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across North Dakota (or was it Montana), I was seated for breakfast with two women and another man, all of us strangers to each other. When the introductions ended with me, the woman seated next to me, who was from Charleston, W.Va., exclaimed, “I work for a Porterfield.” While I did not know him, I was certain we were related. There are a lot of us, our ancestors having arrived on here in the late 1600s. The other woman, the youngest of us all, had just finalized her di- vorce in Maryland and was going out west for a fresh start. The woman from West Vir- ginia asked if she was looking forward to meeting “some cowboys?” The bright red hue that covered her face added emphasis to her nod. The other male at the table initially mystified us when he’d reacted in a strong and negative manner to the waiter’s sugges- tion of turkey sausage with his eggs. When the waiter departed, he apologized, noting that he’d just been released from prison af- ter a three-year sentence, and that it seemed the only breakfast meat served there was turkey something. A pleasant and lively breakfast, accompanied by the sun- rise, ensued. We’d become that bane of stew- ards and lead service attendants every- where: Diner Dawdlers. On another occasion, this on a New York-

bound Crescent out of New Orleans, dinner was being served in one of the beautifully modernized heritage dining cars from the David Gunn era, those of the muted indirect lighting, pastel colors, and etched class par- titions. The steward was immaculate in his dark blue suit, white shirt, gold tie and high- ly shined shoes. Soon after seating me, he brought a woman who was also traveling alone to our table. She was beside herself with excitement, traveling to spend time with her husband, who was in the Air Force. As she sat down she looked around and said, “Isn’t this just beautiful? This is the whole reason I took the train. My parents always talked about riding the train and eating in the dining car.” Throughout dinner she kept saying, “This is wonderful,” referring to the car, the scenery, the food, the ambiance, everything. Knowing Amtrak as I do, seeing the care given to the car’s interior, knowing the steward was an old head who took pride

in all things under his command, I was con- fident that this woman was going to bask in the dining car experience for the entire trip and become a spokesperson for trains for a long time to come. Most Memorable Dining Car Crew

Person On Amtrak: One evening I’d ar- rived late into Chicago from L.A. on the Southwest Chief, expecting that I’d missed my Capitol Limited connection. However, it turned out the Limited was late departing. We boarded around 10:00 p.m. Sleeping car passengers, of course, were entitled to din- ner with their room. We were called to the dining car shortly after departure, where pandemonium prevailed. There was a limit- ed menu available — a choice between two entrées —and the crew, short a waiter, was having trouble getting everyone into their seats and explaining the menu to them. Into this mayhem strode a sturdy young woman in blue jeans and a red T-shirt emblazoned with a resort logo. She revealed a deep voice as she politely commanded everyone to sit down and listen up. She then explained how things were going to work, that everyone was going to get fed, and here were your din- ner choices. The dining room quieted, orders were taken and, as we rolled east in the dark of night, food was served and convivial con- versation ensued. The young woman, I later learned, was an Amtrak dining car employ- ee who was traveling on vacation. When she saw her co-workers struggling, she stepped in to do her part to insure the dining car met its obligation while the passengers had a positive experience. I left the dining room hoping she’d one day run the railroad.

One For the Big Guy Knowing how much the Steak ’n’ Shake chain meant to the late Jim Boyd, from the many mentions he makes of patronizing the chain in his writing, J.C. Smith, Jr. of New York wrote recently with this news: “For any Midwestern RAILFAN& RAILROAD reader who has put off that train photography trip to New York City because of the lack a suitable place to dine, they may now plan that trip. “Steak ’n’ Shake has ‘premiered on Broad-

way,’ with the launch of their first Manhat- tan ‘Signature’ establishment, situated just


 

   

 


  

  

      

    

  


 

 

  

 

   

         

 

 

    11      


2012 CALENDAR Color covers. Thirteen photos inside. Historical information. $11.00 each. Ohio residents include 75¢ sales tax.

New York Central System Historical Society, Inc.

Dept. R • 17038 Roosevelt Ave. Lockport, IL 60441-4734 Dealer Inquiries Welcome

Yard Goat Images

Celebrating Historic Rail Preservation DVDs with less talk…more steam!

3-Volume DVD set:

Steamin’ Summer

• Rock Island Train Festival

• QJ & NKP 765 ferry moves • Little River RR 110 Birthday • Silver Creek & Stephenson RR • And More!!!


Rock Island Train Festival 765 Travels Home

The QJs Return to Newton, Iowa Steam at Monticello

by Yard Goat Images

1st DVD $24.95, 2nd DVD on same order $19.95, or all 3 for $59.95! (plus shipping) Or call 612-623-0167

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    

   

 

 

 

  

 

  

 


Little River Railroad #110/ Celebrating 100 Years Tank Engines to Rock Island

by Yard Goat Images


by Yard Goat Images Features:

QJs to Rock Island NKP 765 to Rock Island Silver Creek & Stephenson Rock Island Train Festival

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