State of the Art Car
The State of the Art Car (SOAC) is a heavy rail mass transit demonstrator vehicle that was promoted by the United States Department of Transportation's Urban Mass Transportation Administration's (UMTA) Division in the mid 1970s.
Development and testing
A two car demonstrator, at the cost of $350,000 per car, was built by St. Louis Car Company (after winning bid over Budd Company, Pullman-Standard, Rohr Industries, and Vought Aeronautics) based on the R44 subway car for New York City and toured five American cities with subway systems: These were the very last railcars produced by the venerable St. Louis Car Company, using the two remaining R44 subway car shells produced before the company ceased operations in early 1974. One of the cars could hold 220 passengers, while the other could hold 300.
The five American cities toured were as follows:
Boston – August 1974 (MBTA South Shore Red Line and Cambridge-Dorchester Line)
Chicago – January 1975 (Skokie Swift line)
Cleveland – (CTS Airport line)
New York – May – August 1974 (NYCTA Eighth Avenue–Fulton Street A, Concourse–Sixth Avenue–Brighton D, Queens Boulevard–Eighth Avenue E and Queens Boulevard–Broadway–Sea Beach N services)
Philadelphia – late 1974 (SEPTA Broad St. Subway), August 1976 (PATCO Speedline to Lindenwold, New Jersey)
While the cars were well received, the concept did not catch on and was retired. Since this experiment, all future rapid transit cars were designed by manufacturers with input with clients and the USDOT stopped research and design work on public transit concepts. This was also the UMTA's one size fits all approach to rapid transit car design that did not fare well with many transit operators, since many systems could not accommodate 75' foot or 10'-6" wide subway equipment due to clearance issues.
The two car demonstrator is now owned by the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine, and is currently on static display.
State of the Art Car Overview
Manufacturer: St. Louis Car Company
Number built: 2 – married pair
Car length: 75 ft (22,860 mm)
Width: 9 ft 7 1⁄4 in (2,927 mm)
Height: 11 ft 8 1⁄2 in (3,569 mm) to 12 ft 1 1⁄2 in (3,696 mm)
Maximum speed: 80 mph (130 km/h)
Weight: 90,000 lb (40,820 kg)
Electric systems: 600 V or more, as required, DC third rail
Current collection method: Contact shoe
Track gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
The State of the Art Car had a unique cab design.
By Rene Schwietzke - http://www.flickr.com/photos/rene-germany/684056591/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2375851
State of the Art Cars 1 and 2 on display at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunk, Maine in 2009.
By NellsWiki at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10560875
A 1970s postcard of the SOAC published by Boeing Vertol, which managed the project but did not produce the cars.
An interior view of one the State of the Art Cars.
By gailf548 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/galfred/221432671/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1570071
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