The MTA dusted off one of its vintage 1930s-era subway trains and put it back in service on Sunday, as part of its annual holiday nostalgia train service. The old R1/9 train operated on the M line between Queens Plaza and 2nd Avenue, giving commuters a taste of what mass transit was like back when Jimmy Walker was mayor. Check out the video:
If you want to take a spin on this old beauty, you'll have more chances on the remaining Sundays in December. Here are some more details about the old train from the MTA:
For four consecutive Sundays in December, subway customers can catch the “Shoppers Special,” a train consisting of eight cars from the 1930s that ran along the lettered lines until the late 1970s. The cars, which were ordered for the Independent Subway System (IND), were the first subway cars to be identified by their contract numbers, hence the R1/9 designations.
R1/9 cars, known as "City-Cars," have rattan seats, ceiling fans, incandescent light bulbs, and roll signs for passenger information. Their design of more doors that were also wider and faster, plus increased standing capacity to accommodate crowds, served as the model of modern subway cars, and their dimensions are identical to the latest R160 cars. They were retired from service in 1977.
“For all intents and purposes, this was the first modern subway car and today’s subway fleets owe a lot to the design,” Joe Leader, Senior Vice President of Subways, said in a statement. “They were basic, durable and offered the expected levels of customer comfort for decades after they were introduced into service. We continue to build upon this strong foundation with each new car design.”
For the transit nostalgia completists, the MTA is also operating a vintage bus across 42 Street along the M42 route, on weekdays through December 18th. Get more details on the bus and train schedules here. And here are more details about the old subway cars the MTA is bringing back for this:
Subway Car No. 100: Manufactured by American Car & Foundry, this R1-type car was the first car in the initial order of 300 placed in service for the opening of the IND subway.
Subway Car No. 484: Part of a 500-car order of R4 cars manufactured by American Car & Foundry. In 1946, this car received a retrofit of bulls-eye lighting and a public address system.
Subway Car No. 1575: Originally manufactured as an R7, this car was sent to the American Car & Foundry factory and rebuilt as prototype of the next generation R10 subway car.
Subway Car No. 6095: In 1925, the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) introduced a three-car articulated unit called the D-Type Triplex. The design meant passengers could walk from one car to another in the unit through an enclosed passageway. They carried more passengers and had fewer moving parts, making them efficient and easier to maintain.