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Saying goodbye to the R32, aka the "Brightliner"

Updated January 10, 2022 11:22 a.m.
A subway car traveling on a bridge along an elevated track.

After 58 years of service, we said goodbye this weekend to New York City Transit's R32 subway cars — also known as Brightliners — with a farewell ride along the   line. 

The farewell journey went between Brighton Beach and 96 St, following the original route that the Brightliners traveled when they debuted in 1964. Over the years, the R32 cars were used on many different lines throughout the subway system, most recently on the   and   lines.

When the R32s were introduced nearly 60 years ago, their modern features — including fluorescent lighting and "colorful interiors" (they had blue seats) — were touted as a major transit improvement. The manufacturer, Budd, built each stainless steel car for $114,700, and they were much lighter than previous iterations of subway cars. 


A vintage subway train traveling along a track.

A vintage advertisement for new subway cars

By the time they were retired from revenue service in 2020, the Brightliners had largely been replaced by more modern trains. Some of the cars were recycled through our artificial reef program, and the cars that ran on the inaugural run in October 1964 have been preserved by the New York Transit Museum. 

But this weekend was the last time riders would be able to see the Brightliners in action — and many came out for the final run. Check out more photos from Marc Hermann, the MTA's staff photographer.