Every Sunday in December 2007 is special. The MTA is running the Nostalgia train. This train consist of various cars built between 1930 and 1940, models R-1 through R-9, which were in operation until the 1970’s. The train runs on the same schedule as a V train, making all stops between Queens Plaza and 2nd Ave. I rode the train from 23st & Ely (by the new citi corp building) to the end of the line at 2nd Ave. Then back up to 14st on its return to queens plaza (where I did some holiday shopping). I was lucky enough to catch the train for a return trip at 14st and took it back to 23st & Ely.
All of the staff members were very friendly. They were more than willing to answer passengers questions and they all wore a smile. Whether sitting on the wicker seats or standing by the doors, all staffers appeared as if they truly enjoyed the experience. It was especially entertaining to see the looks on people faces as the 70+ year old trains pulled into each station. It seemed that only a small percentage of the people waiting at each station knew what the train was all about. Some rode the train after being informed that it made the same stops as the V train. There were still hundreds, if not thousands of people that were aware of the train. The first car was especially crowded, thinning out as you went further back. The doors between each car were all propped open to allow for airflow through the train. In the first car they were even running the ceiling fans (see the pictures) and had the windows open. Although this practice might have been common when these cars were in active service, this has never been the case in my lifetime. In fact many of the trains today lock the doors between each car. I also loved how the staff straddled cars pulling into each station so they could monitor passengers when opening and closing the doors. There was an unmistakable scent of grease burning off of the bearings (something you don’t smell in a modern car). The cars also have an especially bumpy ride. Thank god for those wicker seats which adequately cushioned your backside during what could otherwise be a painful ride.
If you live in NYC or are visiting during the month of December I would definitely recommend riding the nostalgia train! If you would like to see some pictures of the train you can visit my image gallery located here: 2007 MTA Nostalgia Train Pictures. Below you will also find a YouTube video of the train.