Ride into the past with the MTA Holiday Nostalgia Train – Metro US

Ride into the past with the MTA Holiday Nostalgia Train

The holiday train. The vintage cars. The MTA holiday train. The shopper’s special. Whatever you call it, it’s back, but this year, with a celebratory twist.

Ride back in time as you travel along the F subway line on the Holiday Nostalgia Train. Typically, the train runs from Queens to Manhattan on the M line, but this year, in celebration of the Second Avenue Subway’s opening a year ago, a new route is planned.

The holiday train will run on the Second Avenue Subway line from 96th Street (Q) to Lexington Avenue/63rd Street (F/Q), then make local stops along the Sixth Avenue (B/D/F/M) to Second Avenue (F). 

The holiday train is made up of subway cars that were in service from 1932 and operated until 1977. Vintage, babe. But back in the day, the incandescent lighting, ceiling fans and padded seats were a futuristic leap. The R1-9 cars also feature drop-sash style windows, vintage roll signs and original advertisements.

Far from your average subway ride, straphangers can chill in the wicker seats of the cars that have been out of service for more than 30 years.

With just a swipe of your Metro card (undoubtedly much more than the original Metro fare), you can bask in the nostalgia of an age-gone-by as New Yorkers wait for the next phase of subway renovations.

When does the holiday train run?

The holiday train will run from every Sunday through Christmas Eve:

Nov. 26

Dec. 3

Dec. 10

Dec. 17

Dec. 24

The first trip departs Second Avenue at 10 a.m. and the final return trip leaves 96th Street at 5 p.m. 

Holiday train full schedule

The holiday train leaves Second Avenue on the F line:

10 a.m.


2 p.m.

4 p.m.

The holiday train leaves 96th Street on the Q line:

11 a.m.

1 p.m.

3 p.m.

5 p.m.

Holiday buses

Fancy a ride on a bus that looks like the coach Ralph Kramden drove in the TV show The Honeymooners? That one is nicknamed Jackie Gleason.

From Dec. 5 through the 21, those who prefer wheels on the ground can take a bus ride back to the ‘50s and ‘60s as the annual vintage bus tradition continues.

The “historic coaches” will be making runs river to river along 42nd Street in Manhattan making all stops on the M42 route between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays (weather permitting).

“Customers who come out for a ride on one of our vintage buses can see for themselves how far our fleet has come and see how our bus designs have evolved over time,” said President of MTA Bus Company and Senior Vice President of NYC Transit Department of Buses Darryl Irick. “Our buses from the 1950s, for example, were the first to have some amenities that customers may recognize, such as push type rear exit doors and fluorescent lighting, or comforts they might take for granted, such as air conditioning and air-ride suspension for smoother rides like the ones we still provide.”

The two major firms that produced the early buses, General Motors and Mack, no longer design buses.

Holiday buses to look for, per MTA

Bus No. 2969, a GM model TDH 5101 designed in 1949 is known as the Jackie Gleason bus for its resemblance to the one driven by Gleason’s character, Ralph Kramden, in the television show The Honeymooners.

Another vintage GM bus, No. 9098, is a model TDH 5106 that longtime New York residents might remember for its distinct two-tone green color scheme and its fiberglass seats, a change from earlier buses with cushioned seating that was prone to vandalism.