I was doing some midweek loitering on the Marcy Avenue platform in Williamsburg, watching the trains go by. I can do this because over the past five years the copy editing-proofreading market has dried up (as well as the willingness of employers to hire people over fifty) and I have been unemployed for lengthy stretches of months at a time. But enough about my complaints.
The J is the Most Interesting Subway Line in NYC because of its rich mix of subway cars and also that it travels on an el for all but its Manhattan stretch and 3 stops at the end of the line in Jamaica. You will not only find newish R-160 cars from the early 21st Century but also R-42 cars built by the St. Louis Car Company dating from 1969-70 and R-32 cars, shown here, that go back to 1964-1965, built by the Budd Company of Philadelphia. R-32s also serve the C and very occasionally, the A lines found on 8th Avenue in Manhattan.
They were originally referred to as “Brightliners” because of their corrugated, stainless-steel exteriors. From 1988-1990 all serving R-32 cars received makeovers that most notably included a changeover from roll signs to Luminator “flipdot” electronic route signs, making the R-32s the initial pioneers in electronic route signage. New R-143, R-160 cars introduced since 2000 have also employed electronic line markers. I’m told new cars to be introduced during the upcoming decade will bring back the roll signs with the large colored bullets, but this time in electronic form.
According to railfan James Greller, they often cited for their superior durability and craftsmanship, along with the structural reinforcement done to their bodies during the GOH period; four other B Division models built after them have been mostly or completely retired. wikipedia
Long live the R-32! Not least because they’re complete iceboxes in the summer.