The R68 is a B Division New York City Subway car order consisting of 425 cars built by the Westinghouse Amrail Company, a joint venture of Westinghouse, ANF Industrie, Jeumont Schneider, and Alsthom. The cars were built in France from 1986 to 1988 and shipped through New York Harbor.

Description Edit

The R68 was the third R-type contract to be built with 75-foot (22.86 m) cars (the previous two being the R44 and R46), which have more room for sitting and standing passengers per car than the 60-foot (18.29 m) cars that were used previously and afterward. The cars, numbered #2500–2923, cost about $1 million each and they replaced many R10s dating from 1948, all remaining 6300-series R16s dating from 1954 to 1955, and some R27s and R30s dating from 1960 to 1962.

Initial ProblemsEdit

The R68's manufacturers suffered from significant system integration problems. Poor communication and coordination between the carbody builder (ANF Industrie) and the chassis assembler (Westinghouse) led to operational failures. Due to this, the R68s became known as a "lemon." During the beginning of service, the R68s had problems with malfunctioning doors, and the fleet had a high breakdown rate. Another problem occurred on November 11, 1986 when a train of R68s failed to climb the grade on the Manhattan Bridge. However, extensive work performed by the New York City Transit Authority provided solutions to the fleet's many problems.

The MTA was given a second option order of an additional 200 subway cars from Westinghouse-Amrail, but due to problems from the manufacturer, the MTA awarded it to Kawasaki. This order became the R68A.

Delivery and Revenue ServiceEdit

The delivery of the first R68s was made on February 4, 1986, but it failed to pass a sharp curve on the South Brooklyn Railway trackage on 38th Street in Brooklyn, and as a result the curve had to be rebuilt and the radius eased somewhat, and the delivery took place on February 26, 1986. The 30-day acceptance test for the R68s began on the Brighton Line on April 13, 1986. The R68s' first entry to revenue service was on June 20, 1986 on the Brooklyn half of the divided D route with the first fleet consisting of cars #2500-2507. There were two contracts to supply the R68 fleet. The primary order consisted of cars #2500-2724 while the R68-1 option order consisted of cars #2725-2924. The R68, therefore, became the first subway fleet to have an option order.

The R68s are currently based out of the Grand Concourse shop facility in the Bronx and the Coney Island Complex in Brooklyn; they are assigned to the B, D, G, and Franklin Avenue Shuttle. The R68s that operate on the Franklin Avenue Shuttle have some noticeable differences from the mainline cars. These cars have permanent side signs instead of rollsigns, remain set up as single units with OPTO switches added (unlike the rest of the R68s, which have been configured into sets of four), and car #2923 has three-piece side windows.

See also Edit