The ME-1 was a rapid transit car built from 1925 to 1926 by the Standard Steel Car Company for the Staten Island Railway and later also used in the New York City Subway. They were the first electric cars to run in revenue service on the SIRT.[1] They are also frequently referred to as MU-1s or MUE-1s. The 25 cars purchased by the New York City Transit Authority to run in the subway were nicknamed B-29s, a reference to a large aircraft of the same name. This nickname was derived from the cars' large size (67 feet or 20.42 meters) and the fact that the cars had been renumbered for subway service into the 2900's.

SIRT 388 in 2010.jpg
SIRT ME-1 Car 388 on display at the Shore Line Trolley Museum in 2010.
In service1925-1973
ManufacturerStandard Steel Car Company
Number built100 (90 Motors, 10 Trailers)
Number preserved2
Number scrapped98
Fleet numbers300-389 (motors)
500-509 (trailers) Note: Trailers 502, 505-507, and 509 converted to motor cars 390-394 in 1928
Capacity240: 71 (seated) 169 (standing)
Operator(s)Staten Island Railway
New York City Transit Authority
Car body constructionSteel
Car length67 ft 3 in (20.50 m)
Width10 ft 0 in (3,048 mm)
Height12 ft 1.125 in (3,686 mm)
Floor height3 ft 9.125 in (1.15 m)
Maximum speed60 mph (97 km/h)
WeightMotor car: 95,750 lb (43,430 kg)
Trailer car: N/A
Traction systemMotor car: GE PC 10L using GE 282A motors (200 hp each). 2 motors per car (1 per truck).
Trailer car: None
Power output200 hp (149 kW) per traction motor
Electric system(s)600 V DC Third rail
Current collection methodTop running Contact shoe
Braking system(s)WABCO Schedule AMUE with UE-5 universal valve, ME-30 brake stand, and simplex clasp brake rigging
Coupling systemWABCO H2A
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

Service historyEdit

A total of 100 cars were purchased from the Standard Steel Car Company[2] - 90 motors and 10 trailers. The 90 motors were built in 1925, and the 10 trailers in 1926.

Purchased by the Staten Island Rapid Transit's former operator, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the cars were built to replace steam-powered equipment on the railroad, and in preparation for the Staten Island Tunnel connection to the BMT Fourth Avenue Line in Brooklyn. Because of this, the cars were built to Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) subway specifications, and strongly resembled the BMT's AB Standard.[2][3][4] The cars debuted in 1925, shortly after the electrification of the railroad.[2][3] They ran continuously on the three SIRT lines (North Shore Line, South Shore Line, South Beach Branch) until 1953, when the South Beach Branch and North Shore Line closed. In 1953-54, 25 of these cars were purchased from the SIRT by the New York City Transit Authority to run over former BMT lines and did so until 1961.[2] The remaining 48 cars (many had been lost in several fires)[2] soldiered on the remaining SIRT main line (the South Shore or Tottenville Line; now the Main Line) until their last revenue service in 1973. Due to the shortage of equipment, all but four cars would be used in peak operation.[2][5]

Following their 1973 retirement from service on Staten Island, they were replaced by the original 52 R44 SI fleet of cars. A total of 62 R44s (some transfers from the subway system) are currently in use as of 2015.[2][6]


Car 353 had survived on a track in the Travis Yards[7] and was acquired by the Trolley Museum of New York based in Kingston, New York.[8] However, the car was scrapped sometime around 2004 or 2005 before transportation was able to be arranged to Kingston.

In recent years, a railroad historian from Staten Island named Peter Giunta has been searching for vintage SIRT equipment for a possible museum display on Staten Island. He hopes to locate either an ME-1 or one of its earlier non-electrified counterparts.[9]

ME-1 SpecificationsEdit

  • Car Length: 67 feet (20.42 m) over the car's end buffers; 67 feet 3.5 inches (20.511 m) over pulling face of couplers. 47 feet (14 m) between truck centers. The truck wheelbase is 81 inches (2.1 m).[10]
  • Car Width: 9 feet 9 316 inches (2.977 m) over the side plates. 9 feet 10.5 inches (3.010 m) over eaves and side door tread plates. Clerestory width of monitor roof is 6 feet 3.125 inches (1.90818 m) over edges.[10]
  • Car Height: 3 feet 1.5 inches (0.95 m) top of tail to bottom edge of side sills; 3 feet 10.5 inches (1.18 m) top of rail to car side door tread plates (platform height); 7 feet 2.5 inches (2.20 m) bottom edge of side sills to eaves; 9 feet 10 316 inches (3.00 m) top of rail to top of car line (roof); 12 feet 1 1116 inches (3.70 m) top of tail to top of car line (roof).[10]
  • Car Weight: light weight of body, complete: 55,650 pounds (25,240 kg); light weight of trucks complete with motors: 40,100 pounds (18,200 kg); total weight: 95,750 pounds (43,430 kg)[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ponder New Law. The New York Times, June 5, 1923.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Leigh, Irvin; Matus, Paul (January 2002). "Staten Island Rapid Transit: The Essential History". The Third Rail Online. Archived from the original on May 30, 2015. Retrieved June 27, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ a b Pitanza, Marc (2015). Staten Island Rapid Transit Images of Rail. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4671-2338-9.
  4. ^ "Staten Island Is Not a Commuting Community". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. October 5, 1924. p. 67. Retrieved April 26, 2016 – via
  5. ^ "Staten Island Railway". Archived from the original on February 15, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ "MTA Capital Program 2015-2019: Renew. Enhance. Expand" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 28, 2015. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  7. ^ "Abandoned 1925 vintage Staten Island Rapid Transit car 353 – 2003. -".
  8. ^ "Showing Image 31284".
  9. ^ "Tracking down a train to preserve the past".
  10. ^ a b c d The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co. Diagrams of Passenger Equipment Updated to 1958, TLC Publishing, Inc. Lynchburg VA 24503 Page: SIRT Electric Motor Cars, Class ME-1.

External linksEdit