Saturday, December 27, 2014

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City's Oldest Subway Cars Move Outdoors for Preservation

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TWC News: City's Oldest C Train Cars Swapped to Service J Line for Summer
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Riders on the C and J lines may have noticed some changes in recent days to how they get around in a move to protect subway cars that have been in service since the 1960s. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

It's out with the old and in with the cold on the C.

The line's distinctive subway cars—the oldest in the fleet—are heading outdoors to the J line for the summer.

In return, riders on the entirely underground C line get to ride on much newer cars with stronger air conditioning and other more modern trappings.

"It's cleaner, you can hear the announcements better, the AC is better, it's much better than the old C train, believe that," says one rider.

Instead of relying on subway cars that have been around half a century, C train riders say they're enjoying cooler rides during the sweatiest months of the year.

"I've lived in this neighborhood for six years and I got really used to the old cars. But it's sort of nice to feel like maybe they're paying more attention to the C line and we're getting the nice new cars," another rider says.

Only for so long, though.

The summer swap allows the cars with ribbed stainless steel sides to spend more time on elevated structures where their air-conditioning units aren't worked as hard as they are underground, where it's typically hotter.

"They require a little TLC," says Metropolitan Transportation Authority Kevin Ortiz.

There are 222 of the so-called "Bright-liners" still in service and they're not going anywhere soon.

You might not be able to make out the announcements on the old C trains, and they might not be the coolest cars, but the MTA does consider them among the workhorses of its fleet.

Their earliest retirement date? 2017.

"The fact that they'll be in service past 50 years when we finally do retire them when the R-179s come in is a testament to their durability," Ortiz says.

Not that riders on the J are thrilled to see the boxy old subway cars.

"It's not good. We get accustomed to the new trains. It's like we're going back in time," says one J train rider.

"I grew up on the C line and we had those older trains for a while, and it's pretty cool to not have them. Let the J line deal with them for a while."

Just like summer, it's not forever.

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