Dining while on the Railroad, 1869

Ten Minutes for Refreshments.
How much longer shall we be condemned to hear
this horrid cry upon our railroads? That it brings
pleasure to any but a few hungry fellows, with long
legs, hard cheeks, and ready digestion, we have always
doubted. The miseries and costliness of railroad re-.
freshment-rooms have long been a proverb; and it did.
not need that Dickens should show us how badly these
things were managed in England that we should ap
preciate our peculiar national grievances in this line
They manage these things better in Europe. On cer-
tain German railroads, for instance, you may be
travelling about the ordinary hour. At a certain station a
man gets on the train and takes the orders of all pas-
sengers who desire dinner. At another station, about
half a mile distant, the said dinners are placed before
each passenger; the number of orders having been
telegraphed from the station where they were taken.
For half an hour or thereabout the passengers are at
liberty to enjoy their meal, and then, at another sta-
then, the empty plates and baskets are taken away.
It need not be supposed that there is any inconveni-
ence or possible discomfiture in these railway dinners.
One does not hold a plate on his knees and a cup of
coffee in his hands. Upon the arrival of the train at
the dinner-station, each passenger ordering the meal
is furnished with a tall, round basket, about as high
but of not as great a diameter as a flour-barrel. This
basket has a flat top, with a rim around it, and a door
in the side, which, opening, shows shelves within, with
hot soup, meat, vegetables, perhaps dessert, and a bot-
the of wine, bread, etc. A depression in the top of the
basket holds the drinking-glass; and all tIme passenger
has to do is to take out his plates and eat at his leisure.
The cost of this meal is something like a half-dollar.
The value to a hungry, tired traveler is at least five
dollars. Are the American people so stupid that they
would not appreciate some improvement of this kind?
Let an enterprising company try them.

from the Manufacturer and Builder, Oct,1869

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