Dinner is Served in the Dining Car
In the early days of railway travel, trains which ran long
distances stopped at certain stations to enable the passengers
who did not carry their lunches to obtain meals at nearby hotels
or restaurants. When the train drew to a halt and the conductor
shouted "Twenty Minutes for Refreshments," there was
frequently a "mad scramble," every passenger seeming
to be bent upon getting out of the train and into the restaurant
ahead of the others. Plates of food were on the tables or counters
in readiness. The first-comers fared pretty well, but those who
came in last sometimes had to hurry back to the train before they
had finished their meals.
In 1863, trains running between Philadelphia and Baltimore
introduced a car fitted with an "eating bar"something
new in railroading. These cars had no kitchens, the food being
cooked in restaurants in Philadelphia and Baltimore and placed
in "steam boxes" in the cars just before the trains'
A few years later, George M. Pullman, who had won fame as a
builder of sleeping cars, introduced what he called a "hotel
car," equipped with a kitchen for preparing meals, with tables
for serving meals and with berths for sleeping, so that passengers
could actually live in the car like they could in a home or a
Then in 1868, Mr. Pullman introduced a dining car, equipped
with a kitchenthe first passenger car designed exclusively
for cooking and serving meals. This car was very popular, and
before many years had passed dining cars were in use on many railroads.
Today hundreds of passenger trains in the United States carry
dining cars, providing travelers with a wide variety of foods
and as excellent service as may be obtained in a first-class hotel
The interiors of modern dining cars are decorated in attractive
style, many of them in gay pastel shades. Some have novel seating
and table arrangements, including built-in lounge seats. Diffused
lighting, colorful window drapes, and soft carpets suggest the
friendly atmosphere of a neighborhood club or a home dining room.
Tables prepared with snow-white linen, gleaming silverware and
sparkling glasses give promise of an appetizing meal to come.
Air-conditioning has made dining on the train a greater pleasure
than ever before.
The dining-car steward greets his guests at the door and ushers
them to their tables. The white-coated waiters help them in the
selection of their meals from the menu, place their orders with
the chef, serve the dishes in delectable style and attend to the
patrons' every want.
On some trains lunch-counter cars are operated. They specialize
in light lunches or meals at popular prices. Some trains include
grill cars, a combination of cafeteria and soda fountain. These
cars are especially popular on overnight trains. On many trains,
tray service is provided, from the dining car direct to the passengers'
seats. The latest innovation is a buffet luncheon or dinner served
from a special table where passengers may select any articles
of food and as much as they can eat.
When the passenger has finished his meal, the waiter brings
the order blank (or check) on 'which the steward has written the
amount of the meal. The passenger pays the waiter, and the waiter
turns the order blank and money over to the steward. At the end
of the run, the steward turns all order blanks and money over
to the superintendent of dining car service or his assistant for
forwarding to the treasurer.
Every year the railroads of the United States serve nearly
25,000,000 meals to their patrons.
Dining car crewsstewards, chefs, cooks and waitersare
carefully selected. Each man must undergo a thorough physical
examination before entering the service and at frequent intervals
Newly employed cooks and waiters usually attend a school for
dining car employees conducted by the railway company before they
are allowed to go on the road. The school teaches them their duties
and responsibilities. They are instructed in such matters as courtesy
and deportment. Only in this way are the railroads able to maintain
their high standard of service.
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