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Sorry, SIR: No new cars for Staten Island Railway

By Maura Yates

April 30, 2010, 8:06AM

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The aging train cars of the Staten Island Railway fleet will be sticking around longer than expected, as a promised order of brand-new trains has been dropped from the MTA's five-year capital program.

Though the new rail cars won't be coming, the plan, approved earlier this week, does include a bit of good news: The new $23.3 million Arthur Kill station is still on the list, albeit not until 2012. Only the first two years of the plan are funded so far, as the MTA struggles to rein in its deficit.

4-30 News PhotosThe Staten Island Railway's cars entered service in 1973, and will have to last at least five more years.

The Railway's cars, which entered service in 1973, have a lifespan of about 40 years.

"The rolling stock of the [Railway] might find itself more suited for an antique railroad museum in the Midwest, rather than a modern commuter railway in a city of over 500,000 people," City Councilmen Vincent Ignizio and Jim Oddo wrote in a letter to MTA Chairman Jay Walder.

But as far as the MTA's concerned, the Railway's fleet of 63 cars are oldies but goodies, having recently returned from an $11 million overhaul at the Coney Island Maintenance Shop.

It was decided that the Railway's cars are in sufficiently good shape to make it through to the next five-year capital program, said MTA Board Member Allen Cappelli, with the understanding that if a problem develops with the quality of the cars, new trains will be ordered.

"The irony is that our tracks, unlike our roads, are in better shape than the rest of the city," Cappelli said, "so our cars don't take the kind of pounding that they do in other places. It was the recommendation that they did not need to put money in the budget to replace them. However, if a problem develops and we need to replace the cars, I've been assured we'll buy the cars, but I'm not expecting that will have to happen."

"Making every dollar count has driven some positive changes in the decision-making process at the MTA, forcing us to take a fresh look at how to best use our resources," said New York City Transit spokesman Charles Seaton. "In this case it means maximizing the use of an existing rail car fleet that has been well-maintained and reliable."

Seaton said the MTA is considering making modifications to R-46 rail cars from other city subway lines to make them compatible with Railway operations. The R-46 cars have benefited from regular maintenance upgrades through Transit's Scheduled Maintenance System program, he said, and are nearly identical and a few years younger than the Railway's current R-44 model trains.

Meanwhile, the capital plan includes an order for more than 460 brand-new train cars for use in the other four boroughs.

As far as getting the old hand-me-downs goes, "it's something we shouldn't accept," Ignizio said. "We hope to engage Jay Walder in a dialogue, bring him out to Staten Island, and encourage him to reconsider."
---
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Comments

 (17 total)     RSS
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lafaminute
Posted by lafaminute
April 30, 2010, 8:10AM

So the MTA will spend 23 million on a station that 3 people get on at, but not replace 40 year old trains. Let's all wonder why they are in this mess.

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siguyindahauz4
Posted by siguyindahauz4
April 30, 2010, 8:12AM

Yet these yuppy railroad hobbyists thin that we should build an entirely new North Shore rail line.

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fatbaldman
Posted by fatbaldman
April 30, 2010, 8:12AM

can they paint the existing cars different bright colors? maybe it won't look too bad..

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nybravest82
Posted by nybravest82
April 30, 2010, 8:24AM

Some of these cars are held together with duct tape, have more scratches and stains on them then an entire Manhattan subway station, but yeah, "they'll be fine." I'm all for nostalgia, but only when it doesn't impede progress. That being said, it's the MTA, who is honestly surprised?

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ujockdrock
Posted by ujockdrock
April 30, 2010, 8:52AM

The SIRR train cars are fine, for a 30min ride its no big deal. The only complaint I can see is the PA system. You can't hear or understand anything that comes out of those speakers. If there is an emergency you are pretty much on your own.

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sheavendor
Posted by sheavendor
April 30, 2010, 8:59AM

Is anyone here shocked by this? Honestly?

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hall33
Posted by hall33
April 30, 2010, 9:37AM

They aren't so bad for the 20 minute ride. We will live.

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icant
Posted by icant
April 30, 2010, 9:39AM

ujock says the train cars are fine so I guess we are okay. I wonder what year car he drives. They have a 40 year old life for a reason. I can bet there is not one NYCTA car that is NEAR 40 years old.

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johnnypaz
Posted by johnnypaz
April 30, 2010, 10:29AM

oh we'll get new ones---some nut will say "lets get the "redbird" cars out of the ocean" to where some other idiot says "say---thats a good idea"

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rbell10310
Posted by Swim
April 30, 2010, 11:07AM

Remember when they used to send the worn out busses to Staten Island and all the new busses went to Manhattan and Brooklyn? Some things never change.

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thorimm
Posted by thorimm
April 30, 2010, 11:08AM

As much as I like to see new cars, I don't currently see a need to replace the cars. They're nowhere near being 'antiques'; and as long as identical cars continue to run in daily service on the A line, the longest in the subway system, there's really no justification for anyone to ask for these relatively low-mileage cars to be replaced.

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bubbyboy
Posted by bubbyboy
April 30, 2010, 11:11AM

Can anyone (re)spell secession. Why is S.I always treated so poorly by the city.

Aurthur Kill station..... Don't make me laugh.....Get rid of both the Atlantic and Nassau stations and lengthen the Ricmond Valley Station. Spend the savings on 5 to 10 new cars.

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Rasputiia
Posted by Rasputiia
April 30, 2010, 12:04PM

What do you expect? With the exception of St. George and now Tompkinsville, the train is free and not generating any revenue.

everyone should pay for the train. No reason for it to be free.

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mongoo
Posted by mongoo
April 30, 2010, 1:43PM

SIRT rider for over 20 years to NYC....That being said...trains are ontime during weekdays...cannot speak for the weekends...always cold in the winter and warm in the summer...reconditioned...my arse.
If you want people out of their cars and off the roads..you need a good product...so if your are not getting new trains then why are you not adding back the addtional train car that was taken away under the Dumb Dumb Dinkins administration during rush hours since each station was made longer to accomodate the extra train car

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forgottenisland
Posted by forgottenisland
April 30, 2010, 4:04PM

Whatever happened to the longer trains we were supposed to get in the early nineties? They spent a lot of money to lenghten the platforms and then nothing!!

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anadltoabq
Posted by anadltoabq
April 30, 2010, 6:02PM

Only you old folks will remember the original, 1925 green cars the B&O ran untill MTA took over in '71. Not fancy--rattan pullover seats; no a/c; light bulb lighting; drafty, outside, open-the-end-door controls, cement floors. But the trains ran reliably on time; lasted 46 years; crews (yes, 3-man crews...driver, conductor, helper) were friendly; never heard of much trouble. Not too shabby.

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ahblid
Posted by ahblid
May 01, 2010, 6:50PM

You're right, there isn't one. There are almost 250 cars still in daily use on the V & C trains that were built in 1964 and are now 46 years old. There are another 50 that were built between 1969-1970, making them 40 to 41 years old still in daily use on the J line. And there 200 of the very same model car as is used on SIRR, still in use on the A line. There are a couple hundred more R46 cars that are only 3 years younger than the R44 cars in use on SIRR.

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