"It can be hard to imagine that when the trains were introduced in September 1964, in a ceremony at Grand Central Terminal complete with a 20-piece marching band, the R32s carried the optimistic nickname 'Brightliners' and were heralded as the most technologically advanced trains yet seen in the New York City subway," writes Michael Grynbaum for The New York Times.
While "[s]ome riders relish the retro feel of the R32, its dim taupe interiors, old-fashioned roll signs, and an unusual front window that allows an unobstructed view of the track," others think that the aging fleet is a relic from the past. A report card published by the Straphangers Campaign reveals that the "C trains break down three times as often as the average subway car, arrive only once every 10 minutes at peak periods, and have the least understandable announcements in the system." Grynbaum adds, "In a modern city that prides itself on Bloombergian efficiency, the C is a throwback."
The refurbishment cost to keep the trains running for another six years is estimated at $24 million.