A Slice Of The Big Apple Comes To Town - TribPapers

A Slice Of The Big Apple Comes To Town

A New York subway car being lifted onto the Craggy Mountain Line in Woodfin. Photo by Clint Parker.

Woodfin – A slice of the Big Apple came to town in the form of two New York City subway cars. They arrived at the Craggy Mountain Line in Woodfin, a 3.5 miles of the original trolley line that used to be part of the greater Asheville system.

During the month of August, the first car (R-32) arrived on a Wednesday and the other the following Wednesday. “It is with much anticipation and excitement that we make this official announcement. After ten years behind the scenes, we have been working to acquire several pieces of beautiful, historic, and iconic transit equipment,” said Rocky Hollifield, president of the Craggy Mountain Line, in an announcement to the public.

Hollifield goes on to say, “The Craggy Mountain Line (CML)is very happy to announce the acquisition of former Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) R-32 cars, #3432 and #3433, which were built by Budd in 1964. On the morning of Thursday, July 6, 2023, the set of MTA NYC Transit Subway cars R-32s 3432 and 3433 were loaded onto trailers at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Brooklyn, New York, to be transported for preservation. The 600-car order of R-32s were the only cars produced by Budd for NYCTA and are now at the Craggy Mountain Line Railroad.”

What is CML’s plans for these cars? Hollifield says, “We are planning on running these eventually and displaying them…We have them here to see the beautiful New York City subway cars…that ran on the subway for 58 years. The longest-running subway cars in the world that we understand.”

Hollifield said the CML is investigating to see exactly what they need to get this car running on the line. These cars run off 660 volts DC (electric) and use the infamous third rail on the subway line to get the power. Hollifield is talking about building a small generator car that will act as a mobile power source.

“These cars are in running condition. They came to us in excellent shape,” said Hollifield when asked if there was anything else that needed to be done to get the cars running on the track. He had two former New York City residents on-site helping when the cars arrived – Ken Marino and Bill Pullman.

Each car weighs about 80,000 pounds and was lifted by crane off of a unique tractor and trailer hauler onto the CML’s tracks. Each car can carry about 100 passengers.

Asked what would be the draw for local residents to come to see the new cars, Hollifield said, “Well, we’re now the largest transit museum in the south, and we are bring in the wonderful flavor of these great cars.”

In addition to the New York cars, the CML also has a couple of Chicago “L” cars. He also has a 1950 ALCO diesel engine, which he hopes to one day run with a caboose.

Another former native of New York City, now living in Asheville, Ray Gurriere, was also on hand when the second R-32 was being delivered and told the Tribune that he used to ride the car. He also pointed to the CML gift/ticket car (R-63 one of only seven still in existence) and said he rode that one when he was a kid.

The CML said they “would like to thank MTA NYCT for donating these beautiful cars and for their tremendous assistance in planning and moving the cars for highway shipment to North Carolina.”