Have you entered a disgustingly hot 1 train car this summer? You’re definitely not alone. The train has been plagued by AC outages all summer, because the kinds of subway cars that run on the 1 and 6 lines (model R62A) are outdated and tougher to fix. WNYC got to the bottom of the problem.
The R62As date back to the Reagan Administration, and therein lies the problem. “The technology at the time provided for one compressor for each of the air units in the car,” [MTA spokesman Kevin] Ortiz said. “So if you lost that one compressor, you basically lost all of the air for that entire car.”
Newer cars — or older cars that have been overhauled — are built differently. “They have separate HVAC systems, where if one fails, you can use another within that car,” said Ortiz. And repairing them is simpler: the HVAC systems “are easily removable from the top of the trains.” Almost like Lego, a broken HVAC unit can be popped off a train, repaired, and popped back on. But “that’s not the case with the older technology cars,” he said, “where you have to work on the entire component as a whole to address it.”
WNYC also reported that the same cars seem to lose AC again and again, and even if the MTA addresses the problem, temporary fixes don’t seem to be helping.
These R62A cars are also nearing the end of their maintenance cycle, and will be getting new AC units starting this year, though the entire overhaul process for all the cars could take two years.
If you do notice a stiflingly hot train car, you can call 511 to report it, fill out a form here, or tweet to @NYCTSubway.