Next stop, the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean!
The bottom of the Atlantic Ocean is surely one of the last places expecting to spot a subway car. At first this act sounds like a huge environment crime, but there is also another plan than just getting rid of the retired subway cars. Old New York subway cars are given a new life and used to create an artificial reef on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
Before the final destination, subway cars have went through a careful process which photographer Stephen Mallon followed over three years. First the carriages were cleaned and all the possible parts for example seats and wheels were removed, recycled or sold to be reused. After that those were stacked onto a barge and transferred to the open sea between Delaware and South Carolina, to be sunk to their final resting place.
The purpose of this project have been to use the old subway cars to form a long artificial reef which offers a good and safe living environment for many species. Artificial reef project took over ten years to finish and it was run by New York's Metropolitan transit authority (MTA). It ended in 2010 and before that all together over 2500 subway cars were sunk! Jeffrey Tinsman, artificial reef program manager tells that carriages are holding up well and those are providing a shelter and a good hard surface to live on for example fish and blue mussels. Tinsman told also that the amount of food available per square foot is 400 times more than compared to the sand bottom where the artificial subway car reef is located.
Here's some pictures taken by Stephen Mallon from different phases of the project.
This sanctuary of retired subway cars would surely be a unique diving location. It would be also interesting to dive the site during a time span of many years and follow how the artificial reef is developing and how the life around it will start to flourish. Maybe some dive centers are already arranging dive trips to these sites...
Here's some images found from the Viral Forest article where you can see the differences after five and ten years.
Sources: CNN, Stephen Mallon, Viral Forest
Images: Stephen Mallon, unless otherwise mentioned.