Pandemic delays delivery of new model subway cars

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NEW YORK — The next-generation subway cars were designed with social distancing in mind.

But the order of 535 new cars has been delayed. They’re known as the R211 and some will feature the “open gangway” design.

The order was originally placed in 2018 with a $1.75 billion price tag.

The manufacturer, Kawasaki, says the pandemic has delayed production. The first pilot train is expected to arrive in April.

That’s nine months behind schedule.

More trains help ease overcrowding and the newer model trains are needed for the new signal system, which allows NYC Transit to increase service.

The MTA board will see presentation on Thursday during the monthly board meeting. They had hoped to be testing the cars already.

The new subway cars are already in the budget for the previous capital plan. Future projects and upgrades are on hold because of budget issues caused by Covid-19.

The updated production schedule shows test trains anticipated to arrive in April 2022, which would be 13 months later than planned.

At Thursday’s MTA monthly board meeting, commissioners will also see presentations on orders for additional Long Island Rail Road trains and dozens of new buses, including more electric buses.

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