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Dining Car Department Manuals

November 1st, 2004

The New Haven Railroad was famous for the food that was served on board its passenger trains. Typically operated at a loss, the New Haven was the only railroad in the country that boasted of earning a profit on its food service during the modern era. This month we present some of the specialized manuals that the New Haven Railroad Dining Car Department issued to food service car crewmembers. All items from the collection of Marc Frattasio.

Note, if you are interested in learning more about the New Haven's food service operations, a comprehensive book on this subject by author Marc Frattasio called New Haven Railroad - Dining on the Shore Line Route is available through the NHRHTA. See the NHRHTA's book sales page for details.

Dining Car Instruction Book This manual was issued to dining car crewmembers. Although it is entitled a "book of rules", it is in fact an instruction manual for operating dining cars. Among other things the book explains the duties of stewards, waiters, and cooks before, during, and after a run,  describes the use of air conditioning, kitchen gear, and other equipment, and provides instruction in the sanitary handling of certain food items. Intended to supplement the railroad's standard recipe book (presented below), this manual also provides instructions for preparing and serving a variety of foods and beverages, describing in detail the specific china, silverware, and glassware to be used. If you're interested in dining car service or are a collector of dining car artifacts, this "book of rules" is a very important item to track down. 
This manual was issued to grill car crewmembers. Like the dining car "book of rules" presented above, this item is a comprehensive instruction manual for operating grill cars. It is organized and laid out in pretty much the same way as the dining car book but of course covers the duties of grill car hostesses, attendants, countermen, cooks, and bartenders. This is another "must have" item to track down if you're interested in dining car service or are a collector of dining car artifacts as it presents very comprehensive information about the use of china, glassware, and silver on grill cars. Grill Car Instruction Book
Safety Rules The New Haven Railroad Dining Car Department issued its own safety rule book to food service workers. Intended to supplement the standard railroad safety rule book, the Dining Car Department's safety rules covered the specialized hazards found on diners and grill cars such as stoves, boiling water, knives, broken glassware, etc.
The New Haven Railroad Dining Car Department published a standard recipe book during the late 1930s as part of a general effort to upgrade food service operations across the railroad. Prior to the development of this book, each New Haven cook prepared food items in the manner he was most familiar with. The standard recipe book was intended to bring consistency to passengers' dining experience. Not only does the recipe book contain several hundred recipes, it also contains instructions on portion sizes and on serving methods. This is another very desirable and hard-to-find item from a collector's perspective. However, about a third of the recipes contained in the standard recipe book have been reproduced in New Haven Railroad - Dining on the Shore Line Route, which is available through the NHRHTA. Recipe Book
Bar Rules This unusual manual covers rules associated with serving alcoholic beverages on the New Haven's diners, grill cars, bar cars, lounge cars, and buffet equipped parlors, sleepers, and other cars. Each state that the New Haven's passenger trains ran through had its own laws regarding alcoholic beverages that covered, among other things, taxation and minimum ages for consumers and servers.
This interesting manual covers the agreement between the American Federation of Labor and the New Haven Railroad regarding working conditions for Dining Car Department employees. Among other things, the manual covers rates of pay for each class of union worker employed by the Dining Car Department. For example, in 1945 a waiter working on New Haven diners on most trains earned 51 cents per hour.  Those waiters lucky enough to be assigned to work the Merchants Limited, however, earned the princely sum of 52.67 cents per hour! Union Agreement


October 2004: New Haven Railroad Gate Signs

September 2004: Freight Station Signs

August 2004: Early Menu Covers

July 2004: Menu Covers of the 1930s Era

June 2004: Menu Covers of the 1940s Era

May 2004: The "Photomatic" Photo Machines

April 2004: Menu Covers of the 1960s Era

March 2004: Menu Covers of the 1950s Era

February 2004: Fun On The Train

January 2004: Travel Folders #7

December 2003: Travel Folders #6

November 2003: Travel Folders #5

October 2003: Travel Folders #4

September 2003: Travel Folders #3

August 2003: Travel Folders #2

July 2003: Travel Folders #1

June 2003: The Berkshire Line

May 2003: Small Rectangular Travel Folders

April 2003: Football Trains

March 2003: Children's Dining Car Menus

February 2003: Sleeping Car Service

January 2003: Odds and Ends #6

December 2002: Old Saybrook China

November 2002: Platinum Blue China

October 2002: Grill Car China

September 2002: Diesel Builder's Plates

August 2002: Odds and Ends #5

July 2002: Odds and Ends #4

June 2002: Odds and Ends #3

May 2002: Odds and Ends #2

April 2002: New Haven R.R. Travel Bags

March 2002: Cost Saving Fare Promotions

February 2002: Odds and Ends #1

January 2002: Ladies' Day

December 2001: New Haven R.R. Locks

November 2001: The Streamlined Coaches

October 2001: The Comet

September 2001: Seashore Tours

August 2001: John Held, Jr. and the New Haven R.R.

July 2001: The East Wind

June 2001: The Rail-Auto Travel Plan

May 2001: Advertising Stickers

April 2001: Dietz Hand Lanterns

February 2001: Right of Way Signs

January 2001: Signal Lamps

December 2000: TDI Commuter Schedules

November 2000: To Florida on the New Haven Railroad!

October 2000: Local Schedules

September 2000: Train Service Cancellation Posters

August 2000: The New Haven Railroad Rail Charge Card

July 2000: Beverage Service!

June 2000: The Boat Race Trains

May 2000: Timetable Change Posters

April 2000: New Haven Railroad Station Signs

March 2000: The Key to New England

February 2000: Route 128 Station

January 2000: New Haven Railroad Cigarette Lighters

December 1999: The Dan'l Webster

November 1999: Postwar Travel Posters

October 1999: Modern Dining Car China

September 1999: New Haven Railroad Dining Car Service Pins

August 1999: New Haven Railroad Lapel Pins

July 1999: The 1939 New York World's Fair -- 60th Anniversary

June 1999: On-Train Ashtrays

April 1999: Matchbooks

March 1999: Pilgrim Tours

February 1999: Special Trains of the 1950s and 1960s

January 1999: Ticket Envelopes

December 1998: Holiday Advertising Material

November 1998: New York City Travel Advertising Material

October 1998: Boston Travel Advertising Material

September 1998: The Hurricane of 1938 -- 60th Anniversary

July 1998: The New Haven Goes Back to Cape Cod

June 1998: The 1964/1965 New York World's Fair

May 1998: Official Gifts of the McGinnis Era

April 1998: System Timetables

March 1998: Pre-War Advertising Brochures

February 1998: New Haven Railroad Freight Service Advertising from the 1950s and 1960s

January 1998: The Snow Trains

December 1997: Hotel Montclair Advertisement ca. 1939

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