A September nostalgia train with a sponsored twist


A vintage IRT trainset will be decked out in Boardwalk Empire ads this month.

Railfans and regular straphangers love vintage train car rides, but the MTA has found them to be a bit costly. During times of austerity, the authority hasn’t been as willing to let loose the old trainsets as they once were, but it seems as though they’ve solved this problem through advertising. For the month of September, a Boardwalk Empire-branded vintage trainset will run on the West Side IRT on the weekends as HBO gears up to promote the new series.

Here’s what the pitch e-mail has to say:

Starting on Saturday, September 3rd an authentic vintage 1920’s train will run on the express 2/3 track in Manhattan throughout September (specifically, from 12 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays). Originally operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) system, the train began service back in 1917 and will once again be operational. Customers who have the opportunity to ride the vintage train will be transported back in time to the Prohibition era with authentic details such as rattan seats, ceiling fans and drop sash windows, as well as a custom branded interior featuring Boardwalk Empire-inspired period artwork.

For the weekend of the premier — September 24 and 25 — so-called “brand ambassadors” will be giving away free MetroCards as well. HBO is apparently going all out, and as you can see from the image above, the faux-vintage ads in the Nostalgia Train cars have given way to Boardwalk Empire branding.

This is of course a rather unique promotion since there aren’t too many period pieces on TV that take place in New York, but I’m curious about the economics of it. I’ve reached out to the MTA for more information, and if I hear a pricetag, I’ll pass it along. In the meantime, click through for another look at the sponsored subway car. I wonder if it’ll be an air conditioned ride.

The outside of the car will feature ads as well.

Categories : Subway Advertising

20 Responses to “A September nostalgia train with a sponsored twist”

  1. nycpat says:

    They should run a three car set on track 4 of the GC shuttle as supplemental service on the weekends-every half hour. It would bring a lot of publicity because it would be easy to find. I wonder if the trains could handle it.

  2. Donald says:

    No air conditioner. They never had AC installed and they never will.

  3. Alex C says:

    Wow, that looks pretty nice. I’ll definitely be in Manhattan that weekend.

  4. Jerrold says:

    Somewhat off-topic, I know, but I wanted to put this here whereit will be SEEN:

    Can Ben or anybody else tell me if the southbound platform of the Cortlandt St. station is STILL scheduled to reopen on Sept. 6?

    According to Wikipedia it is, but the source is a New York Post article from a few weeks ago.

  5. Clarke says:

    Too bad it’s not on the 6…a ride through City Hall Loop on that would be nice.

  6. BrooklynBus says:

    My favorite cars of all time. I remember when these were the only cars on the IRT. Just loved the sound of the closing doors.

  7. JC says:

    This is the train that goes to Hogwarts, right?

  8. John says:

    Psst…Boardwalk Empire doesn’t take place in New York either.

  9. Farro says:

    The Village Voice article said you can catch it at 96th, 72nd, and 42nd. Will this train only be stopping at those three stops?

  10. Adrian says:

    LOL, go to Buenos Aires and take line A… same train + no maintenance.

  11. kuku says:

    IND R46 and R44 Inwood Bound (A) train at 42nd St – PABT/TSQ:


  1. […] Boardwalk Empire Nostalgia Train is going to net the MTA “north of $150,000,” according to an MTA spokesman. […]

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