet was used from May 5, 1985, to November 20, 1987, when <R> service ran from Chambers St on the (J) line to 95th Street during rush hours only.

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