Kansas-Texas Railroad trains as the Katy
Flier and the Bluebonnet. Travelers on
these trains could look forward to the
basket of warm Kornettes on their table
in the dining car (see sidebar page 20).
The Illinois Central Railroad, which
connected Chicago with New Orleans,
specialized in Cajun cuisine. Passengers
often boarded the northbound Panama
Limited or City of New Orleans in
Champaign-Urbana, Ill., just to enjoy
a Cajun meal going into Chicago, then
took a local train back home.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
delighted travelers with saltwater seafood
served on trains traveling west to Chicago
or St. Louis, and freshwater seafood on
trains traveling east to Baltimore and
Washington. The New York, New Haven
and Hartford Railroad perfected salads as
an entrée, at one time listing nearly 70 in
its food service manual.
In addition, railroads—especially
Western lines such as The Milwaukee
Road—routinely bought up prize-
winning livestock at state agricultural
fairs. Those champions were employed for
breeding purposes on the railroads’ own
cattle farms, which supplied the dining
Many Class I railroads used
customized dining car china, often unique
to specific trains, such as the Union Pacific’s
Winged Streamliner pattern, introduced in
Railroads frequently offered specialty
items available only in their dining cars. These
Graham Gems, sweet milk muffins, were
served exclusively on the New York, New
Haven and Hartford Railroad. Then there were
the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Ginger Muffins,
The Milwaukee Road’s Richmond Corn Cakes,
and the Great Northern Railway’s Potato Rolls.
Dining Car History
Hungry for more information about
dining cars and railroad cuisine?
You’ll enjoy these books:
C&O Dining Car Recipes
a reprint of the
Chesapeake & Ohio food service
manual from the C&O Historical Society,
chessieshop.com or 800.453.2647.
Dining by Rail: The History and Recipes of
America’s Golden Age of Railroad Cuisine
by James D. Porterfield, a history of eating
on the train featuring 330 recipes from 48
railroads of the “Golden Age” of American
passenger railroading. St. Martin’s Press.
Dining Car to the Pacific: The “Famously
Good” Food of The Northern Pacific
byWilliam A. McKenzie, an
account of the evolution of one railroad’s
dining car operations, including recipes
for 150 of its most appealing dishes.
University of Minnesota Press.
Dining Cars and Depots: Train Food in
compiled and published by
Patricia B. Mitchell, offering historical and
personal anecdotes as well as 21 recipes.
Available from Foxfire Museum gift shop:
Dining on the B & O: Recipes and
Sidelights From a Bygone Age
J. Greco and Karl D. Spence, containing
original B&O recipes and modern inter-
pretations, with photographs, commen-
tary on the technical aspects of cooking
on a moving train,“service notes” used
by chefs, stewards and waiters, and a
glossary of cooking terms. Johns Hopkins
Dining on the Shore Line Route: The
History and Recipes of the New Haven
Railroad Dining Car Department,
by Marc Frattasio, a well-illustrated
history of the New York, New Haven and
Hartford Railroad’s dining operations,
with recipes for many popular menu
items. TLC Publishing.
Dining on the UP: A Reproduction of
the Union Pacific Railroad’s Dining
Car Manual of Recipes and Service
Published by the Cheyenne
Depot Museum Foundation,
tinyurl.com/9sfncr7 or 307.638.6338.
Dinner Is Served: Fine Dining Aboard the
by Jim A. Loveland,
a history of the Southern Pacific’s dining
car operation with recipes. GoldenWest
Rufus Estes’ Good Things to Eat
to be the first cookbook published by
an African-American chef who went to
work for the Pullman Company in private
car service in 1883; contains 591 recipes.
The Harvey House Cookbook: Memories
of Dining Along the Santa Fe Railroad
nd Edition, by George H. Foster and Peter
C.Weiglin, tells the Harvey story and
provides recipes from the famous Harvey
dining rooms that marked the route of
the Santa Fe Railroad. Longstreet Press.
Recipes of the Erie Lackawanna—Dinner
in the Diner 1964–1970
a reprint of
bulletins issued by the railroad’s dining
car department to the dining car staff,
including recipes, plating directions
and serving instructions. From the Erie
Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation