Kawasaki R211

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R211 subway cars
Metropolitan Transportation Authority 4060-a.jpg
Manufactured 2021 onward
Track gauge 4' 8 1/2"

The R211 is a type of subway car that is to be built by for the New York City Subway B Division. A total of 440 cars, classified as R211A, will replace the 75-foot long R46 subway cars and last of the R32 subway cars. The MTA will replace the R44 cars on the Staten Island Railway with 75 cars, classified as R211S. Two prototype sets of 10 cars each, classified as R211T, will be used to evaluate open gangways. The cars are scheduled to be delivered between 2020 and 2023.



A request for proposals (RFP) was issued on July 22, 2016 for up to 1,545 new B Division subway cars. The base order consists of 10 R211T (open gangway prototype) cars, 75 R11S (Staten Island) cars, and 200 R211A (NYCT) cars. There are two options: 740 NYCT cars and 280 to 520 NYCT cars. The contract is expected to be awarded in mid-2017.[1] Prior to the RFP, the MTA had considered a total of 1025 cars broken down as follows: a base order of 565 R211A cars and option of 375, 75 R211S cars, and 10 R211T cars.[2]

In August 2017, it was announced that Bombardier Transportation has been excluded from bidding on the R211 contract. This comes after major delays to the R179 contract, which they were awarded in 2012. CRRC Corporation and Bombardier had made a joint bid for the R211 contract under the name R211 Partners. Had they been awarded the contract, CRRC would have constructed an assembly and test facility in Fort Edward, New York.[3] Kawasaki Rail Car and Alstom Transport's joint venture ALSKAW, has indicated that they are bidding on the contract.[4]

The base order was later revised to 20 R211T cars, 75 R211S cars, and 440 R211A cars for a total of 535 cars. The increase was necessary to address urgent ridership demands. Another R211T set was ordered to carry out a more efficient evaluation. The two contractual options consist of 640 cars for Option 1 and 333 or 437 cars for Option 2 for an overall total of 1,612 cars.[5]

Following the elimination of R211 Partners from consideration, the MTA began negotiations with Kawasaki. After a thorough evaluation, the selection committee recommended entering into a contract with Kawasaki. In January 2018, the R211 contract was awarded to Kawasaki.[6]

In October 2022, the MTA Board exercised an option for 640 more R211 subway cars. They are expected to be delivered between February 2025 and December 2026. The new cars will replace the R46 cars on the A and C trains.

Production and delivery

The fabrication of the carbody structure and installation of interior equipment will take place at Kawasaki's Lincoln, Nebraska facility. Final assembly and function testing will be performed in Nebraska as well as Yonkers, New York. The R211 cars were scheduled to be delivered to between 2020 and 2023.[6]The first 10 R211A cars were scheduled to be delivered in July 2020, the first 20 R211T cars were scheduled to be delivered in May 2021, and the first 5 R211S cars were scheduled to be delivered in December 2021.

By the end of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had further delayed delivery of the first R211 cars. Delivery of the first R211A cars was now scheduled for July 2021 (12 months late). Production car deliveries were expected to begin in September 2022. The first R211T cars were now expected in June 2022 (13 months late), and the R211S cars were now expected in August 2022 (8 months late). All R211 cars are expected to be delivered by September 2024.[7]

The MTA took delivery of their first five R211A cars on July 1, 2021.[8] By June 2022, only one five-car set still had been delivered. Production delays were blamed on issues that included a labor shortage, at Kawasaki's Nebraska facility. This was disputed by Kawasaki who maintained the issues were supply chain related.[9]

The first R211T set was delivered in late 2022 and began testing in December 2022. The second R211T set was delivered in January 2023. The MTA unveiled one of the R211T sets at their Coney Island Yard in Brooklyn on February 3, 2023. The cars were still undergoing testing and were expected to be placed into revenue service in the last quarter of 2023.[10]

On March 10, 2023, the first train of R211A cars entered service. The train began it's first trip on the A line from Inwood–207th Street Station in the afternoon. This was the start of the 30-day in-service acceptance testing phase.

The first train of R211T open gangway cars entered service on the C line on February 1, 2024. The C line was selected because the train's design precludes a safety procedure currently required in close quarters following the application of emergency brakes. This would present a problem on express service.[11]


The design of the R211 was carried out in collaboration with Antenna Design beginning in 2012. Their previous work includes some of the MTA's other subway cars as well as the On the Go! Kiosk. The design concept prepared in 2013 showed a new striking exterior appearance. The car retains a bare stainless steel body with gloss black front, but with new orthogonal lines and strips of LED lighting. The interior of the cars has the same aesthetic of the current cars with off-white walls and light blue seats.

The mockup car displayed at 34 Street-Hudson Yards Station.

Open gangways had been something the MTA was considering early in the design phase. In January 2016, the MTA announced that it will evaluate a train composed of ten cars with open-gangways. Known as the R211T, it is expected that this feature will allow for an increase in capacity and allow freer movement of passengers.

In July 2016, the MTA introduced an updated R211 design. The front face of the car is now deep blue instead of black. And along the side, the car has blue and gold graphics. These follow the implementation of a new blue and gold livery on the system's buses. The inside of the car also shares the new blue and gold aesthetic. Most seats are blue, while tip-up seats for wheelchairs and perch seats are in gold. The floor was gold with marking for wheelchair positions and boarding and alighting in blue. New amenities include wifi, USB charging ports, full color digital customer information displays, digital advertisements, illuminated door opening alerts, and CCTV. The doors on the R211 be 58 inches wide, eight inches wider than current cars. The MTA estimate that this will reduce a train’s station dwell time by 32%.[12]

In 2017, a full-scale mockup of the R211 was constructed in the W. 34th St.-Hudson Yards Station. The display shows the first half of the car and an end section with open gangway. The blue and gold graphics extend from the bottom of the car to the roof, differing from the renders displayed the year prior. Inside, the colour scheme of the floor was reversed and stanchions are in yellow. The public has the opportunity to view the mockup from November 30 to December 6 on weekdays from 11am to 7pm and on weekends from 10am to 5pm.[13]

Construction of a full-car mockup car commenced in July 2018, with a mockup review held in April 2019.[14]

The production R211A cars are very similar to the mockup displayed in 2017. They have a blue and gold livery and blue and gold interior colour scheme. Unlike the mockup, the stanchions are bare metal instead of yellow. The lights around the door pockets are also different. Instead of an uninterrupted line of light from floor to top of the door, the line of lights begin from the bottom window line and is split into six segments. The side windows are noticable smaller on the production cars.


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. Cooper, Robin K. New York subway contract part of Chinese firm's push to double international sales. 19 December 2016. Albany Business Review.
  4. Kawasaki vying for $3.2 billion New York subway order. 31 August 2017. Reuters.
  5. [3]
  6. 6.0 6.1 New York City Transit to Award Contract for New Generation Subway Cars. Press release. 27 January 2018. Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
  7. Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting. June 2021.
  8. "MTA announces first of new R211 subway cars arrive for testing." 02 July 2021. Mass Transit Magazine.
  9. Worrell, Carolina. "NYMTA: Labor Problems at Kawasaki Nebraska Plant Delaying Deliveries (UPDATED June 30)." Railway Age, 30 June 2022.
  10. "MTA Unveils New R211 Subway Cars". Press release. New York City Transit, 03 February 2023.
  11. "New York open-gangway subway cars make debut." 02 February 2024, Trains.
  12. Vient, Ben. Next-generation New York MTA R-211 cars previewed. 18 July 2016. Railway Age.
  13. New Technology R211 Cars. Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
  14. Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting - January 2019. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 22 January 2019.