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R30 (New York City Subway car)

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MTA NYC R30 8506.JPG
R30 car 8506 on display at the New York Transit Museum.
MTA NYC Subway R30 8506 interior.JPG
Interior view of R30 car 8506.
In service1961-1993
ManufacturerSt. Louis Car Company
Entered service1961
Scrapped1991-1993, 2013
Number built320
Number in service(2 in work service)
Number preserved1
Number scrapped315
FormationMarried Pairs
Fleet numbers8250-8351, 8412-8567 (R30)
8352-8411 (R30A)
Capacity56 (seated)
Operator(s)New York City Subway
Car body constructionLAHT Carbon steel
Car length60 ft (18.29 m)
Width10 ft (3.05 m)
Height12.08 ft (3.68 m)
Platform height3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Doors8 sets of 45 inch wide side doors per car
Maximum speed55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight80,600 lb (36,560 kg)
Traction systemGeneral Electric (GE) 1257
TransmissionSCM propulsion system
AuxiliariesWH 1447 JR; GE 1257F1
Electric system(s)600 V DC Third rail
Current collection methodContact shoe
Braking system(s)WABCO ME42B SMEE
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The R30 was a New York City Subway car model built by St. Louis Car Company from 1961 to 1962. The cars were a "follow-up" or supplemental stock for the B Division's R27s and closely resembled them.


The R30s were coupled together as pairs;[1] these cars, along with their identical R27 sister cars, replaced the oldest BMT Standards (including all 50 of the trailer cars), the ME-1s purchased, and transferred from the SIRT, the MS Multi-section cars, and the IRT Lo-Vs that were modified to be used on B-division shuttles, and also permitted all borrowed IND equipment such as the R1/9's used on the #2 Fourth Avenue Local's extension to Astoria-Ditmars Blvd, and the R10 cars used on the #15 Jamaica Line to be returned to their respective lines on the IND division, and also helped to stabilized the BMT division to a certain extent until the R32 cars were delivered to the BMT lines in 1965.

There were three versions of the R30: Westinghouse (WH) XCA248-powered equipped cars (8412–8569), General Electric (GE) MCM-powered cars (8250-8351), and R30As (8352–8411), which were equipped with newer solid-state GE SCM controllers instead.


Builder's plate of the R30 car

The R30s were primarily BMT Eastern Division cars, although they would appear in the northern and southern divisions from time to time.

Like the R27s, the R30s wore several paint schemes over the course of their career; the cars were delivered in a dark olive green paint scheme, and many were repainted bright red in the late 1960s before receiving the MTA corporate silver and blue scheme in 1970.

The rebuilt R30s were finished in a fox red color and were called the BMT Redbirds; the unrebuilt R30s, which were Westinghouse cars numbered 8412-8569, were also painted red in the mid-1980s.


From 1985 until 1989, all GE-powered R30s and R30As were rebuilt and painted in the fox red paint scheme, similar to 27 select R27s and other Redbird trains in the subway system, as part of the Clean Car Program.


The WH-powered R30s, which were not rebuilt, were replaced by the R68As and the rebuilt R30s, which were transferred from the BMT Eastern Division; the last unrebuilt train ran on December 14, 1990.

The overhauled R30s and the R30As were planned to run until 1997. However, the cars were prematurely phased out starting in 1992 as the Transit Authority deemed them too difficult to upgrade with air-conditioning; installation would have been costly and would have added too much weight to the cars. Additionally, at the time, ridership was declining on the subway, which created an excessively large surplus of subway cars; the last of the overhauled R30s were retired from passenger service on June 25, 1993 on the C train. The Electric Railroaders Association then sponsored a Farewell to the R30 Fan Trip.

After retirement, most cars were sent to what is now Sims Metal Management's Newark facility to be scrapped and processed; some cars were retained as movie props, but many were ultimately scrapped as well. The new parts used for the rebuilding of the cars (including cam control groups and braking systems) were salvaged and re-installed on GE-powered R36WFs 9558-9769 between 1992-1993 to improve their reliability.

Some R30 cars were saved for various purposes throughout the New York City Subway system, including:

Other R30s that had been retained or preserved before February 2019 included:

  • 8265 and 8336 - used as school cars in Concourse Yard until 2009. They were replaced by R40A cars 4442-4443 (since scrapped), and reefed on April 17, 2010.
  • 8289-8290 - used as police training cars in Coney Island Yard until January 2008, when they were reefed.
  • 8337 - used as a training car at the Transit Tech High School until 2009, when it was replaced by R42 cars 4736-4737 and reefed later that year.
  • 8392 and 8401 - used as fire training cars in Coney Island Yard until July 2004. They were replaced by R110B cars 3004 and 3006, and reefed in July 2007.
  • 8394 - placed in an Asics store in Times Square in late October 2014. The car was previously used for filming scenes in the Mohave Desert. Part of the car was cut away to allow the car to fit in the building; the store was closed in mid-October 2015, but a temporary pop-up store opened at the site in late fall 2017.[2][3] The car was finally cut up in late January 2019.[citation needed]
  • 8424-8425 - used as school cars in Coney Island Yard until October 21, 2013, when they were trucked to New Jersey to be scrapped at Sims Metal Management
  • 8463 - used as a school car in Pitkin Yard until October 22, 2013, when it was also trucked to New Jersey to be scrapped at Sims Metal Management (along with R27 car 8145).

In popular culture

  • The following movie appearances depict the R30 cars in the Redbird paint scheme.
    • A train of R30s was featured in the film Ghost running as a J train.
    • In the 1993 film Carlito's Way with Al Pacino, R30s were used during the chase scene near the end of the film. Cars 8275, 8277, 8330, 8332, 8335, 8340, and 8351 were seen among others; these trains displayed the 1 Broadway Local rollsigns.
    • For the 1995 film Money Train, two 3-car sets of GE R30s were retrofitted with extra bright lights in the bottom of the car. They were 8294, 8298, 8394-8395, 8397, and 8408. A single four-car set also appeared in the movie; this four-car set included cars 8463, 8510, 8558, and 8569, which were filmed running on New York City Transit property.[4][5]
    • In the 1995 film Die Hard with a Vengeance, a set of GE R30s, which were the same cars use for Money Train (8294, 8298, 8394-8395, 8397, and 8408) was used for the scene when the rear car of a Brooklyn-bound 3 train is derailed at Wall Street station.
    • In the 1998 movie Godzilla, a partially destroyed R30 car, 8410, was used for an underground scene.
  • A simulated version of the R30 interior was featured in the opening credits of Season 2 of the television show Everybody Hates Chris.
  • Various R30s were shown in the 1982 made-for-TV film Dreams Don't Die, depicting the R30s in the MTA Silver/Blue livery and the beige and orange interiors filmed near Fresh Pond Road station.
  • A scene in the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever shows a train of R30As running on the RR train.

See also


  1. ^ "".
  2. ^ "First Dibs: Asics Installs NY Subway Car In Flagship Store - Celebrity Gossip and Entertainment News - VH1 Celebrity". VH1 Celebrity Gossip and Entertainment News.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "".
  5. ^ MTA NYCT: "Redbirds" in (Money Train). YouTube. January 13, 2012.
Further reading
  • Sansone, Gene. Evolution of New York City subways: An illustrated history of New York City's transit cars, 1867-1997. New York Transit Museum Press, New York, 1997 ISBN 978-0-9637492-8-4

External links