The C train three years ago, at a youthful 44 years old. (Photo via afagen's flickr

The barely-ever-air-conditioned, creaking subway cars puttering through the tunnels on the A/C line are currently 47 years old, the oldest fleet in the system—and by the time they retire they'll be at least 53. The MTA has just announced that every day for the next six years on that line will be Nostalgia Train Day! Or, rather:

Due to the accelerated retirement of R44 cars caused by structural defects, the older 222 R32 car fleet is required to remain in service beyond their normal service life. The R32 cars are currently 47 years old and already well past the standard expected useful life of 40 years. Now these cars will be required to remain in service for at least another 6 years until 2017 when new R179 cars are delivered.

The original plan had the R32s being replaced by 2014, latest... but you probably weren't really expecting them to deliver on that anyway, right? Here's some more nightmare fuel from their announcement:

R32 car MDBF [Mean Distance Between Failures] is the worst by far of any car fleet now in revenue service; in April 2011 12-month average MDBF for the R32 fleet was just 57,210 compared with a fleet-wide average of 171,553 for the same period. The failure to perform this needed SMS [Scheduled Maintenance Service] cycle would result in unacceptable further deterioration of this already low level of performance. The R32 SMS cycle will require an addition of 52 positions and costs of $7.9 million per year for three years.

Well that sounds terrible. Maybe it's time to look into this whole bike boom thing. [via Second Avenue Sagas]