In some sophisticated cities like Berlin and São Paulo, the urban rail system utilizes spacious articulating train cars which are connected without any doors separating them: just one long tube within a tube packed full of happy tube-filled human flesh sacks. These are called "open gangways," and while they look like something out of a grimy urban sci-fi utopia to us, they could be the real-life Train of the Future for New Yorkers—the MTA will be testing out a handful of them in the subway in next few years.
Yes, someday you'll be able to sprint from the very front car of a subway train all the way to the back with your arms stretched wide holding fistfuls of sparklers. As Second Avenue Sagas notes, the open gangway design can yield 8-10% more space inside the subway train. The more the merrier!
The MTA's revised 2015-2019 capital plan sets aside funds for ten open-gangway prototype cars. We don't know when they'll appear, nor do we know on what subway line. But the subway centipede trains are coming for us, that much is certain.
"We don’t make major changes like this lightly," said MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg when asked for details about the nascent pilot program. "We really need to see some of these trainsets in service before we can evaluate how they work, whether they have unanticipated consequences, how the advantages balance against the disadvantages, etc."
— Jean-François Mezei (@jfmezei) November 29, 2015
Is it possible that New Yorkers testing out these new trains will find themselves confined to a commute in which Show Time never ends? Or will they relish the freedom to simply walk as far away from Show Time as possible—or vice versa? On the other hand, when all the subway cars are connected, every car is a poop car. Food for thought.