poniaj posted:

=snip=

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. =snip= 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!  =snip=

Jerry,

You are one lucky man!  What a great playground within which you work.  And I love the fact that you get your morning coffee at the original Owl Night Lunch, so beautifully restored.  As you no doubt know, it was built in the style of a Thomas H. Buckley lunch wagon c1900.  I think there's only one Buckley left and it was incorporated into someone's house here in Mass.  Mr. Edison was a very forward thinking man.

Here's a photograph of a reproduction of the Owl Night Lunch cart that is on permanent loan to the Tomlinson Run Railroad.  It's especially popular on excursion days.  The blond on the right is me, except that I'm not blonde and I gave up wearing heels years ago (otherwise, it's a dead ringer).

But seriously, I love the stained glass windows in the Greenfield Village restoration.  Beautifully crafted windows are something that fancy rail cars and trolleys, and the early wooden lunch wagon diners shared.  Years ago I worked at the Worcester (MA) Historical Museum.  Worcester was the site of diner and car manufacturing. The collections contained four deep ruby-colored etched glass windows from an early lunch cart.  They were stunning and I assume an incredibly rare survival.  The museum moved near the (colossal) restored Worcester train station.  Unfortunately, the museum is a bit of a hassle to get to now,  so I haven't visited to see whether the panels are on display.

Here are two surviving etched windows from a 1925 Worcester-built lunch wagon that still serves hot dogs, Casey's in Framingham, MA. They are Flora and Winter, respectively:

Photo Challenge: Can any forum members supply photos of railroad car etched glass windows?

Lastly, you are in luck, Jerry!  Just north of you is the Flint Trolley Ice Cream and Cafe -- part of the new food truck craze.  The trolley came from Austin, TX but no other details are forthcoming. Perhaps one of you experts can ID it?  The photo was a 2013 "courtesy photo" off the internet prior to restoration. Here are some links, including a video:

TV Newstory with video
The original vision/Austin, TX photograph source

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Matt,

Your San Francisco photos are a "San Francisco treat" as the old jingle goes. I especially like the angle of the last one. It captures real movement and those great design lines.  It's also neat that the city has included trolleys from around the world, as well as PCCs.

Consulting my recently created list of rail, interurban, and trolley cars serving food, you too are in luck if you are in the SF area. The Grubstake II Diner's was originally built from a Key System car. It has been serving food since 1927:

2016 Grubstake redevelopment plans: weird planned new placement!
Another forum's discussion about this and another CA diner

And another one of the two from CA with photos

TRRR (the media seems a bit confused between RR and trolleys)

Aerogipsy posted:

"Spaghetti Warehouse is an Italian restaurant geared towards families with 13 locations in 6 U.S. states. Each restaurant has a trolley car in the dining room and patrons are able to sit in the car." 
We visit the Columbus OH location regularly. The food is awesome, by the way!

Aerogipsy,

This restaurant chain was totally off my radar.  Thanks!  Like your OH location, many of these eateries get high marks for food.  So much for the greasy spoon image.  It looks like the different Spaghetti Warehouse restaurants contain a wide variety of cars -- wouldn't it be nice if they were found locally?  Only one looked fabricated.

From an architecture/function/design standpoint, one has to ask:  what is this fascination with bringing the outdoors indoors?  It seems to go beyond simply providing a cheap "building" by repurposing a vehicle, although many of the earliest diners started out that way.

And why this obsession with saving so many trolleys at the expense of repurposing more rail cars?   Here's a possible theory:  during the depression many trolley and street railway lines failed therefore making cars available.  Even during a depression, the saying goes, people have to eat, so restaurants continued to be opened and these cars were available for affordable restaurants, houses, sheds, etc.  On the other hand, I would assume that the Class 1 railroads may have struggled but probably were in a better position to keep their rolling stock running. And they probably were motivated to keep the older units going to save money.  Other factors might be the cost to move and probably greater ease in reconfiguring a trolley as opposed to a rail car.  Surviving rail car restaurants seem to stay intact more as dining establishments -- perhaps because they actually were designed as restaurants.

Just some blathering on a fantastic-weather holiday.  Thanks all for making this an interesting (and colorful) thread.  Time to go outside!

Tomlinson Run Railroad

Did anyone forget the Clinton Station Diner in NJ? They used an old Blue Comet coach as their diner I think. I'm pretty sure this is Biela. Biela

- Joe

Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters, METCA,

Independent Hi-Railers Eastern Division,

Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders,

Raritan River Chapter of the NRHS,

Black River Railroad Historical Trust

 http://raritanriver-rr.com/

http://www.blackriverrailroad.com/

 

 

"You're too young to remember the Raritan River!" -Told to me by a man at a train show.

