The R179 is a class of at least 316 new technology (NTT) New York City Subway cars being built by Bombardier Transportation for the B Division.
Originally, the R179 order was supposed to contain 440 cars that were each 60 feet (18 m) long. The R179s were all supposed to be in 300-foot-long (91 m) five-car sets, because the R179s would be replacing the 75-foot-long R44s, which were arranged in 300-foot-long four-car sets. In the 2010–2014 Capital Program, the order was shorten down to 298 cars because they would now instead replace the remaining R32s (250 cars) and R42s (48 cars) following the R44s' earlier than planned retirement. A minority of the R179s were to be arranged in 240-foot-long (73 m) four-car sets.
The $599 million contract for the R179s' construction was awarded to Bombardier in 2011. At the time, the first R179 train was set to be delivered in December 2013 and the last train would be delivered in January 2016. Because of manufacturing defects during the construction process, the timeline for delivery was pushed back three years, and the cost of the contract rose to $735 million. The first R179 cars were delivered in September 2016, and the first test train of eight cars was placed in service in November 2017. The test train passed its 30-day in-service test in December 2017, which allowed the remaining R179s to be gradually placed in service. All cars were expected to be delivered by early 2019. However, starting in December 2018, several cars had to be withdrawn from service due to defects, and in January 2019, deliveries were temporarily halted while these defects were being fixed.
In January 2018, eighteen more cars were added to the order as part of a settlement so that there would be 49 four-car sets instead of the original 12 due to growing ridership on the BMT Eastern Division's L and M services and the now-cancelled full-time shutdown of the L train's East River tube, which would have necessitated an increase in G and M service in terms of headway. The remaining R32s and R42s will be replaced by the upcoming R211 order following these circumstances.
The R179 cars are equipped with updated control systems, HVAC and public address systems. They are visually very similar to the R160s, but the two car types are not interoperable with each other due to electrical incompatibilities between them.
The R179s, like the R160s, employ an advanced alternative to electronic strip maps called the "Flexible Information and Notice Display" ("FIND"), which are manufactured by Axion Technologies Ltd. This includes an LCD screen displaying the route, route information, and advertisements, as well as a dynamic red, yellow, and green LED strip map that displays the next ten stations, plus five consecutive "further stops" to riders. There are three of these in every car. The display updates the stations at every stop, also giving the number of stops to each station listed. This allows for instant route or line changes with the correct information, which includes, but is not limited to, omitting certain stops (displayed as "Will not stop" in red). However, the LCD displays on the R179s that show the route are slightly larger than those on the R160s. Additionally, if the FIND has gone blank, the R179 FIND displays "Route change: this map is not in use", as opposed to the R160 FIND, which displays "Listen to train crew for announcement." Communication-based train control (CBTC) equipment will be installed in all R179s that are already on MTA property.
The R179s utilize the older door closing chimes used on the R142s and R142As, as opposed to the newer door chimes used on the R143s, R160s and R188s.
The R179s are equipped with looped stanchions in the interiors of trains to provide passengers on crowded trains with a greater amount of pole surface area to grab on to. This feature was previously tested on R160A set 9798-9802 and has been implemented on other trains as a part of a plan to fix the subway's 2017 state of emergency.
The R179s utilize a newer version of HVAC systems, which are noticeably quieter on the outside of the train, reducing external noise. Previous generations of New Technology Trains (R143, R160, etc.) have units that are known to produce excess noise.
The R179 contract originally consisted of 440 60-foot-long (18 m) cars (340 for the New York City Subway and 80 for the Staten Island Railway) to replace the R44 fleet of 352 75-foot-long (23 m) cars (288 in the New York City Subway and 64 in the Staten Island Railway). Later in the 2010-2014 Capital Program, the contract was changed and shorten down to 298 cars (250 arranged in five-car sets and 48 arranged in four-car sets) to replace the remaining R32s (250 cars) and R42s (48 cars), which were retained because of the R44s' earlier than planned retirement. In January 2018, the order was changed again; this time, 196 cars are now arranged in four-car sets and 120 arranged in five-car sets because of ongoing delays in the delivery of the new cars and to increase service on the L and M trains of the BMT Eastern Division due to growing ridership. The remaining R32s and R42s will now instead be replaced by the upcoming R211 order.
