MTA Press Releases

Press Release
October 24, 2014
IMMEDIATE
MTA New York City Transit Celebrates 110 Years of Subways
Vintage Train Rides in Historic Subway Cars to Mark Anniversary

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is celebrating the 110th anniversary of the New York City subway system with two days of opportunities for the public to take the train as generations of customers have done in the past.

The first subway line, which connected City Hall with Harlem, opened on Oct. 27, 1904. That four-track line ran under Park Avenue South to Grand Central, across 42nd Street to Times Square, and up Broadway to 145th Street.

“The subway system has come a long way since that fall day in 1904,” said New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. “More than 100 years ago, you could only take the subway for that one stretch in Manhattan. Now we can get from the top of the Bronx to the beaches of Far Rockaway with just one swipe of a MetroCard. It’s remarkable how the system has evolved over the years, and we’re excited to show customers what the future will bring with the opening of Fulton Center and the 7 Line extension to the far west side on the horizon.”

To give customers a trip to the past, NYCT will run two vintage trains express along the Broadway 123 Line between 96 St and Times Sq-42 St. One train will consist of four Low-Voltage subway cars that were in service until the late 1960s. Those cars feature rattan seats, ceiling fans and drop-sash windows. The other train, known as the “Train of Many Colors,” is made up of R33 and R36-type subway cars that were in service between the 1960s and 2001. An example of such cars, which were known as SMEE for their braking system, is the so-called “redbird” cars that many New Yorkers are familiar with. This particular “Train of Many Colors” has SMEE cars of various versions and appearances, including four painted the MTA silver mist and blue; one green coupled with a redbird; a pair of fire-engine red cars, and the last two redbirds removed from service.

On Sunday, between noon and 5 p.m.:

• The Low-Voltage train leaves Times Sq-42 St at noon; 1 p.m.; 2 p.m.; 3 p.m.; 4 p.m., and 5 p.m. It leaves 96 St at 12:30 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.; 2:30 p.m.; 3:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.

• The “Train of Many Colors” leaves 96 St at noon; 1 p.m.; 2 p.m.; 3 p.m.; 4 p.m., and 5 p.m. It departs Times Square-42 St at 12:30 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.; 2:30 p.m.; 3:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.

On Monday, October 27, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.:

• The Low-Voltage train leaves Times Sq-42 St on the hour. It departs 96 St at half past the hour.

Customers do not have to pay extra fare to take a ride on one of these Nostalgia Trains. For more information on the trains or to see more of them on display, visit the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights.

An example of an IRT train consisting of Low-Voltage cars from 1917. Credit: Courtesy of New York Transit Museum
An example of an IRT train consisting of Low-Voltage cars from 1917. Credit: Courtesy of New York Transit Museum