The R160A is a class of 1,002 New York City Subway cars being built by Alstom Transportation. The R160A base order is part of a $961,687,121 contract funded in part by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The R160 is designed to operate on the New York City Transit Authority's lettered lines ("B" Division), and intended to replace older subway cars. Some of these older subway cars have been in service since 1964. The primary base order of the R160 class consists of 660 cars. The order was broken into R160A and R160B classes because the cars are being built by different manufacturers.
Alstom is assembling 1,002 R160A cars at its manufacturing plant in Hornell, New York. Kawasaki is assembling 660 R160B cars at its plant in Yonkers, New York.
The R160A base order of 400 cars (8313-8712) is further broken down into two different sets. R160A-1 sets are built in 4-car sets and are running on the BMT's Eastern Division (the J, L, M, and Z services) because the platform lengths where these services operate cannot accommodate longer trains. The R160A-2 sets are built in five-car sets.
As of December 2009, R160A-1s 8313-8652 are in service on the J, L, M and Z lines while R160A-2s 8653-8712 are on the N, Q and W lines. R160A-2s 9233-9682 are in service on the E and F lines. All of the base order (8313-8712) and the Option 1 Order (9233-9592) have been delivered and placed into service. Cars 9593-9722 of option 2 have been delivered.
Alstom has delivered 890 cars as of January 2010, of which 850 are in active revenue service.
On November 10, 2008, the MTA exercised option order two for an additional 242 R160As, which will be broken down into 32 cars arranged as 4-car sets (9943-9974) to replace the remaining R42s out of East New York Yard, and 210 cars arranged in 5-car sets (9593-9802). These cars are to arrive by the end of June 2010. This opens up the possibility of a third option order of approximately 130 cars.
One of the major changes and highlights of the new cars is the addition of the electronic "FIND" (Flexible Information and Notice Display), which includes an LCD screen displaying the route, route information and advertisements, and a tri-color (red, yellow, green) LED strip map which displays the next ten stations, plus five consecutive "further stations" 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, and replaces a plastic card which had a set route and stations printed on, which was used on the R142, R142A/S, and R143 cars. This allows for instant route or line changes with the correct information, which includes, but is not limited to, omitting of certain stops.
The R160A also feature unique door motors, which are not featured on the R160B. When the doors are opening and closing, they emit a whirring sound, similar to the M7 units found on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.
64 R160A-1's are being retrofitted with CBTC compatablility for operation on the L with the R143's. Cars 8313-8376 have been set aside for this retrofit. This was expected to be completed by August 2010. However, the completion date has been pushed pushed back to February 2011.
Each R160A and R160B car is being purchased for $1.28 million USD.
While the two models are almost identical to each other, there are some slight differences between the two cars.
- The R160B's car door window rims are glossier than the R160A's doors.
- The R160A doors emit a noticeable whirring sound when they open and close, while the R160B doors are usually silent. This sound is similar to the door motors on the LIRR M-7 Railcars.
- This is due to the fact that the R160A's use Vapor door motors while the R160B's use Fuji door motors.
- All R160A traction motors were constructed by Alstom while the R160Bs are split between Alstom traction motors and Siemens traction motors (once 660 order is complete, 330 Alstom cars and 330 Siemens cars). These two brands of traction motors have noticeably different sounds. Alstom cars (8713-8842, 9103-9232, 9803-9872) have stepped sounds while Siemens (8843-9102, 9873-9942) has a smoother, rolling sound. All three sets of cars (R160A-2, R160B Alstom, and R160B Siemens) are interoperable.
Early on in the order, Alstom encountered significant production problems since being awarded the base contract. In July 2005, Alstom missed its contractual deadline to deliver a 10-car test train, which arrived five months late in December, to the New York City Transit Authority. Alstom requested three additional months to deliver the test train. In addition, the Transit Authority rejected several car shells made in a plant in Lapa, Brazil, near São Paulo, after discovering welding defects. Since then, these problems have been fixed.
Recently however, there has been a ongoing strike at Renold since September 2009, which supplies the gearboxes for Alstom's propulsion units, so delivery is expected to slow down a bit until the strike ends.
Early on in the order, Alstom was also behind on its delivery schedule. Alstom was to have delivered 200 out of the 400 car base order by September 2007. However, by that month, Alstom had only delivered 80 cars. Under the base contract, Alstom agreed to pay damages of $800 a day for late deliveries of four-car trains, and $1,000 a day for five-car trains. However, the Transit Authority had not yet fined Alstom for its late deliveries and was negotiating with Alstom to accelerate their delivery schedule. The 200 cars were delivered 7 months late in early April. Since then, the problems have been solved. As of November 2009, Alstom has completed the base order of 400 cars and the first option order of 360 cars.