Magical New Subway Cars Arrive on N, Q, Maybe Other Lines

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The fancy, new FIND system in action.Photo: Office of Public Affairs, MTA NYC Transit


No, kids, you weren't just imagining that amazing subway ride you might have recently had on the N or Q train. ("It was like the fancy monorail in some German airport," gushed a New York editor who unexpectedly found herself on one such immaculate contraption.) Those two lines have been testing the new R160 car since last August, a New York City Transit spokesman confirmed to us, adding eight to ten a week. (The initial order was for 660; next week officials will push for another order of 620.)

The R160s feature extensive, curvy glass, more efficient A/C, wider-seeming aisles (though we admit we don't quite understand how this could happen unless the tunnels got wider, too, which they didn't), and the newly created and very dorkily cool "Flexible Information Notice Display," which, to quote the MTA, incorporates "a video screen, scrolling station names as the train progresses along the route and route maps that can be changed if a train switches routes." (It's the quieter ride of the new 2/3/4/5 trains with the interactive doodads of an OnStar-equipped SUV!) The new cars could go on any of the old IND and BMT lines; the MTA will first replace the oldest and shoddiest stock. Which means — dare to dream — there might even be sparkling new F trains. —Alec Appelbaum