Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Next Train Out!

Here's more of my visit to the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn.  I'm flashing forward in time to 1927.  The BRT has become the BMT (Brooklyn Manhattan Transit), one of two privately owned systems in New York.  The other is the IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit Corporation).  After 1913, the city built the lines and leased them to these two operators.  This 1927 car is a BMT D-type triplex.

The BMT was looking for ways to economically transport more people.  The triplex was one way to do this.  The three cars were articulated, with hinged connections between the cars.  Interestingly, there was some controversy just a few years ago when New York added articulated buses to its ground fleet.  Some people dislike the longer, hinged buses.  As you can see here, it's not a new idea!

The interior is familiar, with the rattan upholstered seats and bare light bulbs.  Note the "handlebars" instead of leather straps for standing riders.

Be careful when reaching for the bar!  You might catch your hand in the ceiling fan!  A safer alternative if you're standing is the handle on the back of one of the aisle seats!

In 1932, the first line of the IND (Independent Subway System) opened.  Unlike the BMT and IRT, the IND was city owned and operated.   The IND was intended to relieve congestion on Manhattan's west side and allow some of the elevated lines to be torn down.   Here's an IND R-4 "City Car" from 1932, designed to transport larger numbers of passengers in relative comfort.

On the inside, the cars are wider, brighter, and more "open" than some of the earlier models.  Note that the light bulbs are now covered and the leather straps are replaced with metal hinged "straps".  Ceiling fans remain.

The IND would like to remind you of a few simple rules: please keep hands off the doors, and passengers are forbidden to ride outside the doors!  What do you think this is, one of those fancy articulated cars?

In 1940, the city bought the BMT and IRT lines (both were in trouble economically).  The New York Transit Authority took over all transit in 1953.  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority took over in 1968.  When I lived in New York in the 1980's, the city had run the three subway lines for decades, but people still referred to the IRT, BMT and IND, and signs in many stations did likewise.  Today, there are two subway divisions:  The IRT is the A division, with numbered trains (except for the Times Square-Grand Central Shuttle), and the BMT and IND lines make up the B division, with trains designated by letters.

Tomorrow, we flash forward to more vintage subway cars and some terrific period advertising on board!

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