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NYC Subway Cars Dumped into the Ocean

At first it may look like an environmental travesty. The photographs below show 40 year old NYC subway cars being dumped with reckless abandon into the Atlantic Ocean.

On closer inspection, (and after a little explanation) you will understand that the reasons for doing so are good.

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The subway cars await to be loaded onto custom made barges
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The barges are loaded high – the subway cars carried offshore to where they will be dumped.
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Construction equipment is used to push the cars over the side

The practice of dumping used subway cars into the ocean is not a new idea. States across the US are now doing the same, in order to create a stable habitat for marine life in absence of the natural reefs that mankind has helped diminish over the years.

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The barges can take up to 60 cars at a time
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The cars splash into the water and quickly sink to the cold depths of the Atlantic

The cars pictured here, are among 1,662 that have been retired by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

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Once they carried millions of commuters, now the cars will be home to millions of fish
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Every metal pipe, edge, ridge, and corner provides surface area for coral ecosystem
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Here’s what a subway car can look like after 5 years at the ocean floor
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After 10 years the cars have been turned into brightly coloured reefs

Four more subway-car reefs are planned off the coast of Maryland, and since 2001 others have been created in Delaware and New Jersey waters from an earlier batch of about 1,200 cars released by the MTA. Positive developments by all accounts.

[Image Credits: Stephen Mallon]