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Hi all,

There's a lot of misinformation out there about diners (the food establishments) being made out of old railway cars or trolleys.  One area that underscores this confusion is the numerous 0-scale models of "diners" that are converted RR cars. The facts are that "true" diners were buildings constructed as a portable architecture form.  Just like railroads, these eateries reflected the designs and fashions of the times.  Thus, you find barrel and monitor roofs with clerestories, stainless steel sides, and "modern" streamliners.   And, it didn't hurt that some of these manufacturers made rail cars as well as restaurants (e.g., Brill, Kullman?).

There are always exceptions to every rule and when cities or RRs retired some of their cars, some cooks saw these offerings as an inexpensive way to set up a dining establishment.  Diner historians believe that these already old and leaky shells gave "true" diners made by specific manufacturers a bad reputation.  There certainly aren't many of these true conversions left, which would seem to support the view that 1. they weren't that common and 2. they were in poor condition to begin with.  The last time I paid attention (pre-2011), there were about 12 converted RR cars in the country and about 22 converted trolleys.

Here are photographs of two surviving diners that were created from a RR car and trolley, respectively.  Some day, I may scan and post photos of streamliner diners.  What a great feature for a layout!

P.S. -- Sorry my scanner does such a poor job on these photos.  At least it was free. :-}

Veteran's Square Diner, West Warwick, RI. Late 1800s trolley. Photographed on a Dinerama trip in 2000.  We (foodie foamers) didn't get to go inside.  A Google hit obtained today says this restaurant began life as a 1911 Osgood Bradley electric trolley, so I guess the date from the tour guide was a bit off.

Milford Diner, Milford, NH. 1910 railroad car.  The left-hand side of the diner hangs out over a river gorge, adding to its ... er ... charm.  Given that, let's hope this was one of the sturdier retired RR cars.  To my moderately trained eye, in 1991 when I visited, the ceiling was the only thing left reminiscent of its original use.  According to a Google search today, the diner is now called the Red Arrow Diner and has a metal roof.

Tomlinson Run Railroad




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  • Lt1800s-Trolley-Turned-Diner-WarwickRI-1: Hidden inside is the heart of a trolley.
  • Lt1800s-Trolley-Turned-Diner-WarwickRI-2: Close-up of neon sign.
  • 1910-RR-Car-Turned-Diner-MilfordNH: Converted RR car.
  • 1910-RR-Car-Turned-Diner-MilfordNH-3quarterview: The bridge and river is to the left.
Last edited by TomlinsonRunRR
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I visited the Steaming Tender Restaurant in Palmer, MA during the 2009 NMRA convention.  They have a restored diner as part of the restaurant.  Here are some photos that I took.


This is the restaurant's website.  It has an interesting history.

NH Joe


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Thanks for posting, NH Joe.  Nice photos but personally I would called that a "restored dining car" to avoid confusion with the specific diner architecture :-}.  I was actually considering stopping in Palmer on my vacation (if I ever get around to scheduling a vacation, that is). Those photos are tempting me.

And, in a truly odd twist of fate, it seems as though we have lost one more trolley-turned-diner. The Veteran's Diner in RI is now ... no, not gone but ... a trolley again!  Check out:

Well, and I guess why not? But as a fan of both diners and trolleys, it's hard to know which incarnation to root for.  At least I got to photograph it when it was a "diner".

Tomlinson Run RR

The old "Sterling Diners" certainly had the general appearance of a railroad car. I remember there was one near Fairport NY and my brother's girl friend was a waitress there in the 1960's.

sterling-diner-1 photo from internet

Inspired by the streamlined trains, and especially the Burlington Zephyr, Roland Stickney designed a diner in the shape of a streamlined train called the Sterling Streamliner in 1939.[1] Built by the J.B. Judkins coach company, who had built custom car bodies,[2] the Sterling and other diner production ceased in 1942 at the beginning of American involvement in World War II.


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Ace, that photo reminds me of a Silk City-built (rare) diner in Lake George, NY. Sadly, I just learned that it burned. If this trend of diner restaurants that I've visted disappearing keeps up, I'm going to have to switch to dinner trains and converted train station restaurants for my foodie "life list". Or, better yet, perhaps I'd best stay away. 

