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6 Lexington Ave

Rounded vs Angular cars

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I don't know if this has been discussed before, or even mentioned, but it seems to me that there are 2 main "families" of car designs in the NYC Subway: the first is angular cars like the R32, the R29 and most of the older car designs and the second family is that of rounded cars like the R62/A, R68 etc. I don't know if you get what I'm saying, but it seems to me that with the latest car designs such as the R142/A or the R160 we are returning to the more angular family.. Do you think that there's a basis for my observation? It has to do with the roof mainly..

Edited by 6 Lexington Ave

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With the R142's and R142A's in 2000, there was a definite return to a pre-1968 look of subway cars (note the return to small train indicator in the top/middle of the car as opposed to the large train indicator on the left side). The R142/142A's were the first subway cars delivered in over 20 years (since the R68A's in 1988 excluding the experimental R110's) and represented a change in design that had evolved from the R40's introduced in 1968. Once the slat-design R40 was deemed impractical and unsafe, the R40M's were introduced and subsequent cars through the R68A's had similar styling with the R44's and up taking that to a further extreme with 75 foot cars and L- shaped seating and brighter colors. Commuter cars M1-M6 introduced from 1969 through 1993 had similar designs to the R40-R68's. With the M7's introduced in 2002, there was a radical change in design. There was not much difference in subway cars delivered from 1950 through 1963 (redbirds and greenbirds). The R32's and R38's represented a new design in that they were stainless steel with larger windows but still maintained a similar shape to earlier cars. I suspect the current design will remain for R179's and most likely R211's (which will replace R46's later this decade). Beyond that, we will have to see what design changes are in store.

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With the R142's and R142A's in 2000, there was a definite return to a pre-1968 look of subway cars (note the return to small train indicator in the top/middle of the car as opposed to the large train indicator on the left side). The R142/142A's were the first subway cars delivered in over 20 years (since the R68A's in 1988 excluding the experimental R110's) and represented a change in design that had evolved from the R40's introduced in 1968. Once the slat-design R40 was deemed impractical and unsafe, the R40M's were introduced and subsequent cars through the R68A's had similar styling with the R44's and up taking that to a further extreme with 75 foot cars and L- shaped seating and brighter colors. Commuter cars M1-M6 introduced from 1969 through 1993 had similar designs to the R40-R68's. With the M7's introduced in 2002, there was a radical change in design. There was not much difference in subway cars delivered from 1950 through 1963 (redbirds and greenbirds). The R32's and R38's represented a new design in that they were stainless steel with larger windows but still maintained a similar shape to earlier cars. I suspect the current design will remain for R179's and most likely R211's (which will replace R46's later this decade). Beyond that, we will have to see what design changes are in store.

Was there a reason for the return to the pre-1968 look?

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The rounded design was probably aerodynamically better, like what the slant design was supposed to accomplish to a greater extent. Not sure why they went back to completely flat, now. Looks like it's an easier to build design, where you only have a front wall, instead of a whole "bonnet".

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The rounded design was probably aerodynamically better, like what the slant design was supposed to accomplish to a greater extent. Not sure why they went back to completely flat, now. Looks like it's an easier to build design, where you only have a front wall, instead of a whole "bonnet".

 

I think, though, that even if the rounded design is aerodynamically better it's also heavier since it looks bulkier.

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The rounded design was probably aerodynamically better, like what the slant design was supposed to accomplish to a greater extent. Not sure why they went back to completely flat, now. Looks like it's an easier to build design, where you only have a front wall, instead of a whole "bonnet".

 

If the flat design is aerodynamically poorer, doesn't that mean that it will push more air through the tunnels? I read somewhere (I think this very board several years ago) that transit wants its trains to push as much air through the tunnels as they can.

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If the flat design is aerodynamically poorer, doesn't that mean that it will push more air through the tunnels? I read somewhere (I think this very board several years ago) that transit wants its trains to push as much air through the tunnels as they can.

 

It takes more energy to push a greater amount of air. Even the most aerodynamic train pushes a very large quantity of air through the tunnels, since the tunnels are so relatively small compared to the size of the cars (i.e. there is not all that much empty space between the train and tunnel walls in many cases)

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Just a minor nit, the L-shaped seating on subway cars predates by decades the 75-foot cars. The L-shaped seating can be found on the earliest IND R-1 subway cars of the 1930's, and among the earliest of the BRT/BMT subway cars - all of which were in the 60-foot and 67-foot length of car.

 

Mike

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If the flat design is aerodynamically poorer, doesn't that mean that it will push more air through the tunnels? I read somewhere (I think this very board several years ago) that transit wants its trains to push as much air through the tunnels as they can.

 

It takes more energy to push a greater amount of air. Even the most aerodynamic train pushes a very large quantity of air through the tunnels, since the tunnels are so relatively small compared to the size of the cars (i.e. there is not all that much empty space between the train and tunnel walls in many cases)

Maybe there's something to that, then.

Pushing more air through the tunnel might be a safety feature (to warn people on the tracks), and then they don't really want speed anymore, so the aerodynamics have been sidelined. Don't know how much of a difference the little rounding really makes, though.

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The latest R160's are really more alike than different from the earliest R-1's.

The size, door arrangement, etc. The appearances are radically different, of course, but the basic time-proven concept of the R-1's was really outstanding, compared to the IRT and BMT cars that predated them.

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