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Old trains will stay in service longer, not get sunk in the sea

The MTA is putting off replacing 290 old subway cars, which date back as far as 1964 and are mostly used on the A and C lines, because of its financial woes, budget documents show.

This also leaves sea creatures high and dry, as the cars were headed for the ocean, where they were to serve as artificial reefs.

“It’s not fair,” said Troy Barnes, 27, a Brooklyn rider. “They’re dirty and a lot of trains have graffiti all over.”

The MTA is pushing back the retirement of the cars beyond 2010 to save $1.3 million in shipping and cleaning costs associated with dumping them into the sea, transit documents show. The cut is one of dozens that the cash-strapped agency has proposed to fill a hole of more than $800 million.

The trains have the worst record for breakdowns in the system, and are about seven times more likely to fall apart than the new cars on the letter lines, NYC Transit records show.

Since 2001, NYC Transit has cast away more than 1,600 old trains into the oceans near Maryland, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey. Fish hide from their predators in the cars and they help cultivate food like mussels and shrimp.

(With Katherine Lieb)

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