CO Highrailer, you've piqued my interest - tomorrow I'll check out my 2011 list to see if the Toledo McKeen conversion was in it.  It's great when you can arrange a trip to combine hobbies, interests, and of course, good food but so disappointing when you find something hasn't survived or if lucky was moved.

UPDATE: Fixed embarrasing typo.

Yes! There was a Victoria's Station in Burlington, MA that I once ate at but it is long gone.  Now there's a kit-bashing project where you could utilize a bunch of those unpainted boxcars normally intended to be made into a hobo hotel ...

Tomlinson Run Railroad 

Last edited by TomlinsonRunRR

Yes, I too, have seen and once ate in a Victoria's Station Restaurant, I think it was in Columbus, Ohio, and I saw another maybe in Louisville, Kentucky.  I remember all the boxcars around it, and the closed facility, before it was torn down.   Here in the midwest we seemed to get the chain restaurants before the east, such as McDonald's (I ate at the only one in my college town while in school) in the late 1950's, and when I began trips to central and eastern Pa. about 1970,  I had trouble finding appealing places to eat.  We did not like the atmosphere of "diners".   No problem finding any chain restaurants there now!  Now, of course, I like to find good, different, restaurants, but when traveling there is sometimes comfort in familiarity.  Several restaurant chains, Sambo's for one, that I frequented, have vanished.  





tripleo posted:

Kind of (sorta) related, does anyone remember the Victoria Station restaurant chain?!Victoria Station Denver/zoom/cp3k/image3a9

Yes, I absolutely do!  Their prime rib and salad bar were awesome!  The building incorporated old boxcars.

The last one I recall seeing (is it still there?) was near the mall in Bedford, MA.  There used to be one in Monroeville, PA, but I haven't driven through that area in years.



The former Oregon Electric station in Eugene Oregon is now a restaurant and bar with rail cars behind the station serving as dining rooms. It's within a block of the Amtrak station.

131-3199_IMGphoto by Ace 2003

In the 1970's the building was used for a regional branch of the Portland OMSI museum. The inside of the building was divided up into separate areas with lower ceilings and a planetarium, losing all the character of the original station. In back were an old SP&S baggage car and coach, used for a museum-affiliated model railroad club layout and classroom space. I had a weekend job at the museum during my early high school years, and was also involved with the model railroad club where I made some lifelong friends.

This was the OE track arrangement at the Eugene old depot circa 1970: Portland to the left, end of track at right.


The building was sold after 1980 and redeveloped into the present restaurant, which has restored much of the original character of the station. The baggage car which housed the model railroad was converted into a kitchen area, I heard. You can see some of the rail cars in Google street views, although they are mostly roofed over now. The museum had two baggage cars and a coach; the restaurant redevelopment brought in some additional rolling stock by truck.

Oregon Electric Station, Eugene Oregon

1970 Eugene - Oregon Electric Alcosphoto by Ace 1970

RS3 locos like BN#4065 (still in SP&S paint) used to go down 5th Street until the tracks were paved over in the 1970's. I have photos of an old SP&S baggage car being delivered (donated) to the museum circa 1970, if I ever get the slides scanned.

The former Oregon Electric Station in Albany Oregon is now a pizza restaurant. The architecture is similar to the Eugene station, but smaller.

2007- 033-photos by Ace 20072007- 035

Oregon Electric passenger service down the Willamette Valley ended in 1933, but these two former stations have survived as restaurants.


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The Victoria Station you remember in Bedford, Mass. may have been the one I went to. It was across the highway from the Burlington Mall.  The Bedford and Burlington town lines are very close at Mall Road. According to the following website, the only one of the chain left in the US was the last one built. It's in Salem, MA and looks gorgeous with large windows opening to the waterfront:

In the second video, on the restaurant's Videos page, the manager says the Salem restaurant was the 99th and last one because number 100 was never built. And, she continues, Salem was the only one that didn't have seating in boxcars "which was a good thing".   To each her own :-).  However, there is a wall of RR memorabilia visible in the background of the video.