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Aerogipsy posted:

"Spaghetti Warehouse is an Italian restaurant geared towards families with 13 locations in 6 U.S. states. Each restaurant has a trolley car in the dining room and patrons are able to sit in the car."  =snip=

Enough with the trolleys already!  I was just researching this spaghetti chain out of curiosity and instead stumbled on the Old Spaghetti Factory founded in 1969 in Portland, OR.  Each of their thirty restaurants is decorated with local items and features ... wait for it ... a trolley car that can be used as a dining room.  It's like McDonalds and Burger King -- if they each had a trolley car and served spaghetti that is ... At least the Little Rock Spaghetti Warehouse had a 1924 Pullman car from the Cotton Belt Railroad; but it closed.

And that Clinton Station Central New Jersey Blue Comet observation car is a great addition, gaining extra points for its coolness factor and tipping the scales nicely on the RR-side.

Tomlinson Run(ing Out of Index Cards) Railroad

jim pastorius posted:

I can still remember as a kid the first time I climbed on a new PCC car in Pittsburgh as a little kid. Before  that it was the old yellow ones. I was awestruck my the PCCs.   Pgh. had one of the largest fleets  but the only one around sits in the Heinz History Center.

    Only one around? Get the to the PA Trolley Museum out by The Meadows. 4004 is in the new shops. There are 3 Pittsburgh cars (1138,1467 & 1711), two SEPTA Red Arrow PCCs, and a Shaker Heights PCC trailer. 

Relevant to the original topic, there is also a car that once served as a diner, Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler & New Castle 115, in the museum collection.

At one point in time, someone has parked a railroad car in Downtown, McKeesport, PA. It was best known as a travel agency, but I seem to recall it being a hot dog shop at one point. Can anyone confirm?

Close to my home, Harpers Ferry, WV, there have been a number of food establishments run out of an old baggage car. It is just past the passenger station.

 

     I can recall two faux caboose restraunt buildings on PA 51 south of Pittsburgh. One was at the old McDonalds, South of Century III Mall, and the other was a hot dog shop near Rostraver, PA

Mickey's Diner is a classic diner in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota , United States. It has been in continuous operation at the same location since 1939. Designed to resemble a railroad dinning car, the prefabricated building was constructed in 1937 by the Jerry O'Mahony Diner Company of Elisabeth, New Jersey, then shipped to Saint Paul by rail. Its unusual architecture made it a local landmark. It was nominated for being "a beloved, longstanding and unique social institution," an unaltered example of railroad car-style diners, and one of the few surviving examples of its type in the American Midwest.

50 feet (15 m) long and 10 feet (3.0 m) wide, Mickey's has distinctive red and yellow porcelain-enameled steel panels and Art-Deco-style lettering on the exterior. A row of 10 train-style windows graces the front. The interior features floor-mounted round stools along a well-worn counter.

Mickey Crimmons and Bert Mattson opened Mickey's Diner in 1939. Such diners had gained popularity early in the 20th century as inexpensive, often all-night, eateries. Mickey's Diner has been operating as a family-owned business since the year it opened.

Besides its architecture, Mickey's is known for its all-day (and all-night) breakfast menu.

Opening day...

1945...

"The Mighty Ducks"

"Jingle All The Way"

Jon

During WWII there was a purpose built diner in San Diego in the shape of a complete Santa Fe streamline train.  A classic Chief diesel, then what would be the body of the train, ending in observation car end.  It was located on the highway to Ocean Beach, La Jolla, etc.  I was 14 at the time and memories do fade...(I'm 84 now)...but as I remember it being a very well done representation.   I remember riding the bus to the beach...and trying to convince my parents we should stop there and eat....but never could convince them.  One of life's regrets.  Anyone else remember it??  Pictures, perhaps?  Sure would like to see if it looked as good as I remember it.

          Logan

I Thought Growing Old Would Take Longer.

Greg Nagy posted:

   ...

Relevant to the original topic, there is also a car that once served as a diner, Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler & New Castle 115, in the museum collection.

...

Close to my home, Harpers Ferry, WV, there have been a number of food establishments run out of an old baggage car. It is just past the passenger station. 

...

Greg, great info!  Here's a link to the Trolley Museum's page describing the St. Louis Car Company interurban combine:

Former Diner Pittsburgh-harmony-butler-new-castle-railway 115

It's a very handsome car. And, here's a picture of the baggage car restaurant as in looked in 2012 according to Google maps:

2012-HannahsTrainDept-HarpersFerryWV

Interurban, combines, and baggage cars are all great in my book.  Thanks for these terrific additions.

