Irvin Transit

In the summer of 1962, a collaboration with my brother Paul in a publication related to his interest in urban transit led to a partnership, both personal and professional , that ranks high among my happiest, most gratifying memories. My pride and joy was our popular publications. Little Brother has put on his outstanding website some items that I wrote with him or solo. Here they are. 

My articles







Staten Island Rapid Transit, 1860-1965. This seemingly modest 64-page book on the least known of New York’s transit lines was an unexpected hit. It had been selling for between $70 and $90 on eBay before reaching an all-time high in May 2002 of $117.25 – $116.00 more than it originally sold for in 1965. This is 18 pages of excerpts from the book with original photos, plus some more recent ones, as well as a brief history of the book. [view]

The Road to the Transit Museum. In 1965 separate needs led to a common solution. The Matus brothers were helping a gentleman in the New York City Transit Authority advance the idea of a transit museum in order to preserve subway rolling stock that was rapidly disappearing. At the same time the NYCTA was looking for an event to coincide with the New York World's Fair. This article describes the fruits of those efforts. [view]

SOAC: A State of Mind. SOAC  stood for State-of-the -Art Car, a special two-car set of subway cars that were built to demonstrate the best practices of rapid transit in the mid-1960s. I rode those cars on the BMT Brighton Beach Line and reported my impressions of both trains and train-riders.   [view]

Paul’s Rapid Transit site  








Paul’s more than 50 years as a rail fan, and nearly as long an urban transit historian, commentator and activist – augmented by more than 35 years of experience in computers and graphics, as well as a not an inconsiderable flair as a writer – makes his rapid transit site a treat for the reader who has loved a trolley ride, enjoys riding the subways (in off-peak hours, natch) or has a serious interest in urban transportation. Honest. Devoted to the history, politics and study of rail rapid transit, with an emphasis on history.

The Third Rail Online. The Third Rail was the magazine that Paul and I edited, published, and contributed to, to provide a magazine whose goal was to span the divide between transit professional and interested fan. This online edition includes much from the original and new material as well.

Silver Leaf. The unlikely story of how this all got started. Paul dreamed of having a model railroad layout but was disappointed that you could buy scale model steam and diesel trains, as all manner of trolleys, but subway cars? No way. So we set out to remedy that, by designing and importing our own. That lead to a wholesale hobby business that needed literature to raise interest in rapid transit. So we wrote our own, and before long the literature became more popular than the models.