Trolleys->Diners->Trolleys Again/Streamliner Moderne

I've got some serious weekend errands to devote myself to right now. (It's like a 100 degrees in Mass. again and I simply MUST make sorbet before I along with the strawberries wilt). Later, hopefully I can scan and post my photos of two Sterling Streamliner-styled diners. The front ends will look VERY familiar to RR fans. One is still in Salem, MA.  So fans of Victoria Station, streamliner moderne styling, and diners can have a photo and food field day.

Also, I found a great picture of another trolley turned diner turned trolley again and will post the link.  Getting back to the original thrust of this post, I now have this observation: while the number of retired RR cars and trolleys that were repurposed as diner-style restaurants is much smaller than the manufacturers of plastic or wood layout models would lead us to believe, the conversion (encasement) of some into "diners" has saved at least two for restoration as trolleys. So far,  no evidence of a railroad car turned "diner" turned RR car again. Just joking.  There's no need ... unless maybe it was super rare.

On the other hand, when real diners burn or are the victims of arson, which they seem to often be when empty and even when active, they either go to the scrap heap or sit rotting in a field somewhere. Sound familiar? Both hobbies have dedicated preservationists, but sadly, you can't save them all.

Sorbet becons.

Tomlinson Running Out of Patience With This Heat Railroad

Last edited by TomlinsonRunRR

Ace, you have a great sense of history and railroading (real and model), and great pictures to back it up.  I loved seeing the track plan. Thanks!

Here are photos of the Sterling Streamliner diners that I have visited.  Sterling was the manufacturer and Streamliner the model name.  A clear RR knockoff. The handful of surviving Streamliners apparently have fallen on hard times, including one of these. The side view should be very familiar to RR enthusiasts!  Of course the food fare between the country's most "moderne" trains and community diners couldn't have been more different, but there's no hiding the fact that the architecture in this case was directly copying the famous engines.

Another possible source for the tight coupling/conflation of diner architecture with dining cars and trolleys in the popular mind may be a direct result of how diner owners named their restaurants.  In the Sterling Streamliner link below, you'll see how frequently "Flyer" appears in the title, such as "Yankee Flyer" and "Penn State Flyer"; and then there was the one named "Dining Car".  Very suggestive of popular regional trains.  Perhaps the 'Dining Car' owner was trying to present an image of the RR dining car, which provided the finest fresh food to set each road apart from the competition. In the illustrations in this link, notice also the use of portholes on the center doors.  You'll also see some diner buildings with dual slanted ends -- they look a bit like an MU, don't they? :-)  Other diners, including at least one Streamliner knock-off, can be found with "trolley" in their names, too.

Lastly, I'm including two railroad-themed diner photos that aren't Streamliners, along with an especially photogenic "semi-streamliner".  I'm not aware of any 'semi-streamliner' design equivalent in the train world but they remind me a bit of Pullman or heavy passenger cars.  For the restaurants, the stainless steel was sometimes an add-on over the original enamel siding.


Tomlinson Run Railroad

P.S. -- Like RR stock and trolleys, most diners had builder's plates with a serial number.

Examples of Streamliners

1940 Sterling Streamliner #406, formerly in Salem, NH. Now apparently sitting in a field in CT since 2005.  The slanted side's windows are covered in this picture but the web contains others were they are visible -- along with a classic chevron stripe across the front. 8/27/1994.


1941 Sterling Streamliner #4110, Pawtucket, RI. Checkout the slanted end, the windows, and that great paint. This one still has its chevron. Summer 2000.


Examples of RR-influenced Names

The Pig 'n Whistle, 1952 Mountain View (mfr). Brighton, MA. It got its name from the stockyards and railroads that were once near by.  This one is now closed but still standing. 24 June 2000.


Henry's Diner, now The Breakfast Club. Worcester #841, Allston, MA. This one's a puzzle: from Google satellite there are no obvious former RR tracks nearby, and yet this diner sports a railroad crossing sign topped by a chef's hat!  Cute by unfathonable to me :-}.



