The MTA revealed that the bulk of a new subway car order is damaged. French manufacturer Alstom was contracted to build 400 of 660 new subway cars for the BMT and IND subway lines, but a variety of problems will prevent the company from delivering a prototype train to the MTA this Friday. The NY Times detailed an MTA report that said two of the train car shells were damaged in shipping to a NY plant, and then at the plant, "Windowpanes, ceiling panels and brake resistors did not fit properly. The window problems were discovered when the test cars were sprayed with water, which seeped in." Yeah, that's really not good, but Gothamist wondered if there was human testing of the train car's durability - think about riders leaning on train doors, doing pullups on the bars, poledancing, you name it. And you may remember Alstom as only one of the two companies in the whole world that could make repairs for the damaged A and C lines earlier this year. An interesting footnote from the article was that Alstom's lobbyist to get the MTA contract was none other than former Senator Alphonse D'Amato.

The other 260 train cars were manufactured by Kawasaki, which will deliver its prototype this Friday. The MTA is supposed to test them for 14 months, and had wanted to put all 660 cars into the fleet for August 2006. The Times says the new trains will look like the R143 trains that run on the L; here's Kawasaki's product page for the R143. For some heavy duty reading about subway cars, Gothamist recommends Gene Sansone's New York Subways : An Illustrated History of New York City's Transit Cars - there are diagrams of all the different train cars in the back!

You can buy this model of four Redbird train cars (1 motorized, 3 non) from the MTA's Transit Museum Store for $185.