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New York Transit-Money Train-Revenue Room-370 Jay Street-Transit Museum-Secret lIfe of 370 Jay Street-NYC-004The New York Transit Money Train. Photo by Patrick Cashin / MTA New York City Transit

You know about armored trucks, but what about an armored subway? From 1951 to 2006, the New York City transit system ran an armored train that moved all the subway and bus fares collected to a secret room at 370 Jay Street in Brooklyn, the subject of the exhibit at the New York Transit Museum The Secret Life of 370 Jay Street.” A description in the exhibit describes that “most Money Trains were staffed by 12 collecting agents and one supervisor, all armed and wearing body armor.”

Six nights of the week, multiple money trains would operate at the same time picking up collections from 25 to 40 stations on each run. The two-car train held collecting agents in one car and the revenue in the other. In 1988, 10 sets of R21 and R22 cars were converted into Money Train units.

New York Transit-Money Train-Revenue Room-370 Jay Street-Transit Museum-Secret lIfe of 370 Jay Street-NYC-003The New York Transit Money Train. Photo by Patrick Cashin / MTA New York City Transit

Collections would then be delivered to the Department of Revenue’s Money Room was located inside the 13-story building at 370 Jay Street, designed specifically for safeguarding the processing of the fares. Special security systems, a secret second floor elevator used to transport money and special tunnels hid behind an ostensibly uniform looking building. Prolific photographer Jim Henderson has a photograph on Wikimedia Commons of the gated door where the money would go into from the train at Jay Street:

Jay Street Door for Money Train-MTA-NYCPhoto by Jim Henderson via Wikimedia Commons

New York Transit-Money Train-Revenue Room-370 Jay Street-Transit Museum-Secret lIfe of 370 Jay Street-NYC-002A Money Room employee uses the GPS 1000 high speed mixed currency counter and sorter to process 30 bills per second, 2006. Photo by Patrick Cashin / MTA New York City Transit

370 Jay Street was also strategically located, and the transit system planners knew that it was located atop a subway station where “tunnels could be built to connect the building to IND, BMT and IRT lines,” reads text at the New York Transit Museum exhibit. Prior to the existence of the Money Room, the fares(a ride was 10 cents in 1951) were collected from station booths and transported using armored vehicle. Two years after the opening of 370 Jay Street, the token was introduced.

New York Transit-Money Train-Revenue Room-370 Jay Street-Transit Museum-Secret lIfe of 370 Jay Street-NYCPhoto by Patrick Cashin / MTA New York City Transit

The arrival of the Metrocard necessitated some changes in the revenue collection system, as picking up the fares from the Metrocard machines took longer than picking up a bag from the booth. The armored car system returned and revenue collection relocated to Maspeth, Queens (also where the DOT sign shop is).

New York Transit-Money Train-Revenue Room-370 Jay Street-Transit Museum-Secret lIfe of 370 Jay Street-NYC-001Photo by Patrick Cashin / MTA New York City Transit

Tokens were completely phased out by 2003 and the final trip of the Money Train took place in January 2006. The Money Room at 370 Jay Street closed the same day. The above photographs are by Patrick Cashin, who documented the process on the last day of operations.

R95 Revenue Collection Car Number OR 714 (1988)A retired revenue collection car on display at the New York Transit Museum. Source: NY Transit Museum

Next, see what the tunnels of 370 Jay Street looked likediscover more of the MTA’s maintenance trains or read about the secrets of the NYC subway.

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