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Earle Baldwin

Wooden Railway New York City R32 Subway Car

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[float=right]27958.jpg[/float]In 1963, the New York City Transit Authority entered into a contract with the the Budd Company, a well established builder of stainless steel passenger equipment, for delivery of 600 new BMT/IND cars. Classed R32/R32A, this car was historic as it represented the TA's initial foray into stainless steel equipment. The R32 order was divided into two sub contracts. The R32 was paid for out of the city's capital budget while the R32A was procured through the proceeds of a revenue bond. There also were some differences in the lighting packages between the two groups but it was essentially the same car. Delivered in 1964 and 1965, the cars were initially placed in service on the Brighton and Sea Beach Lines. Their operating territory was later expanded to include numerous other routes as well. Because their stainless steel construction was in such stark contrast to anything which had operated on the system previously, the cars earned the nickname "Brightliners."

 

A well exceuted replica of the R32 has been offered by Whittle Shortline Railroad, manufacturer of the previously reviewed NJ Transit F40PH diesel locomotive. The car's body is made of wood and is correctly contoured to match the lines of the prototype. The decoration is superb. The painting process has accurately captured the appearance of stainless steel, a process which has long proven challenging for model makers. The doors are colored blue to reflect an earlier paint scheme.

 

The model's true beauty lies in the small details. The R32's window package is accurately applied. End gates are painted in the appropriate location. The roof features venting in the correct spots and the full array of end lights and route signage has been included. The car carries an accurate R32 number of 3351 and is labeled for the Q Train operating to Brighton Beach. The circular TA herald is applied to the car's sides. Even the undercarriage features appropriate simulated detailing. The model rides on a pair of four wheel plastic trucks equipped with universal magnetic couplers which mate with other wooden railway equipment.

 

While certainly appropriate for youngsters already immersed in the wonderful world of wooden railways and the well known products of Brio and Thomas and Friends, the realistically detailed equipment offered by Whittle has proven popular with adult hobbyists and it is believed more of this equipment is actually sold as collectibles as opposed to those given to children. While I purchased some Whittle equipment for my son's wooden railway empire during his initial "modeling" activities, I must admit I purchased the R32 and the previously reviewed NJT F40 for myself!:)

 

The R32 is priced at $24.95 and was in stock, albeit in limited numbers, at the New York Transit Museum Store in Grand Central Terminal when I visited the Friday before Christmas. The model would make a nice addition the collection of any subway enthusiast.

 

Happy railroading,

 

Earle

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