Photogenic Semi-streamliner

1941 The Rosebud Diner, Worcester #773, Davis Square, Somerville, MA (take the "T" to it!) 6/24/2000.

1941 Rosebud Diner Worcester SomervilleMA


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  • 1940_SterlingStreamliner_SalemNH-SideView: 1940 Sterling Streamliner Formerly in Salem, NH
  • 1941_SterlingStreamliner_PawtucketRI-3-4View: 1941 Sterling Streamliner Pawtucket, RI - front
  • 1941_SterlingStreamliner_PawtucketRI-SideView: 1941 Sterling Streamliner Pawtucket, RI - side
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  • 1941 Rosebud Diner Worcester SomervilleMA: 1941 "Semi-streamliner"

For kicks I'm researching which former RR cars and trolleys are still functioning as "diners" since I created a list of known ones some years ago.  In the process, I uncovered the fact that one so-called diner consisted of not one but seven RR cars (per an article; Google shows five visible).  Sort of a Victoria Station before there was such a thing.

One car was supposed to be FDR's reelection car and because there was a recent post about FDR's car's I thought I'd post the following link.  Scroll past the Chinese food photos to get to the interior shots of the Presidential Car. It's now part of the "Orient Express" (nee Andy's Diner) in So. Seattle, Washington:


Nice woodwork!  There's a brief mention of the prior history of one of the other railroad cars as well.

Tomlinson Run Railroad

Last edited by TomlinsonRunRR

There's a Birney car that is part of a restaurant in Skippack, PA.

On the old diner front we ate at the Cloister Restaurant in Ephrata PA whose modern exterior hides a classic stainless diner from somewhere in the 30's to the 50's.  They were closing so I couldn't see if there was any manufacturing information or "tag" as the diner site on the web calls them.

It even has opening windows reminiscent of a passenger car or school bus window. 

Here's a post card shot from thebay:


Rule292/Rob, thanks for the tip about the Birney car. It wasn't on my old list -- maybe because it wasn't pretending to be a diner?  The all-knowing, all-seeing interweb has a picture of it when it was The Trolley Stop on Rt. 73 in Skippack, PA.  It's an undisguised trolley. The blog post says it was painted in the colors of the Reading Transit System.

Today it is part of the Hotel Fiesole in Skippack and sporting a new look:

Hotel Fiesole with Birney Restaurant

Interior of the Trolley 

A very toney looking hotel has some how successfully grafted a Birney trolley onto its front and made the whole thing look classy and oh so European.

The Ephrata restaurant where you ate is hiding a circa 1950 Silk City-manufactured diner.  What a great postcard!

Thanks for a most interesting pointer to a nicely restored and functional bit of transportation history.

Tomlinson Run Railroad 

In continuing my investigation into the historic and present conversion of rail and trolley cars into diner-style restaurants, I found this excellent compilation from the Illinois Railway Museum's Hicks Car Works blog.  There are plenty of photos to enjoy: 

IL Railway Museum Blog on RR and Trolley "Diners"

Some of the information is out-of-date and some links no longer work.  However, by combining their data with my own and some serious Googling, I identified about 54 still extant examples across the country -- a number considerably higher than previously recorded by diner historians. The restaurants are roughly divided between repurposed RR cars and trolleys or interurban cars. Regional patterns are emerging, too -- they are more often found in states without nearby diner manufacturers.  Of course, that observation needs to be balanced by how many true diners where in the region, the era, the economy, and etc.

Because this is a miscellaneous *photo* post, I hope to get some pics up soon.  Initial impressions of the many photos out there suggest that there was a strong connection made between rail and restaurant: rail/city transportation designs inspired small restaurants and restauranteurs actively choose to interpret and market their buildings by making that connection.

A final note: true restaurant diner architecture evolved from horse-drawn lunch wagons. The restaurant was set up on a small plot of unused land and then removed at night to avoid town ordinances.  My research revealed that around 2013, several road-rated trolley cars were converted into mobile eateries.  No doubt this was part of the still ongoing explosion of popular celebrity-chef style food trucks. Thus, the design and function has come full circle as these eateries are once again mobile and parked on unused plots of land by day and driven off by night. Sadly, in just these three years, most trolley restaurants seem to have folded.  Of course, being mobile, they could have moved on ... :-).

