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MTA: Hop on board vintage subway train


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MTA: Hop on board vintage subway train

By Kristen V. Brown | Special to amNewYork

December 3, 2007



Every Sunday in Dec MTA will have nostalgia trains on the tracks. This one was on V line

from Queens Plaza. (Kristen V. Brown, Newsday / December 2, 2007)


Rodney Cox had taken two subway lines from his Upper West Side home to catch a vintage nostalgia train at the 53rd and Lexington station -- only to arrive just as it pulled away.


But Cox, who rode such trains until they were pulled from service in the 1970s, could have cared less about waiting another hour for it to come back. "Maybe I'll ride it a couple of times back and forth today, and I'll probably come back next weekend also," he said.


The old cars are usually stored at the New York City Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights, but every Sunday this December, the MTA will operate a 1930s to 1940s six-car train on the V line, running from Queens Plaza to Second Avenue in Manhattan, a part of the line's run. The museum has 88 of the vintage cars, 20 of which are on display. This year's holiday line is made up of cars from the R-1 through R-9 series that used to operate on the IND and BMT lines.


"This is real New York City history," said Randy Weingarten, an electrician who volunteers restoring old subway cars at the Trolley Museum of New York. "Each car is different, with its own personality."


While many V line riders came especially for the occasion, others were confused when the rickety train -- complete with ceiling fans, wicker seats and vintage ads for Campbell Soup -- pulled into the station.


Steve Davis, the train's operator, is one of the few MTA employees with the know-how to operate these trains,. Davis is a second-generation train operator, and these are the trains his father used to drive. "This is not only part of my job, but part of my hobby," Davis said. "I like working with vintage equipment. This train doesn't just have a silver box with fluorescent lights. It's more complicated."


Cox, 46, a computer technician, was just happy to be reliving part of his youth.


"I think it's a nice little Christmas present from the MTA," says Cox, smiling as the train finally pulled up.

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