Posted on Leave a comment

Menu Medley – Southern Railway

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.

Menu Medley - Southern Railway 11
1939 dinner menu, in partnership with the Norfolk & Western, reflecting their participation in the New York-New Orleans “Pelican”, the DC-Memphis via Chattanooga “Tenneseean”, and the DC-Memphis via Birmingham “Birmingham Special”
Menu Medley - Southern Railway 12
1939 Dinner menu

Menu Medley - Southern Railway 13

 

1941 Menu for the “Crescent”:

Menu Medley - Southern Railway 14

Menu Medley - Southern Railway 15

Menu Medley - Southern Railway 16

Menu Medley - Southern Railway 17
The 1973 dinner menu from the “Southern Crescent”
Menu Medley - Southern Railway 18
I do remember having the fried chicken (as a kid, more of a treat than prime rib!) and it was quite good.

Menu Medley - Southern Railway 19

Menu Medley - Southern Railway 20
Photo of the dining car crew – 4 chefs, 1 steward, 6 waiters.
Menu Medley - Southern Railway 21
1973 view of Southern diner (Bill Schafer photo)
Menu Medley - Southern Railway 22
Waitress Lois Steed in 1979, just before the Southern handed the train over to Amtrak.
Menu Medley - Southern Railway 23
The “Peach Blossom” pattern was the standard pattern used for many years.
Menu Medley - Southern Railway 24
The “Piedmont” pattern was the one in use until the end of service in 1979. I have always thought it was a pleasant modern pattern.
Menu Medley - Southern Railway 25
Dinner is about to be served on a Christmas trip on their ex-Southern modernized heavyweight diner 3158, now named “Travelers Fare”. While not an attempt to replicate Southern dining car service, certainly a great recreation of the typical circa 1960 dining car experience.

We hope you enjoyed a look back at the Southern’s dining car service.

Posted on Leave a comment

Menu Medley – Spokane, Portland and Seattle

While most people think of the Spokane, Portland and Seattle for its role connecting to the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific, it did have an independent dining car department, although for many years it only had a single dining car!

SP&S 1958
Cover – 1958 Menu

Menu Medley - Spokane, Portland and Seattle 26

Menu Medley - Spokane, Portland and Seattle 27
1958 menu rear cover
Menu Medley - Spokane, Portland and Seattle 28
1965 menu – front cover

Menu Medley - Spokane, Portland and Seattle 29

Menu Medley - Spokane, Portland and Seattle 30

1965 menu – rear cover

Menu Medley - Spokane, Portland and Seattle 31
1939 SP&S publicity photo. Note the “northern Dogwood” pattern china on the tables.
Menu Medley - Spokane, Portland and Seattle 32
SP&S postcard
Menu Medley - Spokane, Portland and Seattle 33
SP&S car number 405, the “Columbia”, technically Burlington Northern in the 1972 photo.

The SP&S tended to use stock china patterns on its dining car(s):

Menu Medley - Spokane, Portland and Seattle 34
The earlier “Northern Dogwood” pattern.
Menu Medley - Spokane, Portland and Seattle 35
The earlier “Northern Dogwood” pattern.

 

We hope you enjoyed a look at SP&S dining car operations.

Posted on Leave a comment

Menu Medley – Erie

Since the Erie was probably the weakest competitor in the New York to Chicago market, it was forced to start offering dining car service fairly early to compete with the NYC, PRR and even the B&O. The early menus reflect that kind of high end dining experience. By the time of the Depression, the Erie’s dining cars more reflected the kind of passengers it served: not so much that New York to Chicago passenger but perhaps the Jamestown, NY to Marion, Ohio traveler. A meal on the Erie was more like Sunday dinner at home.

Menu Medley - Erie 36
Menu from the 1890’s
Menu Medley - Erie 37
Menu from 1901
Menu Medley - Erie 38
Menu from 1901
Menu Medley - Erie 39
Menu from WWI

Menu Medley - Erie 40 Menu Medley - Erie 41 Menu Medley - Erie 42

 

Menu Medley - Erie 43
Breakfast menu from 1951
Menu Medley - Erie 44
Erie breakfast 1959
Menu Medley - Erie 45
1959 menu
Menu Medley - Erie 46
1959 menu
Menu Medley - Erie 47
1959 menu
Menu Medley - Erie 48
Erie diner in 1901
Menu Medley - Erie 49
Erie diner in the 1940s.
Menu Medley - Erie 50
Publicity photo from the late 1950’s. By this time, the dining car departments of the Erie and the Lackawanna were merged (before the railroads did). Here you see one the the Erie’s fleet of modernized (circa 1948) diners, using Lackawanna china!
Menu Medley - Erie 51
The “Hornell” pattern was in use around the turn of the 20th century
Menu Medley - Erie 52
The “Gould” pattern was in use during the 1920’s
Menu Medley - Erie 53
The “Starrucca” pattern was the standard used from the 1940’s until the EL merger. In fact the EL never ordered its own china pattern, so this became the defacto standard pattern of the EL.

We hope you enjoyed a look at the Erie’s dining car service.

Posted on Leave a comment

Menu Medley – Great Northern (before World War I)

We decided this time to take a look at dining car service on the Great Northern, specifically pre-WWI service.

Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 54
1901 single card breakfast menu
Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 55
Another 1901 breakfast menu

Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 56 Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 57 Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 58

 

Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 59
1914 menu

Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 60 Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 61 Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 62 Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 63 Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 64

Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 65
Postcard promoting the Oriental Limited
Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 66
GN early scene
Menu Medley - Great Northern (before World War I) 67
Photo of the early “Hill” china pattern.

We hope you enjoyed our look at the Great Northern’s dining car service in the early 20th century.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Menu Medley – New Haven

The New Haven probably had the most extensive dining car operation of all the U.S. railroads. In addition to traditional dining cars, they had their lower cost “grill cars” as well as parlor cars and bar cars on the commuter trains.

Menu Medley - New Haven 68
New Haven Breakfast Menu from 1960
Menu Medley - New Haven 69
1962 dinner menu – by the mid 1950’s on, most New Haven menus featured ads and tourism guides, mostly to Boston and New York.
Menu Medley - New Haven 70
1962 menu cover
Menu Medley - New Haven 71
Special menu from 1952 last steam trip.
Menu Medley - New Haven 72
Ad showing the diner, but also promoting the grill cars.
Menu Medley - New Haven 73
The grill cars featured waitresses. Here, picking up an order.
Menu Medley - New Haven 74
1941 – Thanksgiving meal being served.
Menu Medley - New Haven 75
Typical bar car scene on the New Haven
Menu Medley - New Haven 76
These aluminum coins were given out for free coffee. The Phoebe Snow Company offers the very mild roast the NH used.
Menu Medley - New Haven 77
Merchants china – this plate was supposedly used on the grill cars.
Menu Medley - New Haven 78
The Platinum Blue pattern was used in the 1960’s. It was interesting because each order seemed to supply a lower quality version of the china. You can find many pieces where the quality of the white transfer art is terrible!
Menu Medley - New Haven 79
The Baked bean pot. A stock piece where the New Haven added their logo in a haphazard way. However, I am fond of this piece as I remember it distinctly from my first New Haven dining car experience Labor Day weekend in 1966.

I hope you enjoyed our look at the New Haven dining car operations!