Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Take with the NTTs

I want to begin discussing what I have learned from riding and observing the New Technology Trains in New York City Subway. I will call them the NTTs for short. The first NTTs are the R142 subway car series which can be found on the lines. The R142A is on . R143 on , R160A on , and R160B on . They have digital displays on the exterior showing the route and the destination. Inside there are two destination bars in the celing, one on each end of the train cars. All cabs that the train operator and conductor work on are transverse, meaning they spread to both sides of the train.

The Subway cars are really neat, but they have flaws. I'm going to discuss them here.

One common flaw with every NTT is that the handle to accelerate and decelerate the trains requires that the train operator grip the handle while in motion. If he or she lets go, the train slows down. Pushing foward, to speed up, and Pulling backward to slow down. (Hitting the brakes)

Another issue here is that sometimes the exterior LCD displays would sometimes not work properly. On a R142A, with the mosaic display, the signs would still work, but with no light. The rest, would sometimes freeze up, or be blank partially or completely.

The flaws on the R142/142A/143 is with the card maps. Seen as assigned routes on the and lines, if those cars needed to change route, it can, but the card maps would not match with the route it is serving, most common occurance is with the lines, where they usually swap cars at Brooklyn College Flatbush Avenue

This card map flaw of the previous NTTs were addressed with the R160 car order with the flexible information notice display, or FIND. This allowed for reroutes with the correct information if the train was to reroute. It is not a card map, it is a digital map station list that updates at every stop, showing the route and adds on the LCD screen at the left, the first 10 stops, plus five further stops, and it's terminal. You can catch them now on the .

The problem is that the FINDs do freeze, preventing station listings and proper change of routes from happening. The destination bar will sometimes freeze up also. While the FINDs allow for station and service changes on the go, many train operators and conductors, some unaccustomed to working with the controls will make a few errors every now and then. It's not a big deal, but for riders going to places it might throw them off.

What are the benefits of the NTTs?

Improved voice annoucements and station listings make traveling enjoyable, and more reilable.

Most train operators say the NTTs are faster and have better acceleration, and better braking.

More capacity (with the compromise of less seating) to carry more passengers.

Better arrangement for entry and exit of trains.

The trains are smooth with air bag suspension.

That's all I'll say for now.

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