Back in the autumn of last year, I seem to remember reading on here that the dark car problem was limited to the R42s. While I was in grade school in the 1970s and middle school in 1980, I didn't know the contract #s- but I did observe the different types.
And I remembered dark cars on almost all types- but of course, memory can be unreliable. I'm glad to learn that I was right- cars other than R42s had lighting trouble. I also found a video on YouTube from 1986 showing dark R32s or R38s.
Perhaps what caused the confusion was that the R42s had a specific issue that was limited to R42s. But there were dark cars all over the system.
It definitely wasn't limited to the R42s, but you did see plenty of them that were dark. We were quite used to it on the D line as it units 4696-4806, and all 100 of the R40Ms. I seem to recall that dark car issue being more prominent on the IND/BMT than the IRT car classes.
I believe that the IRT R-12/14s were the last class to have the outboard cap & trigger door controls. However, AFAIK the R-10s were the last class to have the doors operated by air wheras the R-12/14s doors were electric
The turtle back roof was already obsolete by the time the R-10s were designed, The round or R-15 style roof was what became state of the art for car design for many years and was even the basic design of the Zephyr and the green Hornet.
I remember the R-10s on the E and F. Doug Grotjahn took a pic of an E Queens-bound at Lex-53 with me at the front window in Aug 1980, just before I left NYC to go to grad school in Los Angeles. I willingly rode dark cars during the PM rush, thinking it felt a little less hot inside with the lights off.
OK, so I guess the answer is that the R42s and R40Ms had some issue that made them particularly prone to failure of the lighting system. But for various reasons, dark cars could occur in any car class.
I'll take you word that it was less common on the IRT...
Agreed! On the D line, especially in the early 80s most didn't seem to avoid the dark cars. In the summer as the train entered the station we'd simply avoid the cars with open windows as those likely didn't have functioning A/C.
The R-40Ms had a slightly different lighting system from the 42s. The 40Ms like the regular 40s still had the old main light reversing system that had the main light circuit on a timer that reversed the polarity half hourly like the older SMEEs. When the polarity reverser didnít work, the tubes would darken at one end and any employee who noticed it was supposed to operate the main light reverser switch located in the #1 cab (if I recall). The R-42s had an alternator in the light circuit that converted the 600V DC to AC to operate the lights which is why the lights on the R-42s and later cars (as well as the GOHs) didnít go out over 3rd rail gaps.
Ask Wayne aka Mr. Slant R-40 about the R-10 Fred ride he took in February 1981. He says it was one of the fastest runs he's ever been on. 3080 was the north motor and it went on a tear along the Hillside Ave. stretch.