5 MP51 "K-Car" type PATH train cars ( the "Tubes" )
steel body / cement sub-flooring
1958 onwards - St. Louis Car Company
( numbers between 1200 and 1249 )
( 51 x 9 x 12 ft ) 69,300 lbs, 44 seats
Thursday July 19, 1990
K-Cars were notable for being the first fully air-conditioned subway cars in the world. They were originally purchased by the Hudson-Manhattan Railroad Company and Pennsylvania Railroad, which were later combined into the PATH ( Port Authority Trans-Hudson ) service.
The five subway cars that you say were once part of the NYC fleet are in fact former revenue cars that made up the Hoboken to World Trade Center run along the PATH system. I should know, I've worked with the company for better than 24 years maintaining these "K-cars."
47 K-cars were in service with the former owner of PATH the Hudson-Manhattan Railroad Company, which was purchased by the Port Authority of NY & NJ in 1963. The deal that was cut with the H&M during that year included Hudson Terminal in NYC and the site of the World Trade Center. Additionally, these K-cars were the first in the H&M fleet to offer the comfort of air-conditioned cars to their customers.
The K-car fleet carried passengers between New York and New Jersey from the 1950's through the 1980's, at which time they were retired from passenger service and used to carry workmen and repair materials on maintenance jobs. And as a matter of fact, a large number of these cars remain in service today. These particular cars were dumped into the Atlantic in 1990, and undoubtedly, they've been highly successful with transporting a different kind of passenger - one of a finned variety.
I've been to these dive sites several times in the past, photographing the K-cars for nostalgia's sake. From my pictures, many of the non-diving PATH employees were amazed with how quickly the ocean's inhabitants took up residence. Many have also sampled the Blue Mussels that were recovered from the sites, along with the Blackfish and Ling. Aside from being a grocery diver, I was pleased with the overall appearance of the wreckage that is now festooned with colorful marine growth. It did my heart some good knowing that the environment is benefiting by these sinkings.
Regards, Darren O'Shea
Foreman II, Harrison Car Maintenance Facility, PATH
Getting wet since 1969
Before and After ...
A diver poised in the opening of a Motorman's drop-sash admiring the abundance of marine life. Blue Mussels colonize an electrical breaker panel behind the diver.
End-on view: they are sunk pretty well down into the mud.
Side-scan sonar image of the five PATH cars on the bottom.
Two of the cars as they lay on the bottom in 2004, 14 years after sinking. By 2016, basically nothing was left of them.
PATH / SEPTA Subway Cars - Artificial Reefs - New Jersey Scuba DivingA quick look at the Septa subway cars on the Sea Girt Artificial Reef in 2004, 14 years after sinking. By 2016, basically nothing was left of them. By Capt. Steve Nagiewicz.
The PATH tubes, along with other new bridges and tunnels across the river, spelled the end of the line for the railroad-ferry service. The Cranford was one of the vessels made obsolete by this march of progress, and it is perhaps ironic that these subway cars should end up on the same reef as the old ferry. The PATH service was severely impacted by the Sept 11 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center, and the subway station beneath it
These particular cars were first sold by PATH to SEPTA for parts, and it was actually SEPTA that donated them to the reef program.
Glenn D. Gardner  from Southampton, PA - 05/10/06:
I found your site very interesting with respect to the PATH K-Cars used as an artificial reef. It's nice to know the positive results reaped from projects with which a person was associated.
I was the Lead Engineer at SEPTA assigned around 1992, as I recall, to investigate the feasibility of using the trucks/bogies from the K-cars in order to convert the track gauge for five of SEPTA's Market-Frankford "El" cars ("carriage" gauge) so that they may be used in revenue service on SEPTA's Norristown High Speed Line ("standard" gauge) as a stop gap measure until the new N-5 NHSL cars could be manufactured, delivered, and tested.
PATH would not sell strictly the trucks/bogies to SEPTA. Hence, the entire car (stripped of parts still needed by PATH for some remaining K-cars in their fleet) was purchased by SEPTA. The trucks/bogies were removed and then the remainder of the cars were turned into artificial reefs.
For everything you ever wanted to know about New York City subways, go to nycsubway.org.
I make no claim as to the accuracy, validity, or appropriateness of any information found in this website. I will not be responsible for the consequences of any action that is based upon information found here. Scuba diving is an adventure sport, and as always, you alone are responsible for your own safety and well being.