MTA New York City, FTA to pay $1.4 billion to Kawasaki for 535 new subway cars

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of New York City is looking to update its subway network through the acquisition of new R211 cars from Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc., with monetary support from the Federal Transit Administration.

In all, they are looking to purchase 535 state-of-the-art subway cars, under a contract for $1.4 billion. The contract also has a provision for as many as 1,077 additional cars at a total cost of $3.7 billion–supposing a future Board decision supports the arrangement. Currently, however, 440 new closed-end cars will be delivered to the B Division, 75 closed-end cars for the Staten Island Railway, and 20 open gangway cars will also be supplied as part of a pilot program.

“It is imperative that we provide a first-in-class subway car that can live up to the rigor and expectations of New Yorkers,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said. “As part of our commitment to modernize the subway system, we have expanded and accelerated this contract to provide more reliable, more comfortable train cars that are easier to board and exit and provide more useful real-time information to riders.”

Features of the new vehicles include 8-inch wider doorways, real-time digital displays, brighter and clearer lighting and signage, and are full compatibility with the advanced signaling system Communications-Based Train Control. Kawasaki and its subcontractors intend to employ around 470 U.S. workers in the effort of construction.

“Bold, aggressive initiatives like the Subway Action Plan and this acquisition of hundreds of new subway cars are critical in our multi-faceted approach to improving subway service,” NYC Transit President Andy Byford said. “I’m excited about the delivery of these cars and all of the other improvements that are underway as we work to stabilize and modernize the system.”

The new cars should be delivered for testing in 2020.