For some reason, I always seem to hear about MTA Nostalgia runs after the fact. So when I read that the MTA was running some vintage trains this weekend, I made it a point to ride one. My search for vintage trains was successful; there are a few pictures posted below.
My trip started at Grand Central, after waiting around for a while, I got antsy and decided to take a 4 train downtown knowing that I might pass the Nostalgia Special in the tunnel. Be it by sheer luck or perhaps a sixth sense, I got off at Fulton Street, walked over to the uptown side and was greeted by an arriving vintage train. I rode up to 59th Street and back out to Utica Avenue snapping pictures most of the way. I was about to call it a day and take a non-vintage train back from Utica Avenue when one of the MTA guys on the train told me that the train running on the N line was even older than the one we were riding. That was enough information to change my plans.
More waiting at Union Square, but it was worth it. While the train running on the 4 line had some old cars on it, they were not entirely unlike the trains that were found quite frequently on the IRT just a couple years ago. The train running on the N line this weekend was quite different however. Many of the cars had incandescent lighting only, complete with the special Transit Authority bulbs (with reverse threads to prevent theft). They also had ceiling fans and a general lack of public address systems. It was also interesting that the conductor seemed to control the doors from outside the train (between cars) rather than from a booth inside the train.
The MTA is running these nostalgia specials on weekends through December 19th. For some reason, they don’t seem to publicize these trains much, if at all, but Gothamist has additional schedule information. It looks like December 18th and 19th might be the easiest days to catch a train since they will be running on the Times Square Shuttle line.