At its introduction in 1949, the R-11 was billed - accurately - as the Train of the Future: "Expectations are high for construction of the Second Avenue subway and the futuristic new subway cars that will run on it. Made from gleaming stainless steel, the cars have a range of modern innovations: round porthole windows that would look at home on a rocket ship; high-tech air purification systems that use ultraviolet lamps to kill germs; illuminated route maps on the wall; and - incredible as it seems - public address systems that make clear, intelligible announcements."
The New York Board of Transportation, predecessor of today's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, took delivery of ten R-11 subway cars from the Budd Company, the prototypes of a 400-car fleet to run on the planned Second Avenue subway. Having recently convinced the nation's railroads that stainless steel streamliners were the cars of the future, Budd saw the R-11 as an opportunity to make a similar conquest in the subway business. Styled by industrial designer Otto Kuhler, the bright and shiny R-11, with its equally large windows for seated passengers and standees, stood in stark contrast to the darkly painted, dingy cars of the era. In part because polio was a concern at the time, the R-11 was equipped with a ventilation system that brought in outside air and ran it past "precipitron" sterilizing lamps (ultraviolet lamps) to kill germs. The inviting interiors featured faux wicker plastic upholstery and another modern innovation, fluorescent lighting.
Unfortunately, construction didn't start on the Second Avenue subway for another 58 years, and the ten prototype R-11s were the only ones ever built. Unable to mate with any of New York's other car types, the R-11s wandered the system from one assignment to another, including the Canarsie line and the Franklin Avenue shuttle. It would be another 15 years before New York would order another stainless steel car, the R-32, also from Budd. In a 1965 rebuild, the R-11's saw their warm interiors replaced with hard fiberglass seats, but gained the ability to operate with other cars, and in 1977 they were retired. One survives today in the New York Transit Museum.
Our Premier R-11 accurately recreates the futuristic look of the original and features transit stop simulation available only from M.T.H. Designed specifically for our municipal transit cars, the unique Proto-Sound 3.0 transit program features Station Stop Proto-Effects, allowing you to program the train to stop automatically at designated station stops, even in Conventional Mode. When configured to run on automatic, the R-11 stops itself at locations you define and calls out station names that you select in advance; the train essentially runs itself. And when you program the R-11 for an out-and-back route, it reverses itself and heads back downtown when it reaches the end of the line - stopping along the way at each station to broadcast the name of the stop and the hustle and bustle of passengers coming and going.
Learn more about it
For more information on the R-11 and the entire New York City transit system, visit www.nycsubway.org