The Transit Museum’s Nostalgia Trains will ride again after a two-year hiatus

The Transit Museum's Nostalgia Trains will ride again after a two-year hiatus

After a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic, the Transit Museum’s Nostalgia Trains are running again this summer, ready to transport you across the city in the same machinery that New Yorkers used in the early 20th century.

The Transit Museum has been running Nostalgia Rides since 1976, giving straphangers the chance to hold literal straps aboard authentic vintage trains that don’t have automated voice announcements, air conditioning or bright fluorescent lighting.

All the cars are from the Transit Museum’s collection. In addition to being fun for transit enthusiasts, the trips are also essential to keeping the cars in a functional state.

“The vintage cars aren’t replicas,” said Transit Museum spokesperson Chelsea Newburg. “So, similar to an automobile, keeping our train cars rail-worthy actually requires moving the fleet. So the museum’s Nostalgia Rides are a bit of a win-win: it gives the Transit Museum the opportunity to get those vintage train cars moving and out on the rails, and it also gives New Yorkers a chance to take a ride on the same cars that they would have rode more than a century ago.”

There will be three rides this summer, with the first in June giving riders a glimpse of the decommissioned Old South Ferry Loop, which was opened in 1905 and closed to the public since 2017. The second ride in July is the beloved Coney Island Nostalgia Ride , and the last one will transport people to the Rockaways.

Check out all the info on the rides below.

Catch the IRT from Old South Ferry Loop on Saturday, June 4th at 9:30 am: a non-stop roundtrip ride on 1916-1925 IRT “Lo-V” cars will depart from the old South Ferry station. Before the ride, people can take photos of the train and of details like original mosaics and terracotta artwork in this 1905 station. The train will then travel up the 2 line through Manhattan to The Bronx, then turn around and head back for one last look at South Ferry Station.
Beach Bound: Coney Island on Sunday, July 10th at 10 am: the 1930s R1-9 vintage train cars will leave from the 96th Street-Second Avenue Station in Manhattan and head to Coney Island. Once there, the Transit Museum also has a special exhibit Five Cents to Dreamland: A Trip to Coney Island on display at the Coney Island Museum. You can make your own way home or join the Transit Museum for a return trip leaving Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue at 4 pm and traveling to 175th Street in Manhattan via the Q, D, and A lines where the trip will end.
To the Rockaways by Rail on Saturday, August 13th at 10 am: the 1930s R 1-9 vintage train cars will depart from 96th Street-Second Avenue Station in Manhattan to Rockaway Park-Beach 116th Street in Queens. You can also ride the Museum’s vintage trains back to the city at the end of the afternoon, departing Rockaway Park at 4 pm and traveling via the A line to 175th Street in Manhattan.

Newburg, of the Transit Museum, adds that riders are encouraged to explore the Nostalgia Trains while onboard: “The trains are unlike anything you’d see on the rails today,” she said. “Guests can feel the vintage rattan seats and hold on to the old handrails. It is an immersive experience.”

“They can also read period advertisements, which I find absolutely fascinating,” Newburg added. “You can see what types of products and events were advertised to subway riders over a century ago, and also read some PSAs of the era, including some transit etiquette ads. So you’ll see tons of Subway Sun [ads] and you might even find an Etti-Cat poster if you’re looking.”

Tickets cost $60 for adults and $40 for kids — for museum members it’s $40 for adults and $30 for kids. You can get more ticket info here.

There have been no full Nostalgia Rides or Holiday Nostalgia Rides since 2019; the only exception was a free non-stop ride to the Yankees home opener last month, but those cars were on the rails for less than an hour. You can check out photos of previous Nostalgia Rides here.

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