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MTA Holiday Nostalgia Trains


MTA Holiday Nostalgia Trains continue service on Saturday, December 4th. More are scheduled for the 11th and 18th. The flashback is a treat from the New York Transit Museum. It recalls a whole different era in the city and for mass transit.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

All aboard! MTA Holiday Nostalgia Trains include snappy conductors… How far have we come? And in what direction…?

It’s an annual event that paused during the pandemic and one well worth the ride.

I remember my first time. Doesn’t everyone? Exhausted from working the Christmas markets, I climbed downstairs to the 8th Avenue, 14th Street station, and my grasp on reality was instantly challenged.

I entered in the 21st Century, then found myself tumbling back to the 1930s.

As I gawked in disbelief, someone called out from the impossible-to-believe M Train. Something about how it was a “real train.” I didn’t get on. Who the hell knew where that baby was going?

Recovered, at home, I read all about the old timers and fell in love.

Get the full schedule, including when and where to board a holiday nostalgia train here.

1930s Vintage R1/9S Trains Inspired by Billy Strayhorn’s Take the A Train

Here’s what the New York Transit Museum has to say about the MTA Holiday Nostalgia Trains…

When the IND subway — the first subway company operated by the City of New York — opened in 1932, it had a mission to move more people more quickly than its private competitors, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT). Over 1,000 nearly identical subway cars were delivered between 1930 and 1940 under contracts, R1, R4, R6, R7, and R9. The cars were modern for their time, fitting in very well with the IND’s Depression-Era Art Deco aesthetic, and each could hold nearly 300 passengers. Upon delivery, they featured rattan seats, paddle ceiling fans (installed before the age of air conditioning), incandescent light bulbs, roll signs, and period advertisements. These cars, which inspired Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the A Train”, went into service on the Eighth Avenue line (today’s A, C, E) in 1932 and ran until 1977.

New York Transit Museum

Enjoy a free ride on us…

If you can’t get the real thing, here’s a substitute.

When and Where to take the Trains

Get on board! Find the full schedule and more here.

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