Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA

Animated Video Features Historical Overview of Subway Train Models in the Transit System from Opening Day in 1904 to Latest Trains in 2023

Station Agents Distribute Commemorative Anniversary Stickers at Select Stations Throughout System

View Subway Day 2023 Video

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today celebrated the 119th anniversary of the subway system by unveiling a special edition animated video that features a historical overview of subway train models that have been running in the transit system since opening day in 1904 to the latest train in service in 2023. The video is being played on digital screens across the transit system and on social media platforms to highlight this special day in history. In addition to the video, station agents from New York City Transit (NYCT) greeted riders at Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D​​​​​​​​, N​, Q, R and Fulton Street A, C, J, Z, 2, 3, 4, 5 ​​​​​​​​stations to distribute commemorative anniversary stickers.

“The subway is the beating heart of New York City, a daily miracle that connects communities and makes the greatest city on Earth possible,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey. “We celebrate 119 years of the subway by looking to the future, as we work towards providing faster, cleaner, and safer service for our millions of daily customers.”

“New York City would not be the same without its subway system –119 years and billions of rides have proven that,” said NYC Transit Department of Subways Senior Vice President Demetrius Crichlow. “As the city bounces back even stronger from the pandemic, ridership continues to grow as we work to improve the system for decades to come through re-new-vating stations, upgrading signaling and more frequent service for a more enjoyable transit experience.”

“The subway is the lifeblood of New York City,” said MTA Acting Chief Customer Officer Shanifah Rieara. “The MTA’s mission is to ensure all riders get to their destination smoothly and efficiently with ample information at their fingertips whether it’s on digital screens, mobile apps or the MTA website. That’s what we strive for every day as we work to make the transit system even more equitable and reliable.”

New York’s first underground rapid transit network, known as the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) subway, opened on Oct. 27, 1904, with 28 stations along a 9.1-mile line. The IRT expanded to the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens and was eventually joined by two competing companies, the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) and the city-owned Independent Subway (IND).

In 1940, these companies were unified and today they comprise the current New York City subway system which is made up of 25 routes, 472 stations, 800 track miles and a fleet of over 6,000 passenger cars. Laid end to end, NYC Transit train tracks would stretch from New York City to Chicago.

Pre-pandemic, the subway was carrying an average of 5.5 million riders each weekday. Ridership is currently around 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels. The subway set a pandemic-era weekday ridership record on Wednesday, Sept. 20, carrying 4,179,902 riders, constituting 72 percent of pre-pandemic levels, topping the previous pandemic weekday ridership record of 4,140,301 just one day earlier. 

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