ROLL SIGN, Holiday Train

I rode the MTA Holiday Special as I usually do on one of the December Sundays. As usual, I got in the oldest car in the trainset, Car #100, which originally ran on the Independent Subway beginning in 1933. I wanted to experience the wicker seats, overhead fans, bare bulbs lighting the train, and the general feeling of actual railroading associated with the old cars. New subway cars, including the fancy R211 on which a prototype is on display at the #7 Hudson Yards station, all look like rolling dentists’s offices to me with their plastic, light blue and chrome.

I noticed something going on with the rollsign. One had “2nd Ave-96th Street” which happened to be the destination of the train which was traveling on 6th Avenue, 59th Street and 2nd Avenue, the routes of the F/M and Q trains. I imagined they had gotten a rollsign from the old 2nd Avenue El (which stopped running in 1942) and stuck it here. Later, I read that the MTA sprang a few bucks and had “new” rollsigns made up. If that’s what happened, kudos, since the lettering looks just like it did in the 1930s.

They should have made a “2nd Ave-Houston” sign, not “Houston-Lafayette” since the train actually started at the F train’s 2nd Avenue station.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”


4 Responses to ROLL SIGN, Holiday Train

  1. Eliot Wagner says:

    I was in car 1000 on the train, and the sign there was turned to Houston – 2nd Av.

  2. Andy says:

    I rode it as well on Dec. 3 and Dec. 17. You are correct about the roll signs – “96th St.-2nd Ave.” is a new indication made to look old. Neither the Second nor Third Avenue Els had stations at 96th St. The former had 92nd and 99th St stops; the latter had 89th and 99th St. stops. Why 96th Street was ignored on both is not clear, even though it is a major crosstown artery. The Lexington Avenue subway has a 96th St. stop. Regardless, the old wooden el cars used on 2nd and 3rd Avenues did not have roller curtain signs similar to the IND R1-9 series. The El cars had metal route and station destination signs that hung in the windows next to a door. The IRT low-V cars that ran until 1964 displayed their routes in a similar, low-tech fashion.

  3. Danny S. says:

    Yeah, they made a new roll sign entry for 96th St.-2nd Ave. While they may stick to the new routing in future years, I hope they also added a reading for Queens Plaza, so in case they go back to the previous route, they won’t have to set the signs to Forest Hills, which is what they had been doing. There is also a front of the train sign reading 96th Street; someone on SubChat suggested that it was taken from an old IRT destination sign.

    Oh, and the route is via Sixth Ave., 63rd (not 59th) St., and Second Ave.

  4. William Mangahas says:

    I was told that the 96th St. – 2nd Ave. sign was originally 36th St. – 4th Av.

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