Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) report on dining car foodCreation: 1945
The Pennsylvania Railroad Company was the largest railroad in the United States in terms of corporate assets and traffic from the last quarter of the nineteenth century until the decline of the northeast's and midwest's dominance of manufacturing. This item is an unpublished report titled, "Analysis of Proposed Use of Prefabricated Food on Dining Cars," written by the Pennsylvania Railroad, Dining Car Department, Research Committee in 1945. The report includes sample menus, data on preparation, and findings from experiments conducted by the committee.
- Creation: 1945
- Pennsylvania Railroad (Organization)
1 report ; 59 pages.
The Pennsylvania Railroad Company was the largest railroad in the United States in terms of corporate assets and traffic from the last quarter of the nineteenth century until the decline of the northeast's and midwest's dominance of manufacturing. The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) was chartered in 1846 to complete a railroad across the state. This was accomplished in 1854. In 1857, the PRR purchased the state's old "Main Line" of canals and railroads and brought the entire line from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh under one management and a complete route from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh, thus opening up the entire state of Pennsylvania to east-west train service.
Between 1855 and 1874, the PRR underwent rapid expansion and emerged as one of the two largest railroad systems in the area east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio. Through stock purchase or lease, it reached Baltimore in 1861, Chicago and Indianapolis in 1869, St. Louis in 1870, Jersey City opposite New York in 1871, and Washington in 1872. Purchase of the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad in 1881 brought complete control of the important New York-Washington corridor, and in 1910, the PRR entered Manhattan through tunnels under the Hudson and East rivers. Most of the main lines lying east and south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, were electrified between 1915 and 1938.
More than other railroads, the PRR was highly dependent upon the coal and steel industries and was burdened on its eastern end with a high-density passenger service. After 1958, the former began an irreversible decline, and the latter became a source of red ink. The PRR merged with its major rival, the New York Central, in 1968 to create the Penn Central Transportation Company. The merger was ill-planned, resulting in bankruptcy in 1970. In 1971, the federal government created Amtrak to assume the most essential passenger service, and in 1976, viable portions of Penn Central and other bankrupt railroads in its territory were conveyed to Conrail, which rehabilitated them with federal funds.
Scope and Contents
This item is an unpublished report titled, "Analysis of Proposed Use of Prefabricated Food on Dining Cars," written by the Pennsylvania Railroad, Dining Car Department, Research Committee. The report includes sample menus, data on preparation, and findings from experiments conducted by the committee.
Raymond Loewy (1893–1986) was one of the most well known industrial designers during the middle decades of the twentieth century. In 1934, he signed a contract with the Pennsylvania Railroad that launched a two-decade relationship. Raymond Loewy Associates was the name of Loewy's design firm.
This report covers experiments undertaken in response to a 1942 proposal by Raymond Loewy Associates, design consultants to the Pennsylvania Railroad, that various basic sauces, soups, stews and desserts be prepared in a central kitchen under a master chef and carried aboard the trains in thermos jugs, rather than being prepared by a dining car cook.
The committee also experimented with canned, dehydrated, and frozen foods. Like many of Loewy's railroad proposals, this one turned out to be impractical. The committee found that only frozen and canned foods had any potential, and many items, including breakfasts and salads, would still have to be prepared on the trains from fresh ingredients.
This collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
- Loewy, Raymond, 1893-1986 (Person)
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) report on dining car food
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- 2020: Laurie Sather