The MTA Is Going to Try Out New Subway Cars That Are 5 Times Longer Than Current Ones

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Step into the future.

There’s only so much the MTA can do to expand its subway capacity without actually blasting new lines. Mostly, we go to work with the subway we have, rather than the subway we want. But there’s one innovation, already in use in Paris and London, that adds capacity without requiring much of an infrastructure change: the “open gangway” train. And the MTA is finally getting onboard with it, reports the Daily News.

Briefly, the design joins all of the train cars into a continuous flexible snake, the way sections of an articulated bus are. Passengers can walk up and down between the sections freely. No more rattling gates and sliding doors between cars; in fact, there will pretty much no longer be a between-cars. (In the prototype, at least, the train will be built in two sections, each five cars long.) The plan is to order one ten-car (or really two-car) train now, with an eye toward a giant contract for 940 new cars in 2017.

Amid many urgent subway needs that can’t or won’t get done soon, this is a comparatively simple change, one that can be floated in organically along with the next-generation order of trains. There is nothing bad to say about the new cars, except that they are long … overdue.