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Herman Rinke - May 30, 1940

25 hours - Passing all Stations

The first line of the city-owned and operated Independent Subway System (IND) opened in 1932; this system was intended to compete with the private systems and allow some of the elevated railways to be torn down.

In 1940, the city purchased the two privately-owned systems, the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) and Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT).  With this purchase, New York City became the sole owner and operator of all subway and elevated lines.  The Second Avenue, Sixth Avenue and Ninth Avenue el in Manhattan, and Fifth Avenue el and portions of Fulton Street el in Brooklyn were abandoned. 1, 2

Two days before the IRT, BMT and IND were unified in 1940, Herman Rinke, an electric-railroad buff, became the first person to tour the entire system on a single 5-cent fare, doing it purely as a "sentimental gesture." 3

Rinke, who was the National Secretary of the Electric Railroaders Association, rode for 25 hours that day.  Since then, more than 70 others - recorded in an unofficial file at the TA Public Relations Department - have ridden the entire system. 3

 

(1) from the NY Post

(2) from Wikipedia

(3) from Atari Archives