14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

By Attila Nagy on at

There was a time when travelling by trains meant passengers could sit down for full-service meals in dining cars just like in high-end restaurants. Everything was fancy, even the menus. The following selection of old menu covers does a brilliant job of showcasing the golden era of streamlined locomotives (watch out for the legendary Aerotrain!) and Charcoal Broiled Select Sirloin Steaks. 

We highlighted the most expensive dishes on each menus, if you want to know what other dishes were served, visit the source links under the images for more information.


“Via the popular and scenic… Dixie Route (Chicago-Florida)” / Dixie Flagler tavern car menu, 1943

Most expensive items on this menu: Southern Comfort whiskey and Scotch for $0.60.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: From The New York Public Library


Association of American Railroads, Burlington luncheon menu, 1943

Most expensive dishes on this menu: Old Fashioned Stewed Chicken with Noodles, and Pan Broiled Hamburger Steak, Brown Onion Gravy, both for $1.25.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: From The New York Public Library


“The Century in the Highlands of the Hudson” / New York Central System dining car menu, 1943

Most expensive dish on this menu: Country Sausage and Eggs for $1.00.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: From The New York Public Library


Burlington Zephyrs, 1943

Most expensive dish on this menu: Roast Prime Rib of Beef Au Jus for $1.50.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: From The New York Public Library


Association of American Railroads, Burlington Club breakfast menu, 1943

Most expensive dish on this menu: Breakfast No. 3. for $1.00.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: From The New York Public Library


Burlington Zephyrs, 1943

Most expensive dish on this menu: American Pot Roast, Demi Glace Buttered Noodles for $1.50.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: From The New York Public Library


Fresco Lines, 1943

Most expensive dishes on this menu: Corned Beef Hash With Fried Egg for $0.85, or Menu No. 1 for $1.00.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: From The New York Public Library


The Streamliner, City of San Francisco, 1943

Most expensive dish on this menu: Charcoal Broiled Select Sirloin Steak for $1.75.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: From The New York Public Library


New York Central, dinner menu, 1956

Most expensive dishes on this menu: Breaded Large Milk Veal Cutlet, Fines Herbes, and Old Fashioned Pot Roast of Beef, Brown Gravy, both for $3.85.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: The Culinary Institute of America, Archives and Special Collections


Silver Streak Zephyr, dinner menu, 1943

Most expensive dish on this menu: Small Dinner Steak, a la Minute for $1.50.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: The Culinary Institute of America, Archives and Special Collections


New York Central System, dinner menu, c1950

Most expensive dish on this menu: Fried Half Young Chicken, Southern Stylefor $3.15.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: The Culinary Institute of America, Archives and Special Collections


Burlington Route, Way of the Zephyrs Everywhere West - Transportation Giants, dinner menu, 1943

Most expensive dish on this menu: Small Dinner Steak, a la Minute for $1.50.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: The Culinary Institute of America, Archives and Special Collections


New York Central System, 20th Century Limited, dinner menu, c1943

Most expensive dish on this menu: Lobster Newburg for $2.25.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: The Culinary Institute of America, Archives and Special Collections


New York Central System, James Whitcomb Riley, dinner menu, c1943

Most expensive dish on this menu: Grilled Small Stirloin Steak, Mushroom Sauce for $1.75.

14 Gorgeous Menus From the Golden Age of Dining Cars

Image: The Culinary Institute of America, Archives and Special Collections


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