THE COMMUTE: It’s time to take a break from cleaning Superstorm Sandy’s remains out of your basement. It’s time to forget your problems and take a brief, cheap vacation into the times of yesteryear by riding the Nostalgia Train.
Yes, the MTA has brought back this popular feature of the holiday season every Sunday from Thanksgiving to Christmas. You can board at the Second Avenue Station in Manhattan, where the train has a 20-minute layover making it easy to conveniently walk between cars to see the different cars in operation, and read and photograph all the old time advertisements.
You can also board at Queens Plaza or any station in between on the M line, where it operates. The train, however, does not linger at Queens Plaza. You have to get off and go to the Manhattan-bound platform for the trip back unless you are on the final trip of the day. In that case, you would have to take the E or the R back to Manhattan and transfer to a Brooklyn-bound train there.
In past years, there have been jazz bands and riders dressed in period costumes. This is a great family event and a fun time is had by all, those who remember riding these trains with the wicker seats and incandescent light bulbs and those for whom this is a new experience. Whatever you do, do not wait until the last minute. Since these trains only operate once a year and are maintained by volunteers, they are not in the best operating condition and can break down with some trips being canceled. So allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy this yearly event for the price of a subway fare. Next year it will cost more, and if you want to ride these old trains during other times of the year on other routes, other than from Grand Central to Yankee Stadium, you can expect to pay at least $40 per person for trips arranged by the New York Transit Museum.
So take advantage of this bargain while you can. You will find everyone in a festive holiday mood speaking to each other, unlike your typical morning commute. Here is the schedule and more details about the train.
The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).
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