All aboard! Vintage train exhibit chugs into Brighton Beach

Ticket to ride: Brooklynites can ride the vintage trains, which come with antique ads and woven benches made with orange cloth, for the cost of a standard subway ride.
James Giovan courtesty of the New York Transit Museum

Take a ride down memory train!

Antique subway cars will transport riders to the early 20th century later this month, shuttling passengers on round-trip rides from Brighton Beach Station for the swipe of a MetroCard. The New York Transit Museum’s “Parade of Trains” event, coming to Brighton Beach for its fifth year on Sept. 28 and 29, will showcase four distinct trains spanning six decades of New York City history.

One of the featured antiques, the Brooklyn Rapid Transit elevated car, is among the oldest in the Museum’s collection. The 1903 train was the first motorized subway in the borough, and carried passengers in wooden cars equipped with metal gates, with then-new-fangled electric lights hanging overhead.

The elevated transport is not only among the oldest in the city — it is one of the oldest in the country, said the Museum’s director.

“We are extremely fortunate to have some of the oldest rolling stock in the U.S. that still rolls,” said Concetta Bencivenga. “And what better way to ensure that remains the case than to bring the heart of the Museum to the rails in Brighton Beach?”

Three other trains will join the 1903 train cars in transporting visitors to different eras in the subway’s history, from 1910 to 1960.

One of the four trains will set off every few minutes from the Brighton Beach Station, either making a short round trip to Ocean Parkway and back (one station away), or taking a longer trip to Kings Highway (four stations away) — although the doors will only open at Brighton Beach.

The event will be a sort of homecoming for the locomotives, many of which originally rode along Brighton Beach’s shoreline.

In 1877, a local transit company built elevated train lines in Coney Island and Brighton Beach, shuttling visitors to and from the island’s resorts, according to subway historians. The original Brighton Beach Station, built in 1878, was one of the steam train stops, and remains one of the borough’s oldest subway terminals.

Between rides, history buffs will be able to visit the Transit Museum’s stand inside the Brighton Beach Station, where they can get information on the trains, as well as free temporary tattoos, which will depict vintage trains, buses and conductors badges.

“Parade of Trains” at Brighton Beach Station [on Brighton Beach Avenue between Brighton Sixth and Brighton Seventh streets. (718) 694–1600.]. Sept. 28 and 29; 11 a.m.–4 p.m. $2.75.

Reach reporter Rose Adams at or by calling (718) 260–8306. Follow her on Twitter @rose_n_adams
Training day: A series of vintage trains from the early 20th century will set off from the Brighton Beach station on Sept. 28 and 29.
James Giovan courtesy of the New York Transit Museum

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