Field Trip Friday: Nostalgia Train

Two Sundays ago, OHNY staffer Hae-In took a ride on the 1930s-era “Nostalgia Shoppers’ Special,” a yearly tradition that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority runs during the holidays, which ran along the V Line between Long Island City, Queens and Lower Manhattan.

Nostalgia train

The Nostalgia Shoppers’ Special ran on Sundays in December and was made up of subway cars in service from the 1930’s to the 1970’s, running along the lettered lines from Grand Concourse to Coney Island. State-of-the-art when they were first placed in service, the cars were removed about 30 years ago and eventually replaced by the stainless steel ones we ride today.

Special route

Many of these vintage trains are housed at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights and the trains are used to help raise money to benefit the museum, an arm of the MTA. They own 88 vintage subway cars and 20 of them are on display on the tracks in the museum’s lower level.

Inside the train

Vintage ads

The vintage cars had wicker seats and ceiling fans, as well as old subway ads and hand straps.

Train conductor

Except for a two-year period from 2001 to 2003, the Nostalgia Trains have run since 1979. The trains are run by regular subway conductors and train operators who receive special training.


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