The R179 is a class of 440 new technology (NTT) New York City Subway cars being built by Bombardier Transportation for the B Division. The cars are expected to retire all remaining R32s and R42s.
Originally, the R179 order was supposed to contain 352 cars that were each 75 feet (23 m) long to replace the 75-foot long R44s. In the 2010–2014 Capital Program, the order was changed to 440 cars (298 replacement cars and 142 expansion cars) that were 60 feet (18 m) long, similar to the car lengths of the R143 and R160 orders, because of the R44s' earlier than planned retirement in place of the remaining 250 R32s and 48 R42s and to further expand the fleet for the BMT Eastern Division. Slightly less than half of the R179s are arranged in 184-foot-long (73 m) four-car sets.
The $750 million contract for the R179s' construction was awarded to Bombardier in 2012. At the time, the first R179 train was set to be delivered in December 2014 and the last train would be delivered in July 2017. Because of manufacturing defects during the construction process, the timeline for delivery was pushed back two years, and the cost of the contract rose to $925 million. The first R179 cars were delivered in September 2016, and the first test train of eight cars was placed in service in November 2017. The test train passed its 30-day in-service test in December 2017, which allowed the remaining R179s to be gradually placed in service. All cars are expected to be delivered by early 2019.
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.
n 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. In addition, because of the 2-year delay in producing the R179s, Bombardier was banned from bidding on the R211 contract on August 29, 2017.
Bombardier is building the cars in its Plattsburgh, New York, facility. The first four-car set of R179s (3010-3013) was delivered between December 21 and 22, 2016. The next four cars (3014-3017) were delivered in January 2017, forming a complete eight-car train for acceptance testing and evaluation.
As of 2017, seven other four-car R179s (3018-3045) have been delivered; an estimate also states that the order is not expected to be completed until at least December 2018 or March 2019, a month before the L train's East River tube shuts down. The rest of the four-car sets are expected to be delivered in 2018; the delivery of the five-car sets remains unknown at this time.
One set of R179s entered revenue service in November 20, 2017 on the M for an acceptance test after nearly a year of successful non-revenue service tests. However, during the first 2 weeks of the testing period, the MTA identified three major issues in the train, which have since been fixed.