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“MTA, Going Your Way!”®

By Bob Mintz
(Article updated Spring 2013)


My earliest recollections of riding trains was going to visit my grandparents. Our route would go from one end of the system in the northern part of The Bronx to the other in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn by elevated subway.

I would stare out of the front window of the #4 Woodlawn Train (which still passes Yankee Stadium) watching the tracks and signals, trying to figure out our route by the placement of the switches and color of the lights seen ahead. My original toy train collection included only freight sets. I decided to add passenger service when I got older and could afford to buy toy trains on my own. I had always hoped that one day, someone would make a subway car, reminiscent of my youth. MTH had had the forethought to reach into the dark recesses of my mind and has previously introduced various NYC Subway cars; Palisades Amusement Park cars; and now the Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor store; to my potential layout? (Mikey, how about Freedomland USA next?)

I have been extremely disappointed that Lionel only made Multiple Units and trolley cars, but never Subway cars. Considering that much of Lionel’s customer base was and still is in the Northeast, this decision always puzzled me.

Seems that both MTH and K-Line feel somewhat differently, luckily for me.

I took the above pictures at Chambers Street in NYC, the once temporary terminus of the NYC Subways IRT 1 and 9, subway lines, just slightly north of the World Trade Centers.

This particular train was working on replacing the damaged tunnel walls and ceilings from the steel beams that had pierced it from the collapsing Twin Towers above. The roadbed on the recently re-opened train tracks now continues towards the South Ferry station, adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry.

How delighted I was when I attended the 2002 Toy Fair and I pre-ordered the MTH 30-2273-1 MTA Worktrain in the special "2002 Toy Fair Brochure" catalogue.

Interesting enough, this set came in a plain generic box with only a label inside.

This set comes with a NYC MTA NW2 diesel engine; subway car; tankcar and searchlight car.

Not to be outdone in this apparent NYC MTA craze, K-Line came out with complimentary items such as the NYC Transit Double Dome tank car #K-635-8015; NYC Transit Ore car with 4 road numbers #K-671-8011; and NYC Transit Crane & Boom 2-PAC #K-681-8011A (K-681-8011 & K-682-8013).

To further up the ante, MTH countered with another work train subway car #30-2273-4, as well as in the “seen at York” MTH 2003 Volume 2 catalogue containing an MTA Engineering car 30-79037 and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Gondola Car w/Junk Load #30-7255.

Thanks go out to the visionary marketers at both MTH and K-Line to finally see the light at the end of this particular NYC tunnel.

P.S. Speaking of York…

…what good would York be without me finding yet another Mintcar???

Mission accomplished thanks to John Trotta in the former Purple Hall RIP and his customized business. E-Train feature editor Jim Herron and I bought numbers 1 & 2 of 2.

Second Decade.
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