New York City Subway
American Car & Foundry Co.
R-4 subway car
Secondary Use
Rapid Transit Cars
Retired from Service
Acquired by the Museum

Independent Subway 800

From New York, New York


In the 1930s, New York City constructed a city-owned “Independent” subway system to replace some elevated lines and to expand upon the subway service provided by the older, privately operated Interborough Rapid Transit and Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit systems. Car #800 (acquired under contract R-4) was among 1703 nearly identical cars built between 1930 and 1940 for the Independent Subway. These impressive, heavily-built, 60-foot long cars seated 60 passengers on comfortable rattan seats and, including standees, could carry 282 passengers. A typical train of 10 cars could carry thousands of rush hour commuters. Unlike on newer subway cars, the conductor on these cars needed to straddle himself between two cars to reach the controls to open and close the car doors. New York’s Independent (“IND”) subway system was designed to handle larger subway cars than New York’s first subways of the Interborough Rapid Transit (“IRT”). So, the R-4 cars, such as #800, were 60 feet long compared with 51 foot cars operated on the IRT. When the city purchased these cars in the 1930s, American railroads were experimenting with streamlined, lightweight aluminum or stainless steel passenger cars, but New York City stayed with a rugged, heavyweight design for the R-4 cars. When the IND system opened, it began New York’s scheme of using letters to designate each route, such as the A train made famous by Duke Ellington. The R-4s gave the IND a utilitarian subway car for carrying large numbers of passengers and carrying them fast. After retirement from regular service in 1977, this car went to the New York Transit Museum for public exhibition with other cars at Brooklyn’s Court Street Station and for operation on that Museum’s Nostalgia Train. In 1981, car #800 appeared in a sequence in the movie Night Hawks when actor Sylvester Stallone chased an international terrorist through a New York City 6th Avenue subway train. Car #800 still has a broken window molding resulting from a scene where Stallone needs to smash a window to climb onto the subway train at the 57th Street station. The Seashore Trolley Museum acquired this car in 1989 after being deaccessioned by the Transit Museum.

Technical Information

  • Seats: 58
  • Control: ABF (XM-29)
  • Brakes: AMUE
  • Compressor: D-3F


  • Number: 2
  • Manufacturer: American Car & Foundry
  • Model: 506 AB


  • Number: 2
  • Manufacturer: Westinghouse
  • Model: 714D1/2

Weight and Dimensions

  • Length: 60’ 2.00"
  • Width: 10’
  • Height: 12’ 2.00"
  • Weight: 84503 lbs.

Additional Images

New York City Subway
Matthew D. Cosgro in 2002
New York City Subway
Matthew D. Cosgro in 2002
New York City Subway
Matthew D. Cosgro in 2002
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