The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that after 58 years of service, the R-32s nicknamed the Brightliners – among the oldest subway cars currently operational in the world – will retire from service. To commemorate the historic occasion, New York City Transit (NYCT) will run one R-32 train for a ceremonial last ride on Sunday, Jan. 9.
Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022 – Final Farewell to the R-32s
To commemorate its final run, the cars will run on the original debut route from 1964, on the line (the then-BMT Brighton Line).
• Departs Brighton Beach on the line at 10:00a.m., 12:30p.m., 3:00p.m., 5:30p.m. to 96th St, making express stops on the Brighton and Broadway Lines, via the Manhattan Bridge
• Departs 96th St Station on the line at 11:00a.m., 1:30p.m., 4:00p.m., 6:30p.m. to Brighton Beach, making express stops on the Brighton and Broadway Lines, via the Manhattan Bridge
About the R-32s
The R-32s were the first large fleet of mass-produced stainless-steel cars purchased by NYCT, comprising a total of 600 cars. Built in Philadelphia by the Budd Company, they were nicknamed the Brightliners because of their washboard-like stainless steel exteriors. The first revenue train ran on Sep. 14, 1964 on what is today‘s line, and in recent years, they were mainly found on the and lines.
With a state-of-the-art design for its time, the Brightliners quickly became a crowd favorite and continues to be a nostalgic favorite to many. The cars introduced design elements unlike any of its predecessors, but one that the MTA has received inspiration from for its newest train cars. Notably, the R-32 cars are the last subway car class in service to have a front window that passengers can look out of.
The cars were featured in multiple blockbuster films including Bridge of Spies (2015), Spiderman: Homecoming (2017) and Joker (2019). Many R-32s were retired in the late 2000s, when the R-160 cars began filtering into the subway system. A large number of these cars were sunk in the Atlantic Ocean as part of an artificial reef program.
-via Press Release