If you’re riding the subway on a Sunday during holiday season, you might be in for a treat. From Queens Plaza in LIC to 2nd Ave in Manhattan, the MTA is replacing the M train with a vintage train, featuring cars dating back to the 1930s and 1940s. We took a ride this past weekend and it was a lot of fun.
The vintage subway pulls into the stations just like a regular F or M train, and passengers can use it for normal transportation. But it has a holiday wreath on the front, and the cars are a mix of R1 cars, manufactured between 1930 and 1931, and R9 cars, which were built in 1940. The seats (cushioned!), straps, poles, and ventilation systems (ceiling fans!) are all preserved from decades ago.
The cars are lined with old notices and advertisements that are fascinating to read today. You can see ads for the World’s Fair, Rockaways’ Playland, Crisco, and Aunt Jemima; and public notices encouraging people to use ZIP codes when sending mail and informing them about the brand new Triborough Bridge.
The best part of all might be watching subway riders’ reactions as they see the classic cars pull up and get the chance to experience a ride through history. The vintage train, especially if it comes as a surprise, is likely to brighten everyone’s day.
You can catch the vintage train every Sunday in December, five times throughout the day from Queens Plaza or Court Sq-23rd St in LIC, or any stop along the M line in Manhattan down to Broadway-Lafayette, as well as the 2nd Ave F stop.