The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that after 58 years of service, the R-32s nicknamed the Brightliners – among the oldest subway cars to operate in the world – will officially retire from service. To commemorate the historic occasion of the train’s retirement and its unique car design, New York City Transit (NYCT) will be placing one R-32 train into service to operate on four consecutive Sundays in December and early January.
Sundays, Dec. 19 and 26; and Jan. 2, 2022 R-32 Retirement Runs
- Departs 2nd Av Station on the F line at 10:00a.m., 12:00p.m., 2:00p.m., and 4:00p.m., making all express stops to 145th St Station on the D line
- Departs 145th St Station on the D line at 11:00a.m., 1:00p.m., 3:00p.m., and 5:00p.m., making all express stops to the 2nd Ave Station on the F line
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 Q line (the then-BMT Brighton Line).
- Departs Brighton Beach on the line at 10:00a.m., 12:30pm, 3:00p.m., 5:30pm to 96th St, making express stops on the Brighton and Broadway Q 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 Q 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 Q line, and in recent years, they were mainly found on the A,C, J and Z 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 portion of these cars were sunk in the Atlantic Ocean as part of an artificial reef program.
–via Press Release