Annual Tradition Lets Holiday Weekend Customers Take a Rail Back in Time
MTA Fresh York City Transit and the Fresh York Transit Museum are putting extra magic on the rails with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s annual holiday tradition of rails to the past via its vintage fleet. These subway cars will help customers practice the most magical time of year the way that Fresh York straphangers did long ago.
A special eight-car subway train that is typically displayed in the Transit Museum is put into service for special Sunday rails. This “Shoppers Special” takes customers inbetween Lower Manhattan to Queens on four consecutive Sundays from Thanksgiving weekend to the week before Christmas, all for the swipe of a MetroCard.
The “Shoppers Special” consists of R1/9 subway cars, also known as City Cars, which ran on the lettered lines from the 1930s to the 1970s, serving subway lines that may be unacquainted to current customers, such as the , , , and H. The jazz composer Billy Strayhorn would have taken a City Car to Sugar Hill when Duke Ellington told him to “Take the A Train.” These subway cars, which were ordered for the Independent Subway System (IND), have rattan seats, ceiling fans, incandescent bulb lighting, drop-sash style windows, and roll signs. They became the model of NYC Transit’s modern subway cars, with the same dimensions as the modern R160s and the foundation for the design of the upcoming R211 cars.
“We owe a good deal to these City Cars, because they were durable work horses that remained in our fleet for forty years. They are the foundation of every subway car we have designed since, and they proceed to serve as a reminder of our past and how far we have come in design and customer convenience,” said Wynton Habersham, NYC Transit’s Senior Vice President of Subways. “Our customers love railing these vintage classics every year, and we love demonstrating them off.”
Seven of the cars on the “Shoppers Special” are almost identical except one: No. 1575, which emerges much more modern than the rest of the consist. No. One thousand five hundred seventy five is the prototype for the subway car class that followed the R1/9, with amenities such as fluorescent lights and smaller ceiling fans. Customers can visit the train year-round at the Transit Museum, tho’ it sometimes makes guest appearances for special occasions such as anniversaries and the holidays.
The “Shoppers Special” runs via the six Av Line inbetween two Av and Queens Plaza beginning the Sunday after Thanksgiving, on the following dates: November 27, December Four, December eleven and December Eighteen.