1930s Subway Train Rumbles Through Queens, Manhattan

Curators’ Corner

1930s Subway Train Rumbles Through Queens, Manhattan

A relic 8-car NYC subway train from the 1930s made a ceremonial trip on the A line last week, taking hundreds of lucky passengers on a surprise old school ride.

Subway riders waiting at stations along the way were welcomed through aged doors to woven wicker seats, ceiling fans and 30s commuter culture. Vintage original ads touted Clark Bars, Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews, Levy’s Rye Bread and “Saturday Nite” Coney Island fireworks.

The cars were taken out of storage and borrowed from the New York Transit Museum to celebrate the reopening of a stretch of subway tracks damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The October hurricane devastated the Rockaways in Queens, flooding subway stations and disabling nearly 4 miles of tracks, according to the Associated Press. Service between Howard Beach and Broad Channel had been down since the storm hit, and AP said the Metropolitan Transit Authority spent more than $75 million restoring service to the Rockaways.

The eighty-something-year-old train made a one-way trip uptown from Beach 116th Street in Queens to 168th Street in Manhattan. The cars were then retired to the 207th Street transit yard, and cars borrowed from the Transit Museum will be returned to their home in Brooklyn.

The cars operated on the opening of the original A line of the Independent Subway System (or IND line) in 1932. Brooklyn native Ken Perl, who rode the A train as a youngster in the 1950s, told AP he couldn’t believe his eyes when he got on the commemorative train, and decided to ride it to the last stop.

“I rode these trains way back when,” Perl told AP. “And it still goes damn good.”

If you caught the 30s train, we sure hope you snapped a few photos of revived NYC history. If you missed it (or for some reason didn’t take pictures), check out the New York Transit Museum for a similar trip back in time.

AP Photo (via Fox News)