U.S., History: Luncheon on The Standard Railroad of the World

By J. Bruce Richardson, Corridor Rail Development Corporation; December 8, 2020

The once-mighty Pennsylvania Railroad, a company which distributed dividends without fail for 100 years, by August of 1967 was about to disappear. In 1968 the Pennsy and New York Central would join in an ill-fated attempt to merge two behemoths that had nothing in common other than the track gauge on which they operated, into the new Penn Central Railroad. The 1970 Penn Central bankruptcy was inevitable, and would change the face of railroading for both passengers and freight east of the Mississippi River.

But, back in August of 1967 the former “Standard Railroad of the World” as the Pennsylvania had immodestly styled itself earlier in the 20th Century, issued a new dining car luncheon menu. The menu was not as aggressive as some of its predecessor offerings, but, by today’s standards still offered a satisfying repast.

Appetizers & Soup

Chilled Tomato or Fruit Juice; 40 cents/Soup du Jour, Crackers; 45 cents


• Tender Beef Stew, Buttered Noodles, Garden Vegetables; $2.35
• Braised Chicken in Red Wine Sauce, Parsley Potato, Vegetable; $2.25
• Cheese and Ham Omelette, Vegetable, Parsley Potato; $1.95

Entrees included Assorted Bread and Butter


(Garnished with Potato Frills and Pickle Chips)

• Ham and American Cheese with Lettuce; $1.45
• Fried Egg Sandwich; 85 cents
• Ham with Lettuce; $1.00


• Chocolate Pudding; 40 cents
• Cheese and Crackers; 50 cents
• Fruit Compote; 50 cents


• Pot of Coffee; 50 cents
• Pot of Tea; 50 cents
• Instant Decaffeinated Coffee; 50 cents
• Half Pint of Milk; 25 cents

Comments at the menu bottom included “The Steward will welcome your comments on our food and service. If you prefer, write to Sidney N. Phelps, Manager, Dining Car Service, Pennsylvania Railroad, Long Island City 1, N.Y.”

By the summer of 1967 the Pennsy’s electrified track between New York Pennsylvania Station and Washington Union Station was suffering from lack of maintenance, and the famed GG-1 electric locomotives were well into multiple decades of service. The above- ground landmark New York Penn station, built as a 20th Century Temple of Railroading was destroyed and gone, replaced by a new Madison Square Garden and office tower. The underground warren that was the operating station resembled doing business in an uninspiring cavern that even today continues to suffer as a suitable passenger train station for a major world city.

Many of the Pennsylvania’s famed trains such as the Broadway Limited soldiered on in the railroad’s famous Tuscan Red livery. At one time the Pennsylvania Railroad was the largest corporation in the world and was a critical part of the war effort in three major wars: the Civil War, World War I and World War II. Aspiring railroads from around the world looked at the Pennsylvania as a model for their own services. The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in the Southeast mimicked the PRR similarly immodestly by styling itself as the Standard Railroad of the South.

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