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ICYMI: Governor Hochul Launches First Open Gangway Train into Service and Announces 1,000 Subway Cars Now Have Cameras

Updated Feb 1, 2024 1:45 p.m.
R211T Open Gangways

R211T Features Security Cameras Throughout the Train, Wider Doors, Digital Screens in Every Car, and Additional Accessibility Features 

First Train to Feature Open Gangway Cars to Operate in the United States in Modern Era Will Run on the C Line 

View B-Roll of Inaugural R211T Train Ride

View Video of News Conference

View Photos from Event


Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the rollout of R211T open gangway subway cars on the  line, running between Washington Heights and East New York, and marked significant progress towards increasing cameras throughout the system, with 1,000 subway cars now equipped with cameras. The unveiling was followed by an inaugural ride with Governor Hochul, Metropolitan Transportation Authority leadership, and elected officials, starting at the 168 St  station in Washington Heights, which serves as the  line’s terminal. 

“The subway is the lifeblood of New York City and we’re making record investment so it’s safe, efficient and successful,” Governor Hochul said. “New train cars, additional security cameras and more reliable service will make the subway system even better for decades to come.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, “Our subways are New York City’s backbone — and thanks to our partnership with Governor Hochul and the MTA, our backbone is stronger than ever. More New Yorkers are riding our subways, and we’re back to pre-pandemic ridership peaks. Make no mistake: we have more work to do. But these new trains — and the 1,000 subway cars we’ve already installed cameras in — are a great next step towards creating a safer, smoother subway experience for all New Yorkers.”

The inaugural ride marks the first time an open gangway train has operated in the modern history of subways in the United States. The Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT), one of three operating authorities that were precursors to the amalgamated New York City Transit, ran three-car open gangway segments from 1925 to 1965. 

The open gangway R211T pilot cars are part of a larger order of R211A conventional 60-foot cars, funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which includes funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. 

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “The average age of MTA subway cars is 25 years old and our oldest subway car, the R46, is nearly 50 years old. As the 20-year Needs Assessment pointed out, the MTA needs to acquire thousands of cars, they need to be the most innovative designs and be eligible for federal funding. This pilot program will teach us if the open gangway design works for New Yorkers.” 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “Millions of residents and visitors rely on New York City subways to get around every day, that’s why it’s vital that subway cars are both safe and reliable. I’m thrilled to see these modernization efforts that will greatly improve the user experience for countless MTA riders. I’m proud to have worked to bring these improvements to the New York City subway system and will continue to fight to make public transportation safer and more reliable for all.”

New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said, "Public transit is the lifeblood of our city, and these new and improved subway cars will help even more New Yorkers access the subway and get to their destinations safer. It is critical that we continue to invest in our public transit system and make necessary safety improvements, like connected cars, that communities have long-demanded. It's time we update our subways and bring them into the present so that we can match the scale of our need. I thank Governor Hochul and all stakeholders for their working on launching this new fleet."

New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers said, “I applaud Governor Hochul's efforts to improve safety for subway riders across NYC. These cameras will provide an extra level of protection for riders and as Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I believe safety and access on public transportation is critically important, and these cameras will help provide an important piece of mind for commuters citywide.”

NYC Transit President Richard Davey said, “The R211 fleet ties in perfectly with the faster, cleaner, safer service mantra we have at New York City Transit. These cars will look familiar from the outside, however, inside is a first. Wider doors help riders get on the train faster, and the hope is these open gangway cars make it easier than ever to find a seat.” 

MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo said, “The R211A shifted the riding experience for riders with a disability, providing wider doors as well as enhanced accessible seating options. The open gangway concept goes one step further, allowing riders using a wheelchair or traveling with a stroller to for the first time in modern times be able to navigate between train cars without having to get off.” 

R211 subway cars are a critical part of the MTA's ongoing modernization efforts systemwide. The cars include pre-installed security cameras in each car adding to the 1,000 subway cars that already have in-car cameras throughout the system. The rest of the NYC Transit fleet is scheduled to have in-car camera installations completed by January 2025. The in-car installations add on to the already expansive camera network in the subway system. In addition to 1,000 subway car cameras, the MTA has approximately 15,000 cameras across all 472 stations.

The R211 cars feature 58-inch-wide door openings that are eight inches wider than standard door openings on the existing car fleet, which are designed to speed up boarding and reduce the amount of time trains sit in stations. In addition to wider doors, these cars provide additional accessible seating, digital displays that will provide more detailed station-specific information, and brighter lighting and signage, among other features that improve the customer experience. 

In October 2023 the Authority announced R211S cars will be rolled out on the Staten Island Railway (SIR) starting this year. NYC Transit received 20 open gangway cars as part of a much larger order of R211A cars.