Nostalgia Ride at Orchard Beach and City Island

A Lo-V Train docked at Pelham Bay Park Station.
Photo by New York Transit Museum/ James Giovan

Bronxites heading for some sun and surf next month can do so in classic style on a Nostalgia Ride to Orchard Beach – by rail and bus.

The special one-day event, will feature WWI-era subway cars and a fleet of vintage buses dating back to 1949, making tracks on Saturday, August 8 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Hosted by the New York Transit Museum, this journey through time allows guests to travel as their elders might have in decades past.

According to a NYTM spokesperson, the Nostalgia Train departs from Grand Central Station at 11 a.m. sharp traveling south to the Brooklyn Bridge before traveling north via the 4 and 6 lines to Pelham Bay Park and arriving there by 11:30 a.m.

The Orchard Beach nostalgia train will be a “Low-Voltage” train built between 1916 and 1925 for service on the IRT line.

The NYTM spokesperson explained Lo-V’s get their name from the motorman’s master controller which used 32-volt batteries to control the train’s propulsion rather than the 600 volts used in earlier IRT equipment.

Nearly 1,200 Lo-V cars travelled the New York subway and were among the last cars owned by the IRT before the city took control of the subway system in 1940.

Once at Pelham Bay Park, visitors can take a relaxing stroll through the park or jump aboard the museum’s vintage buses to Orchard Beach and City Island for some fun in the sun.

The museum is steward to more than 20 retired vehicles housed at depots throughout the city and its collection most notably includes the iconic ‘Jackie Gleason Bus’ and the first ever air-conditioned bus in the country.

The buses featured at this year’s Nostalgia Ride reflect more than half a century of transit innovations such as sliding windows, push exit doors, air conditioning and power steering.

In previous years, the Nostalgia Ride included a vintage train ride to Pelham Bay Park and then a vintage bus ride to Orchard Beach as the sole destination, but this year vintage buses will mark the first time they will be taking guests to visit City Island.

For the trip home, buses will begin to shuttle back from Orchard Beach at 3 p.m. and will depart promptly from the Pelham Bay Park Station at 4:30 p.m.

The train will travel down to Brooklyn Bridge via the 4 and 6 lines and then back up to Grand Central Terminal and will make the stops at 125th Street, 86th Street, 59th Street, Grand Central Terminal – southbound, Brooklyn Bridge and Grand Central Terminal – northbound.

“We love the idea of bringing people from all five boroughs to destinations all over the city and the Bronx is one of our favorite places to go,” Elyse Newman, NYTM Education Manager said.

“For those who don’t live in the Bronx this is a great opportunity to visit a beautiful beach and an island that they may not otherwise visit. Our subway riders also support local businesses through shopping, dining and visiting other cultural institutions at our Nostalgia Ride destinations,” she added.

“Nostalgia Rides like this one are great for all those who have experienced riding in these vehicles before and it’s good for a person who did not grow up in those eras to see what life was like back then. People today can get a feel of the past and better understand what their parents and grandparents experienced when they were their age,” Lloyd Ultan, Bronx Borough Historian.

The NYTM spokesperson said tickets will be on sale until the evening before the ride and advanced tickets are required as none will be sold at the door.

For tickets and more information about this event, visit www.mta.info/museum/programs.

Residents board a vintage bus at last year’s ‘Nostalgia Ride’ at Orchard Beach.
Photo by New York Transit Museum/ James Giovan

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