New York Subway Car: 

Did you know there was an old New York Subway Car in Buckinghamshire? Actually, it’s the only one in the whole world that isn’t in the USA! For the last 30 years it’s been here, where you could find it slightly tucked away behind the Royal Mail carriages, so it was quite easily missed. However, on June 17th, the 38-tonne carriage was brought out of the shadows and repositioned at the front of the site, where it has been refurbished.

The carriage, officially known as Subway Car No.1144, but by the team at the railway as the ‘New Yorker’, was built by the American Car & Foundry in 1935, for use between 8th Avenue and Fulton, New York. Withdrawn for scrapping around 1976, the New Yorker was miraculously saved, as it was purchased by a brewery in Stockton-on-Tees and, quite extraordinarily, shipped across to England, where it was converted into an American Diner. When Whitbread took over the brewery several years later, they didn’t want to keep it and generously donated it to us and we took delivery of it in January 1991 – 30 years ago.

When it first arrived in Quainton, as it was fitted out with diner tables and chairs, it was initially used as part of the refreshment facilities, but since the opening of Rewley Road Visitor Centre, it has been used as a place for our volunteer crew members to eat their lunch and take breaks.

During the closure of the site in the 2020 lockdown, the ‘crazy’ idea was put forward to bring it out of its hiding place, reposition it at the front of the site and convert it into an extra space. Months later, this idea finally come to fruition after a huge logistical undertaking, which has been sponsored by Barwood Homes, who were about to start construction work on a housing development in a field next to the railway centre. An enormous crane was hired to lift the 38-tonne steel carriage from behind the Visitor Centre, over the top of the Travelling Post Office and onto a low loader. It was then driven into the car park where it was lifted again, over the fence and into its current position on the grass in front of the Visitor Centre, in pride of place for all to see and use.

Why not come along and have a look!