Kawasaki, in cooperation with Alstom Transportation Inc., has been awarded a formal order from MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) to supply R160 stainless steel rolling stock for the city’s subway system. Kawasaki’s portion of the contract, worth some US$400 million, covers production of 260 of the total 660 cars. The contract includes options for further orders, which, if exercised, would bring total business with NYCT to about US$2.4 billion, for 1,700 subway cars, and Kawasaki would manufacture 40% (680 cars) of the 1,700 cars. According to the Capital Budget Plan, they are currently planning for 1,662 cars.
Kawasaki and Alstom organized a joint venture for project management, engineering and equipment purchasing to pursue the contract. The two companies will build and deliver the rolling stock through the joint venture. Kawasaki is not only manufacturing 260 cars for the base contract, but also will be the engineering leader for the whole project.
The R160 subway cars will be equipped with the latest control system, HVAC and public address system to guarantee the utmost safety and passenger comfort. The carbodies will be manufactured at the railcar plant in Lincoln, Nebraska. Bogie manufacturing, final assembly and tests will be conducted at the plant in Yonkers, New York. The prototype cars were delivered in July 2005, and all production cars for the base contract were delivered from 2006 to 2008.
With the exception of the first few cars delivered, R160B cars also feature thin metal plates around all the windows, except for those on the doors. The door window rims are glossier on the R160Bs than the R160A, similar to that found on the R142A and the R143 also built by Kawasaki.
The R160B cars are numbered 8713-9232 & 9803-9942. 8713-9142 currently run on the N (New York City Subway service), Q (New York City Subway service), and W (New York City Subway service) services, while 9143-9232 and 9803-9872 are currently running on the E (New York City Subway service) and F (New York City Subway service) services. The base order (8713-8972) and first option order (8973-9232) of 520 cars have been completed. Cars 9803-9882 of the second option order have been delivered. Cars 8713-9232 and 9803-9882 are in full-time service .
On November 10, 2008, the MTA exercised a second option order for an additional 140 R160Bs, numbered 9803-9942, opening up the possibility of a third option order of approximately 100 cars . The option 2 cars are to arrive by the end of 2009. 9803-9872 will feature Alstom traction equipment, while 9873-9942 will feature Siemens traction equipment Kawasaki has delivered 600 cars as of January 2010, of which 600 are in active revenue service.
One of the major changes and highlights of the new cars is the addition of the electronic "FIND" (Flexible Information and Notice Display) 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 in the R142, R142A/S, and R143 cars. This allows instant route or line changes with the correct information, which includes, but is not limited to, omitting of certain stops.
Each R160A and R160B car is being purchased for $1.3 million USD.
While the two models are almost identical to each other, there are some slight differences between the two cars.
- As mentioned earlier, 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 R160A's use of 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.
- Also, when in regenerative brake mode, Siemens R160's electric brakes cut out at 4 mph (where the traditional friction brakes kick in to bring the train to a full stop), while the Alstom R160's stay in regeneration mode all the way down to 1 mph, although the friction brakes also begin to kick in at 4 mph to assist in stopping.