My hope is make a state-by-state list available so that any of you with an interest in this design intersection can take your cameras and your empty stomachs to find examples near you. By adding photos to share here and through your patronage, we have two great ways to help preserve these bits of history.

Tomlinson Run Railroad

Thanks for your kind words of encouragement, Greg.  I appreciate it.

One more note to add: apparently restaurants claiming to have an FDR car are as common as inns claiming a visit by George Washington.  The story behind the car and link in my August 16 post has been challenged by several bloggers.  Regardless, it is still a beautifully crafted interior, which has survived.


tripleo posted:

Kind of (sorta) related, does anyone remember the Victoria Station restaurant chain?!Victoria Station Denver/zoom/cp3k/image3a9

There was a Victoria Station in Southfield, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit) and it was one of our favorite places.  But I guess others didn't think so, and now it's gone.  If you're looking for a classic "diner", the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn has a restored one inside called Lamy's, originally from Massachusetts.  Serves 50s style fare as part of an experience.  Never was a railroad car, but the style resembles it. 



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Jerry, great to read that Lamy's is serving food again. Massachusetts's loss is Michigan's gain.  The diner was built in 1946 and is a semi-streamliner Worcester Lunch Car model just like the Rosebud pictured in my post.  So, absolutely, there's a railroad influence there.  Do I remember correctly that the museum also has an original (or reproduction?) lunch wagon of the type that eventually gave rise to the architectural form?

Tomlinson Run Railroad  

This evening I just stumbled on yet another interurban car turned diner turned ... well it's waiting to be restored back to an interurban car by the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.  I'm not sure if some of the photos of the trolley and its diner incarnation are copyrighted, so I'll just provide links.

The Berkshire Hills was built in 1902 by Wason Manufacturing Co. as a very high-end electric parlor car.  Wason was a J. G. Brill subsidiary, which along with the parent company, also built restaurant diner buildings.  Around 1932?, the car was sold for $300 and became the Berkshire Hills Diner in Pittsfield, MA.  The diner became part of a larger restaurant that had a fire in 1994. This event paved the way for the car's shell to be donated to the Trolley Museum, where it is currently in storage.

Parlor car historical and technical details from the Seashore Trolley Museum:

The car's diner phase:

Pictures of the original car and the later diner together:

Some nice historical photographs, including a fantastic interior view (also shown in a link above):

Surprises: some 50's-ish diner buildings had rounded ends with curved glass windows at the building's "corners". This is something that would seem impractical in a rail car, interurban, or trolley because of the way cars were connected and or people would enter and exit the cars. But apparently the Berkshire Hills had some curved glass windows.  From the pictures it looks like it might have been on the car ends.

Tomlinson Run Railroad


Last edited by TomlinsonRunRR

Speaking of J. G. Brill, here is a Brill-manufactured diner from the 1940s as it looked in 2000. It is at 323 Main Street, Wakefield, South Kingston, RI.  A quick Google check shows that it looks even less like a trolley-inspired building now than it did when I took this photo:

In 2000 it was the Kiddie Closet. Now it's the "velvet [sic] Revolution: wardrobe revival".

UPDATE: Here's the side view for more of that Brill trolley feel:


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Last edited by TomlinsonRunRR

From Streamliner to Trolley

This post started out by talking about companies that manufactured "real" diner buildings, and the fact that instead some people used decomissioned railroad, interurban, or trolley cars as the basis for their restaurant buildings.  And they often played up a train or transportation connection in architectural touches or in the restaurant's name.  Some people even built their own buildings from scratch.  Even then, the draw to mimic aspects from American transportation was strong.  Here's a diner I visited today that has it all!  It morphed from a home-made double-ended streamliner train-style diner to a trolley.  Now that's progress! :-}

The streamliner diner look was patented by Roland L. Stickney. Apparently, he was an automobile designer.  Here's the patent via  Notice that is shows port-hole windows and not the slits that the streamliner diners ended up with (see prior posts).  The porthole shape ties in "moderne" ocean liners as well, and we know that portholes sometimes appeared in railroad stock and on plenty of Lionel cabooses:

