Montague Tunnel Closure a Short-Term Boon to Intra-Brooklyn Commuters

R riders get newer trains, faster commutes in Brooklyn during construction

The Brooklyn Paper
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Straphangers commuting along the R in Brooklyn are enjoying quicker trips and brighter, cleaner, more modern trains thanks to the closure of the line’s link to Manhattan — but it won’t last, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The agency said that its 14-month shutdown of the Montague Street tunnel — the tube connecting the Court Street stop in Brooklyn to the Whitehall-South Ferry station in the city — for repairs related to Hurricane Sandy has meant Kings County commuters can move about in their own borough without having to deal with slowdowns related to problems in the Manhattan and Queens section of the line.

“That means trains aren’t being held back and you’re seeing more seamless service in Brooklyn,” said Transit spokesman Kevin Ortiz.

Bay Ridge commuters are also riding in much newer cars than before. The agency services the older R46 model cars that usually run on the R line — which have been in the system since the Koch Administration — at a maintenance facility in Queens, so Ortiz said the MTA would be unlikely to transfer them back to Brooklyn while the Montague Tunnel is closed.

As a result, R riders are getting a taste of the newer R160 trains normally reserved for J, Z, L, M, E, F, N, and Q line commuters.

But the convenience for those who both live and work on the Brooklyn side of the line will come to an end once the tunnel re-opens next fall. Ortiz defended the agency’s plan to again stick the Bay Ridge to Forest Hills local with the nearly 40-year-old trains, pointing out that the length of the cars makes them only compatible with a handful of lines, the R among them. He also argued that the R46s still run fine.

“While they are older cars, they operate admirably,” Ortiz said.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at
Updated 10:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Ridge Rider from Bay Ridge says:
Love these new subway cars. The R46 ones are dark, dingy, and disgusting.
Aug. 17, 2013, 11:09 am
Ace from New Utrecht says:

"shiny new" in this case also means "awkward and uncomfortable". Be prepared for 40% less seating space and the pleasure of consistently sliding into the person next to you on the bench style seats (if you get a seat). Standing? Be prepared to being forced into an awkward contraction in order to maintain a comfortable distance between your crotch and the faces of those seated, which in the "shiny new" cars are perfectly aligned and close.

The older R46s were designed with thought to personal space and comfort. The newer 160s were designed in a vacuum with the only criteria being that of maximizing capacity.
Aug. 19, 2013, 11:26 am
Samantha from Bay Ridge says:
I agree 100% with Ace. The new cars are the worst! Surgery-style lighting, less seating, awkwardly positioned poles. I dread the day when they retire the old R46 trains! How about we have human beings design the next subway cars the MTA buys?
Aug. 20, 2013, 3:55 pm

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