Roll gate on the F train

Photograph: Clare Lambe Malchman

Q What’s up with the roll gate located in the middle of the Brooklyn-bound F platform at the Jay Street station? Is that where the money train off-loaded?—Robert M., Park Slope, Brooklyn

A You nailed it. Behind that mysterious roll gate sits a chamber where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority used to stash its cash and fare tokens, collected daily from the various stations. “That was the vault where things began and ended,” says New York City Transit spokesperson James Anyansi. Formerly the headquarters for the MTA, the Jay Street depository also housed a counting room (now located in Queens). The money trains were refurbished R21 and R22 cars plucked from retired fleets; they were painted yellow like the service cars but had bars on the windows and armed guards at the helm. Their routes were kept secret and the trains never ran according to a set schedule. The introduction of the MetroCard in 1994 made it possible to buy fares on credit, quickly rendering the money trains obsolete. And though the trains were decommissioned in 2006, their activity and whereabouts still remain top secret. “It’s very confidential,” whispers Anyansi. “We really can’t talk about it.” For more info, stop by the “Show Me The Money: From the Turnstile to the Bank” exhibit at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights, through Spring 2009 (

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