From 1945 to 1950, Donald Evans -- a Salisbury, Massachusetts man -- built a rare double-ended streamliner himself.  The chrome center door that he used came from an earlier diner built by the Worcester Lunch Car Co. and owned by his brother.  Perhaps by the time he finished in 1950, the moderne design craze had started to move on to the chrome craze?   Regardless, it was called Evans' Streamliner, suggesting that the look and appeal continued a bit longer.  Here's a black and white print of a John Baeder painting after the diner was moved to Lowell to its current location and renamed (from an online auction site).  It was painted light blue and moved in 1956:

Click here to see its red phase and read the restaurant's history (scroll down about mid-page for Gorham Street Diner). This post contains photos of its amazing transformation in 1981 from a double-ended streamliner  to a ... trolley car!  (It doesn't get much better than this.)


So, had the lore of the train faded from memory while the trolley image surged ahead?  Was a trolley more familiar to the city dwellers of Lowell?  Here is the Trolley Stop in 1991 (my photo). Notice the railroad bridge on the right that says "Welcome to Prince Spaghettiville":

And here's the diner as it looks today.  Just as I pulled up, the MBTA (Boston) Commuter Rail went by. It would have made a great shot had I not been driving:

With all the hoopla on the side about "Lowell's Historic" ... you'd think that this building was an actual trolley car but we know better.  Inside there are two paintings of the streamliner version in red -- one with Rock Island and Maine Central boxcars visible on the four-track girder bridge.  There's also a nice photograph of a U.S. Mail trolley from I believe the Boston area.  In the full shot from today, if you look closely at the entrance windows, you can see fake etched glass.  All in all, it's very nicely done and a pleasant place to visit. The windows were amazingly clean and I would have loved to have taken a photograph from a window in the "trolley" entrance of a train going by. But that would have been a long wait (Saturday PM schedule).

For those of you who missed seeing rivets and real converted RR/interurban/trolleys, here's an "art shot" of the girder bridge:

Question to ponder: Why do you think trolleys as an image for food establishments are so popular? When the railroad declined and buses and autos ascended, were trolleys somehow seen as something in between?  Is it easier for later generations to identify with them because they ran on streets like city buses or are used to move tourists about?

Tomlinson Run Railroad


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While on vacation this week, I had hoped to photograph and eat at Sisson's Diner, a 1926 Wason trolley, which has been a restaurant in Middleboro, MA for years.  However, driving any where near Cape Cod on Labor Day weekend seemed foolhardy.  So I improvised: I ate at a real diner and then went in search of what I thought was a static trolley car display a few blocks away at Lowell, MA's Boott Mill.  It was a lucky day;  I got two cars that it turns out actually run in this city, and an antique diner to "Boott".

Featured are: the Cameo Diner (builder unknown); a 1924 New Orleans Perley-Thomas-built trolley; an accurate reproduction open air trolley; and the 1930s Paradise Diner (Worcester Lunch Car Co.).  Now I understand why the Trolley Stop Diner's makeover from a streamliner train to a trolley in the previous post is a big deal in this city.


Tomlinson Run Railroad

First, brunch in a real neighborhood diner:

Across the river and a few blocks away, the 1835 Boott Cotton Mills, a National Park Service trolley stop:

The trolleys are coming (open-sided repro on the left, New Orleans Brill on the right):

Changing direction:

This stop has an intriguing second track and a trolley siding that goes past a 1930s diner, across a steel and wooden bridge over the canal, and into the rear of the mill building.  Very interesting.  Any ideas as to its original function?  It was clearly electrified once.

Many real diners have this stained glass detailing on the transom window -- often in orange.  Is there an equivalent motif on railroad car transom windows?

"Art shot" with canal, trolley, and a "green monstah" building:

This green open air building along the trolley track, opposite the mill, and the "power canal" is now set up for outdoor performances.  It struck me as: 1. once having housed a facility for generating electrical power  2. a modern creation made to look old and 3. very steampunk in nature. I have no clue. Do you?


