Lonely Planet Writer

Travel back in time on a New York City vintage subway car this holiday season

With the swipe of a MetroCard, straphangers in the Big Apple can travel back in time this holiday season. The MTA New York City Transit is bringing back vintage subway cars and buses as part of its annual program in collaboration with the New York Transit Museum.

New York is bringing back vintage subway cars.
New York is bringing back vintage subway cars. Image by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

The “Shoppers Special” train is made up of eight city cars, originally from the 1930’s to the 1970’s, and features rattan seats, incandescent bulb lighting, ceiling fans, drop-sash style windows, and roll signs. “The inspiration for these Shoppers Specials actually dates back to the activities we scheduled for the 100th birthday of the subway back in 2004,” Vice President of Corporate Communications for NYC Transit Paul J. Fleuranges told Lonely Planet.

“On the actual 100th birthday, we ran several vintage trains around the system in regular passenger service. The trains were such a hit that we worked with our colleagues in the Department of Subways to run them again during the holidays that year.”

The vintage train will run on the F line from the 2nd Avenue to Queens Plaza stations on Sundays 4, 11 and 18 December from 10:05 a.m. to 4:44 p.m. Hailing from the late 1940’s to the early 1970’s, vintage buses are also making an appearance — travelling across 42nd Street along the M42 route on weekdays from 5 to 21 December, from 9 am to 9 pm. If you miss the Shoppers Special this season, the New York Transit Museum (where the historic cars can be viewed year-round) hosts weekend excursions using the vintage fleet several times a year.