The R179 is a class of 440 New Technology Train subway cars built by Bombardier Transportation for the New York City Subway's B Division.
The R179s are numbered 3010–3449. Cars 3010-3089 are arranged as four-car sets, while cars 3090-3424 are arranged as five-car sets.
The R179 cars are equipped with updated control systems, HVAC and public address systems. They are visually very similar to the R160s, but the two car types are not interoperable with each other due to electrical incompatibilities between them.
The R179s, like the R160s, employ an advanced alternative to electronic strip maps, called the "Flexible Information and Notice Display," or "FIND." They are manufactured by Panasonic. This includes an LCD screen displaying the route, route information, and advertisements, as well as a dynamic red, yellow, and green LED strip map that displays the next ten stations, plus five consecutive "further stops" to riders. There are three of these in every car. The display updates the stations at every stop, also giving the number of stops to each station listed. This allows for instant route or line changes with the correct information, which includes, but is not limited to, omitting certain stops (displayed as "Will not stop" in red). The LCD displays where the route is displayed are slightly larger than those on the R160s. If the FIND has gone blank, the R179 FIND displays "Route change: this map is not in use", as opposed to the R160 FIND, which displays "Listen to train crew for announcement."
The R179s include provisions for the retrofit of CBTC equipment. The R179s will be equipped with looped stanchions in the interiors of trains, so as to provide passengers on crowded trains with a greater amount of pole surface area to grab on to.
The R179 contract originally consisted of 352 75-foot-long (23 m) cars (288 for the New York City Subway and 64 for the Staten Island Railway).
The official RFP was issued on June 3, 2010. Bids were due by the following August 13, and in April 2011 the contract was expected to be awarded for $637.8 million. However, there were delays with negotiation problems, and the projected cost went up to $748 million in October 2011.
In early 2011, the order was increased to 440 cars (360 arranged in 5-car sets and the remaining 80 arranged in 4-car sets), with 288 cars for replacement and 152 for fleet expansion.
The contract was finally awarded on March 24, 2012, when it was awarded to Bombardier Transportation for $699 million, below the projected cost. The joint venture Alskaw Inc., made up of the companies Kawasaki and Alstom, which built the R160A/B cars, protested the award of the contract to Bombardier immediately after the MTA Board approved the contract. However, the protest was denied, and the contract was signed by the company on June 4, 2012.
A 2012 news report from the New York Daily News indicated that a high-ranking MTA official had been in talks with car builder Bombardier Transportation, Inc. for a job. This prompted an ethics investigation, but has since been resolved.
The R179s were originally intended to replace all of the R44s, but due to structural integrity issues found on New York City Transit's R44s in early 2010, those cars' retirement was facilitated by an option order of R160s. Coincidentally, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority dropped the plan to order R179s for the Staten Island Railway. The R179s were then intended to retire all remaining R32s (240 cars) and R42s (48 cars). However, as of July 2015, no retirement date has been set at the moment partly due to ongoing delays in the delivery of the cars but also due to increased revenue service fleet requirements necessitated by the upcoming 2019 shutdown of the L train's East River tube for Hurricane Sandy-related repairs. In addition, the MTA plans to deliver most, if not all, R179s before the L train's East River tube shuts down in 2019.
In a timeline set in October 2012, the first test train was scheduled to arrive on December 22, 2014, the first production unit was scheduled to arrive on July 27, 2015, and the entire order was to be completed on January 30, 2017. After some delays in starting production, a non-operational mockup was built in late November 2013. Delivery of the first 10-car test train was now scheduled for the third quarter of 2014, though delivery of the production cars was still scheduled to begin July 2015 and continue through January 2017. However, as NYCTA's and Bombardier's inspectors found cracks due to welding issues in the prototype train's chassis, the entire lot was rejected, and the delivery schedule was pushed back by two years. The delays in delivery have increased the cost of the cars from $599 million to $735 million; these additional costs add to the costs required to maintain older cars.