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jim pastorius posted:

Great photos !!  Thanks for posting. Based on your interests you must be from the P-burgh area. 

Thanks, Jim.  Glad you liked them.  Yes, I'm originally from Pittsburgh. There's lots of modeling inspiration to be found in Pittsburgh and surrounding locales and, fortunately, lots of available models.  The Boston area isn't too shabby either :-).


TomlinsonRunRR posted:

Jerry, great to read that Lamy's is serving food again. Massachusetts's loss is Michigan's gain.  The diner was built in 1946 and is a semi-streamliner Worcester Lunch Car model just like the Rosebud pictured in my post.  So, absolutely, there's a railroad influence there.  Do I remember correctly that the museum also has an original (or reproduction?) lunch wagon of the type that eventually gave rise to the architectural form?

Tomlinson Run Railroad  


For years Lamy's was just a static display when brought to Dearborn in 1984, but as of around 2010, it now serves food again.  Mr. Lamy (a WWII vet) opened the diner in 1946 in Marlborough, MA, Moved to Framingham, MA shortly after, then moved to Hudson, MA in 1947, then sold the diner in 1949.

I work in Greenfield Village, part of the Henry Ford, and drive the Model Ts there.  Lamy's is in the Museum part, but I drive by the Owl Night Lunch wagon every day at least 4 dozen times!  The Henry Ford's Owl Night Lunch wagon served nighttime workers in Detroit in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among its customers was Henry Ford, a young engineer working at Edison Illuminating Company during the 1890s. Ford acquired the Owl in 1927 and moved it to Greenfield Village, where it served as the first food service operation.  Here's a photo of it in 1935 when it served hot dogs and hamburgers along with fries and drinks. 

Later on, it was painted its original colors and presently serves drinks and lighter fare.  It's where I get my morning caffeine fix!

And, yes, it's the original one!  BTW, on the right in the photo is the Wright Brothers' Cycle shop.  The original one!



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Last edited by poniaj

A Kissin' Cousin to trolleys were the inclines that went up the sides of steep hills. Has anyone, anywhere ,ever modeled one ?? Some of these two tiered layouts would be a natural for one. A Lionel bump-n-go  power unit would work.  Pittsburgh still has two on Mt. Washington and Johnstown, Pa. has one.  At one time Pittsburgh had almost a dozen !!!  One carried coal up to the top and another had a curve in the track.


I'm scanning and assmbling some goodies in response to your great reply.  Stay tuned!


I think PittsburghRailFan or someone with a similar handle containing "Pittsburgh" has modeled the Mt. Washington incline on the side of their railroad layout. I saw it on a you tube video a while ago and thought the whole layout was great capturing varios industries, but I was especially impressed that he tackled an incline.

Also, within the last week on this Forum, someone posted a picture of their father's cog incline that they just got set up to run on an angled board.  You might have luck seaching for it as it was very recent.  Now there's an entirely different kind of "third-rail" :-).

 Tomlinson Run Railroad

Well...they were never converted to any kind of eateries, but here are some pics of the restored trolleys and PCC streetcars that currently run in San Francisco. The PCC's...from the 1940's-50's are from American cities such as Baltimore, Washington, DC, Chicago, Boston and New Orleans.  The trolleys are from around the world.   

MattMilan Trolley Car-006The Christmas TrolleyFace to Face with the Toronto PCC Streetcar [1 of 1)Vintage Baltimore PCC Streetcar on Market Street [1 of 1)PCC Streetcar #8 [1 of 1)PCC Streetcar #5 [1 of 1)PCC Streetcar #4 [1 of 1)PCC Streetcar #1 [1 of 1)SF Muni street car #1050


Images (9)
  • Milan Trolley Car-006
  • The Christmas Trolley
  • Face to Face with the Toronto PCC Streetcar (1 of 1)
  • Vintage Baltimore PCC Streetcar on Market Street (1 of 1)
  • PCC Streetcar #8 (1 of 1)
  • PCC Streetcar #5 (1 of 1)
  • PCC Streetcar #4 (1 of 1)
  • PCC Streetcar #1 (1 of 1)
  • SF Muni street car #1050

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