14 Things We’d Do with Those Vintage MBTA Cars if Someone Bought Them for Us

The possibilities are endless.

Photos courtesy of Auctions International

Have you ever sat in a Green Line trolley, looked around at the smudged windows and fake wood paneling, heard the squealing of the rails, and thought, I’d like to make one of these mine? Well, now’s your chance—several vintage trolleys from the MBTA’s 1978-1990 light rail fleet are now up for online auction.

Now, before you start imagining yourself taking your personal trolley out for a spin on the Green Line tracks, know that the auction website says that the vehicles are inoperable, and “have sat for at least three years.” However, we’re convinced that with a little paint, a lot of imagination, and $500 (the amount of the current highest bid), someone could turn these retired vehicles into something truly special. Below are our 14 best ideas for these rusty old trains’ glamorous second lives.

Escape Room

In case you want to turn your fears of bodily harm on the T into a fun game. (Plus, see above: New York already has a train-based version.)

Murder Mystery Train

Photo courtesy Auctions International

Splash of fake blood in this driver’s seat, and you got yourself a mystery.

A Superb Parklet

Imagine instead of a couple parking spaces, you had an authentic MBTA parklet stuffed full of shrubs and flowers—like Toronto’s Garden Car, but huge.

Tiny Homes

Photo courtesy Auctions International

They can clearly hold plenty of junk. They could totally fit an eat-in kitchen.

Viking Funeral

Photo via Getty Images

Goodnight, sweet prince.

Centerpiece of a Novelty Restaurant


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Turning it into a diner car is the obvious choice here, but consider this: We’ve been eating cheeseburgers inside cathedrals of discarded music memorabilia for ages. Isn’t it time we had a Hard Rock Café for trains?

MBTA Merch Pop-Up

Maybe MBTAGifts, the agency’s official distributor of merch, murals, and ephemera can take its show on the road. In the Seaport, naturally—the gondola could use some company.

Art Studios

It’s working pretty well for the artists at Village Underground, who pay to rent out workspaces inside decommissioned Tube cars atop a roof in London.

Flood Control

Honestly, we have no idea how this would work. But sea levels are rising and it’s freaking us out and you could probably build a dam out of these things somehow.

Repurposed Artisanal Furniture

Photos courtesy of John Dickey

After all, that’s what they did with that shipwreck in the Seaport. How much would you pay to have the comforts of the T in your living room?

Pole Fitness Studio

You know what would have made Hustlers even better? If it had been set on a train.

Decorate a Laser Tag Arena

Photo via Naughty Dog

Shooter video games seem to like the T as a setting, so why not?

Some Sort of System to Transport the Public

MBTA Green Line / Photo by Olga Khvan

Just spitballing here, but what if we put some rails on these babies…laid out track routes for them…and used them to get around?