The official RFP was issued on June 3, 2010. Bids were due by the following August 13. In April 2011, the contract was awarded to Bombardier Transportation for $599 million. The joint venture Alskaw Inc., made up of the companies Kawasaki and Alstom, which built the R160A/B cars, protested the award of the contract to Bombardier immediately after the MTA Board approved the contract. However, the protest was denied, and Bombardier signed the contract on July 2011.
A 2011 news report from the New York Daily News indicated that a high-ranking MTA official had been in talks with car builder Bombardier Transportation, Inc. for a job. This prompted an ethics investigation, but has since been resolved.
The R179s were originally intended to replace all the R44s, but due to structural integrity issues found on New York City Transit's R44s in late 2009, those cars' retirement was facilitated by an option order of R160s. Additionally, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority later dropped the plan to order R179s for the Staten Island Railway. The R179s were then intended to retire all remaining R32s and R42s. However, they are now anticipated to be retired by the upcoming R211 order in the 2020s due to numerous delays in the R179 delivery. In addition, the order was changed, with a majority of the R179s being arranged in four-car sets instead of five-car sets as originally planned to increase service on the L and M trains because of growing ridership on those routes.
In a timeline set in October 2011, the first test train was scheduled to arrive on December 22, 2013, the first production unit was scheduled to arrive on July 27, 2014, and the entire order was to be completed on January 30, 2016. After some delays in starting production, delivery of the first 10-car test train was now scheduled for the third quarter of 2013, though delivery of the production cars was still scheduled to begin on July 2014 and continue through January 2016. However, as NYCTA's and Bombardier's inspectors found cracks due to welding issues in the prototype train's chassis, the entire lot was rejected, and the delivery schedule was pushed back by three years, with the delivery of the five-car sets delayed indefinitely for unknown reasons.
The delays in delivery have increased the cost of the cars from $599 million to $735 million; these additional costs add to the costs required to maintain older cars. In addition, because of the 3-year delay in producing the R179s, Bombardier was banned from bidding on the R211 contract, which would replace other older B Division rolling stock.
Bombardier is building the cars in its Plattsburgh, New York, facility. The first four-car set of R179s (3050-3053) was delivered between December 21 and 22, 2016. The next four cars (3054-3057) were delivered in January 2017, forming a complete eight-car train for acceptance testing and evaluation.
A delivery plan from January 2017 anticipated a rate of one car per day starting from November 2017, in an effort to have all cars on property by July 2018. However, additional delays have occurred, and by October 2018, deliveries were not expected to be completed until March 2019. Due to continuing delays in the production of the R179s, the order was increased by 18 additional B-cars on January 22, 2018 after a settlement was reached between New York City Transit and Bombardier. The order then consisted of 316 cars (120 arranged in 5-car sets and 196 arranged in 4-car sets).
The four-car R179 sets were placed into revenue service on the M on November 19, 2017 for in-service acceptance testing after slightly over a year of successful non-revenue service tests. During the first two weeks of the testing period, the MTA identified three major issues in the train, which have since been fixed. After successful completion, the four-car R179 sets officially entered revenue service on December 27, 2017, a month later than originally planned.
By the start of December 2018, some trains had to be taken out of service due to manufacturing defects and HVAC software bugs. The next month, the MTA revealed that 152 cars had been delivered, of which 112 (comprising fourteen 8-car trains) had been placed in service. In early January 2019, NYCTA President Andy Byford ordered more cars to be removed from passenger service and the temporary suspension of the delivery of further cars until Bombardier corrected all defects found within them. The issues have since been resolved, and deliveries recommenced in early February 2019.