By J. Bruce Richardson, Corridor Rail Development Corporation; January 6, 2021
We are well into the 2021 new year and have left the holiday season behind, but here is a short menu that has just popped up and is well worth taking a moment to appreciate. This is the Illinois Central System’s Christmas Dinner menu for 1944, when World War II was still raging around the world.
The history of America’s railroads during the war is well-known; everything it took to win the war – from members of the military to armaments to foodstuffs – moved by train. The Illinois Central found an unique way to pay homage to America’s fighting men and women who were traveling on IC trains over the Christmas holiday:
If you are travelling on your own then dinner is on the house. Sorry you can’t be at home – but thanks for what you are doing and a Merry Christmas to you!
Hearts of Celery, Mixed Olives
Cocktail of Fresh Gulf Shrimps
Cream of Tomato, Croutons
Roast Tom Turkey
Oyster Dressing, Cranberry Sauce
Escalloped Potatoes, Green Peas
Chopped Green Salad
Hot Tea Biscuits, Vanilla Muffins
Hot Mince Meat Roll, Brandy Sauce
Cluster Raisins, Salted Nuts
Coffee, Tea, Milk
*or member of any branch of our Military Force
J.W. Stevenson, Passenger Traffic Manager, Chicago, Ill.
N.L. Patterson, Superintendent Dining Service, Chicago, Ill.
With this simple, inexpensive gesture by the railroad, how many lifetime passengers did they gain from military men and women and their families, grateful for recognition while away from home on a holiday and also living on modest military pay?
It’s innovation like this that is barely seen today.