Tomlinson Run Railroad

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There is a gentleman who lives in Beaver Co, Pa., Wayne Cole, who has written quite a few books about the many  small railroads that served the industries of western Pa. and some of Eastern Ohio. He has, also, written some books about the  street car lines and the interurbans in  western Pa.  I have both books that cover the two interurban lines that crossed through Butler Co. One is only about 3 miles away. I have explored what is left of the right-of-ways but a lot has disappeared. There is still an old brick power house outside of Renfrew that produced electricity for the one line. It was a mine-mouth plant-built right next to the coal mine which fueled their boilers. The building still stands, in nice shape, but is repurposed.  These helped spread electrification  to the people. A big weakness of the trolleys was the long walk or ride to the trolley line in all kinds of weather, day or night. When I was a kid during WW II we had over a half mile walk to the trolley line. One reason cars became popular but no one mentions that. You can Google "Cole Books" if you are interested in his work.

Logan Matthews posted:

During WWII there was a purpose built diner in San Diego in the shape of a complete Santa Fe streamline train.  A classic Chief diesel, then what would be the body of the train, ending in observation car end.  It was located on the highway to Ocean Beach, La Jolla, etc.  I was 14 at the time and memories do fade...(I'm 84 now)...but as I remember it being a very well done representation.   I remember riding the bus to the beach...and trying to convince my parents we should stop there and eat....but never could convince them.  One of life's regrets.  Anyone else remember it??  Pictures, perhaps?  Sure would like to see if it looked as good as I remember it.

          Logan

image

Boggs Brothers Diner and Cafe. What a wonderful childhood memory, Logan.  It would be neat if someone on the Forum actually got to eat there.  The postcard was found in this blog among the replies:

Roadside Eateries of the 1940s blog (scroll down for reply with this photo)

Tomlinson Run Railroad

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From Richard Gutman's American Diner: Then and Now (1992), p. 142-3.  Herbert L. and Raymond E. Boggs' diner was near three aircraft plants [named] on Highway 101 across from Lindbergh Field. The 1935 Boggs Brothers Airway Diner was two RR cars end-to-end with a streamline nose. One car was set up as a coffee shop with counter and stools, the other with table and booth service.  They took over the diner in July 1942 and added a drive-in and modern "high-class" restaurant.  So the car sections of the diner were the real thing.

TRRR

P.S. -- Check out the "truck" placements in the picture :-).

Thanks TomlinsonRunRR.  I really enjoyed seeing that picture.  Brought back a lot of good memories.  Still wish I could have eaten there.

 San Diego was a great place to be a boy during the 1940's.  I went to Theodore Roosevelt Jr high school (grades 7-13).  It was in Balboa Park...adjacent to the Zoo, separated by a high cyclone fence.  The teachers said it was to protect the animals. 

   I rode the streetcars to school...the number 2 line (PCC), changing to the 7 or 11 (400 series cars) through the Park to the school.  Great way to start (and end) the day.

          Thanks, again.  Logan

I Thought Growing Old Would Take Longer.

The count for existing rail cars and trolleys turned into diners has reached a new high.  As of today, I have located roughly 57 converted rail cars and 23 converted trolleys for a total around 80!  This fact should afford lots of regional and wider-ranging road trip opportunities across the U.S.  Many restaurants are along side rail lines, too.  This figure does not include the Old Spaghetti Factory and Spaghetti Warehouse chains, restaurants with multiple cars, nor the many examples outside the U.S.

This revised number shows that the car-to-eatery phenomenon continues to the present day and wasn't limited to economic factors of the 20's, 30's, and 40's.

Tomlinson Run(ning Out of Time) Railroad

P.S. -- Please note that I am not normally a compulsive list-creator but I hope to finish this project by September 30 when I must resume writing my dissertation (i.e., "real" history :-).

Jim Pastorius wrote earlier about a railroad car restaurant in Erie, PA.  That would appear to be The Station Dinner Theater Restaurant with its 1922 Pullman car, founded in 1970.  I'm attaching two photos from their website and the link with interior shots and its history:

The Station Dinner Theater

Erie has at least two "real" diners (or, "dinors" as that region spells it), but photos were hard to come by.  Just south of Erie in Edinboro, PA is a 1913 North Western Railway Interurban Combine, that is part of the Crossroads Dinor.  It first became a restaurant in 1929.  What a beauty.  Attached is a 2007 photo from the informative Dinerhunter website:

Diner Hunter.com's article and photos of Crossroads Dinor, Edinboro, PA/

OGR forum member, C.M. McMahon, has done a superb job of scratch building the original that she shared in a post last year.  Most impressive!  Here's the link:

Kitbashed NWO Niles Combine

Tomlinson Run Railroad

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The rail & trolley are "real" history but I really appreciate your work and sharing the info.  Do you include the "ship" that was on Rt.30 west of  Bedford, Pa. Not a  rail diner or trolley but built to loooklkie a ship. It burned many years ago. Very famous in the 30s.  In addition, in Bedford there is a building shaped like a big coffee pot that sold food.

