Staten Island Railway Unveils First New Subway Cars in More than 50 Years


Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has rolled out five of the standard R211 subway cars in the first step in phasing these vehicles into service on the Staten Island Railway in early 2024. The cars are part of a 535-car order that includes 440 R211A standard cars, 75 Staten Island Railway cars and 20 cars with the open gangway feature.

The new R211 cars are a critical part of the MTA’s ongoing modernization efforts. They feature 58-inch-wide door openings, which are eight inches wider than the standard openings on existing cars and designed to speed up boarding and reduce the amount of time trains sit in stations. The vehicles also include security cameras, additional accessible seating, digital displays that will provide more detailed station-specific information and brighter lighting and signage, among other features.

“Wider doors and additional accessible seating will drastically improve the experience for all riders, particularly those with disabilities, parents with strollers and seniors,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo. “I’m excited for riders on Staten Island to experience a more comfortable and convenient ride.”

The current class of cars on the Staten Island Railway are R44s, which joined the Staten Island Railway in 1973 after debuting on the subway the previous year.

“For the first time in 50 years, brand new, faster, cleaner and safer trains are coming to Staten Island,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. “I look forward to delivering Staten Island Railway customers a totally modernized fleet as we introduce more new cars in the future.”

In October 2022, the MTA board approved an order of an additional 640 standard R211 cars, bringing the total number of new cars to 1,080 within the next two years. This second set of cars is expected to be delivered in early 2025 and all Staten Island Railway cars are expected to arrive by the end of 2024.