Where Do Retired NYC Subway Cars Go? The Bottom Of The Ocean.

The New York City Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the world by number of stations, with 468 stations in operation and 232 miles of routes.   There are a total 6,384 cars and in 2013 the subway delivered over 1.71 billion rides.  With around 5 million rides delivered a day, the cars will wear down quickly and need to be replaced.  They used to just be broken down to scrap metal, but since 2001, they dump them into the Atlantic Ocean.  The projects goal is to build an artificial reef off of the east coast that will provide a strong habitat for marine life.


Millions were spent on removing asbestos from the cars to prep them to be scrapped.

The cars are completely stripped and cleaned before they can go into the sea.

They are then loaded onto barges.



Once loaded they can be delivered to many locations up and down the east coast, including Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland.


They are then dumped into the ocean.


The program hopes to attract marine life to the reef-type formations.


Ultimately, they hope to increase breeding by creating a strong habitat.


Credit: Stephen Mallon



 2,580 retired subway cars were dumped between 2001 and 2010.


The first cars to be disposed of into the ocean were from the Redbird series, which date from 1959.


 714 of these cars created what is known as Redbird Reef, off the coast of Delaware.



The reef takes up about 1.3 square nautical miles.


 Redbird Reef has been very successful, increasing the marine life by 400 times.


It has drastically increased visits from fisherman as well; there are 10,000 that visit the reef each year.



 Source: BusinessInsider