MTA to take riders on a trip to the past with vintage subway cars, buses

Photos courtesy of the MTA

Straphangers will ride into the past to welcome the holiday season this year.

The MTA and the New York Transit Museum have announced that they will be coming together to “put extra magic on the tracks” with the transit agency’s annual custom of giving subway riders trips to the past via vintage fleet of buses and subway trains.

For four consecutive Sundays, starting this weekend, riders will be able to hop on the “Shoppers Special,” a train made up of eight cars from the 1930s that ran along lettered lines until being retired from service in 1977.

The train will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 6, 13, 20 and 27, making local stops on the Sixth Avenue line from Queens Plaza to 2nd Ave. as an M train.

The first train of the day will depart from 2nd Ave., where a special museum pop-up shop will be open every Sunday during the rides.

“For all intents and purposes, this was the first modern subway car and today’s subway fleets owe a lot to the design,” said Senior Vice President of Subways Joe Leader. “They were basic, durable and offered the expected levels of customer comfort for decades after they were introduced into service. We continue to build upon this strong foundation with each new car design.”

The cars running on the “Shoppers Special” were the first to be identified by their contract numbers and were ordered for the Independent Subway System (IND). These R1/9 cars, also known as “City-Cars,” feature rattan seats, ceiling fans, incandescent light bulbs and roll signs for passenger information.

The design of the cars — including more doors that were wider and faster, and increased standing capacity to accommodate crowds — served as a model for the modern cars.

Along with the subway cars, the MTA will also be implementing a fleet of vintage buses on the M42 route for weekday daytime service between Nov. 30 and Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The buses — which will only be available weather permitting — were manufactured by General Motors, Mack and Flexible, which no longer produce buses.

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