New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) 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 was played on digital screens across the transit system and on social media platforms to highlight the special day in history.
In addition to the video, station agents from New York City Transit (NYCT) greeted riders at Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center and Fulton Street 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.”
The First Rapid Transit Network
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% of pre-pandemic levels.
The subway set a pandemic-era weekday ridership record on Wednesday, Sept. 20, carrying 4,179,902 riders, constituting 72% of pre-pandemic levels, topping the previous pandemic weekday ridership record of 4,140,301 just one day earlier.