On Sunday, the first car of a J train completely overshot the elevated station.
It was the second J train to do so that day.It’s very serious," Aaron Morrison, a train operator and union representative. "And for it to have it happen twice in a day with that equipment, it’s not uncommon."
Morrison has driven every type of subway car on the MTA's lettered lines, including its latest model, the R179s, which have run on the A, C, and J lines for two years.
"The train has a serious braking issue," Morrison said. "Even on dry rail, on a sunny day, depending on the geography of the station that train can go out of the station at any time."
It was raining Sunday when the operator of a train heading toward Manhattan applied the brakes, entering the 121st Street station in Richmond Hill.
The train skidded on the rails, stopping only after the first car and half of the second shot past the platform.
A half hour earlier, a J train heading in the opposite direction skidded after the operator braked entering the 111th Street stop.
The MTA says both trains were inspected and no defects were found. It blames the operators.
"Station overruns happen on all car classes and are usually the result of operator input and any train operators with concerns should raise them immediately," MTA spokesman Shams Tarek said.
But Morrison says the R-179s are so troublesome, operators try to avoid them when choosing assignments.
“You want to feel the train grabbing the brake, you want to feel the train slowing down, and commonly with that equipment sometimes you don’t feel it right away and there’s a delay," Morrison said. "And if there’s inclement weather, forget about it.”
"They have a troubled history," transit advocate Andrew Albert said.
Albert has watched the R179's troubled history unfold from his seat on the MTA board.
The cars were delivered late from manufacturer and have had welding problems and door malfunctions. One time, two train cars separated. The fleet has been pulled from service twice.
The cars have a worse performance record than some models built more than 30 years ago.