Along with the Rio Grande, the Southern gave many of us an opportunity to experience traditional dining car service after the creation of Amtrak. Unlike the Rio Grande, the overnight run of the “Southern Crescent” (and to a lesser extend, the “Piedmont”) allowed for a multi-day, multi-meal dining car experience.
The Southern had a number of trains and a number of routes featuring dining car service, well into the 1960’s. Indeed, the dining car operation at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum features a modernized heavyweight dining car that was still being used on secondary trains before going to the museum to continue to serve rail passengers, hardly without missing a beat.
Don Phillips years ago in Train Magazine referred to the Southern’s passenger service as rating a letter grade B (I assume he would rank ATSF or UP an “A”), but their no-nonsense Southern traditional dining car service is memorable for reflecting the areas it ran through.
1941 Menu for the “Crescent”:
We hope you enjoyed a look back at the Southern’s dining car service.