Thanks, Jim. No, I'm not including any roadside art or similar attractions in my state-by-state list.  They are, of course, of general and visual interest and make for great photographic and layout subjects for those with the right skills.  And their images can certainly bring back great memories or evoke the wonder of times before ours -- a tremendous appeal.

The current weekend project is solely focused on cars that became food establishments and still exist today.  It's the intersection of decommissioned rail cars and the American architectural and culinary institution we call diners.  Railway history, good food, and functional but iconic architecture or design -- for me it's a winning combination. 

And, as alluded to previously, having been converted into a restaurant has saved some interesting specimens from destruction. Several trolley cars have been extracted from their buildings and restored to their former appearances; some cars remain in their hybridzed form, but have still found their way to railroad and other museums.

Bottom line: I like that these places still exist and that new places continue to be created today; and that we can visit them, sit inside and imagine or experience what used to be, and have a great meal. Hence, the list and to an extent, this post.

Thanks for sharing your Pittsburgh-area knowledge.

TRRR

 

 

 

 

 

9/24/2016 Update: Some corrections to text.

A Cowcatcher on a Diner?

We can imagine that railroad dining cars and diner architecture evolved somewhat similarly as products of the same design eras and the use of common manufacturing materials.

For example, originally, both had long wooden bodies set on wheels. Over time, the wooden bodies were replaced by steel bodies or siding in the case of diners.  (Only one entirely steel diner exists.) But, over time, rail cars remained on trucks while diners become increasingly land-bound.  OK, but who would have thought that some diners went so far as to include an architectural feature known as a "cowcatcher"? 

Post-war examples built by the Mountain View Diners Company (1938-1957) had a stainless steel corner that was called a 'cowcatcher'.  Curiously, it projected from the building's corners and not from the side, which would more closely mimic the front of a locomotive.  Following is the 1946 O'Rourke's Diner, Middletown, CT taken recently.  This diner is a short drive north from Essex, CT home of the Valley Railroad Company.  You can follow the excursion train's route and stops on the way to breakfast at the diner.  What could be finer? The diner is also just around the block from a Providence and Worcester wye and a great railroad swing bridge -- although who knows what will become of those now that the P&W is being sold?

1946 Mountain View. The cowcatcher is to the right of the brown trash barrel:

Here you can see how far the cowcatcher sticks out from the side of the diner:

Weird right?  Over time, the creative and aesthetic use of bent steel inside and outside diner architecture exceeded its use as siding on rail cars. That makes sense: rail car siding, while somewhat decorative, must stand up to the function of a rail car.  Additionally, the car's ends, where riders entered and exited or moved between cars, couldn't receive the creative siding treatment that the ends on a diner could, many of which had a center entrance and certainly weren't going to be traveling cross-country at high speeds!

Following are examples of diners that were built by Jerry O'Mahony Inc. (1913-1956) that show how corner steel detailing became more complicated over time.  More vertical rather than horizontal elements started appearing in diner buildings in both their siding and roofs -- emphasizing their more sedentary nature and moving a step away from the rail car look and eventually toward the classic '50s look -- much coveted by modelers.  Meanwhile, the Mountain View Company stopped using the cowcatcher but introduced their own "Streamliner" model.  The connection between rail car and diner apparently was a hard habit to break.

1948 Kelly's Diner horizontal corner detail, Somerville, MA in 2000. No cows will be caught here:

1952-3 Seaplane Diner corner detail -- complicated interleaving pattern, Providence, RI in 2000:

Notice, 'though how similar the siding is to a rail car and with a similar touch of color added.  Included in this post are full views of the buildings that show a continuing affinity with the (general) proportions of a rail car. 

A final note: If you head north on Rt. 154 to visit the cowcatcher, take a left onto Washington Street in Middletown for a quick side trip. First, you'll be rewarded with a view of a perfectly beautiful small railroad arch bridge -- it's just like my MTH model only 1:1!  Second, at 864 Washington Street, you'll find the Athenian Diner II, a more modern interpretation.  I ate there because O'Rourke's was closed.

Tomlinson Run Railroad

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Cow Catchers on Buildings Part 2

A web search a while back turned up only one other use of the railroad term "cow catcher" applied to architecture, and an iconic one at that: The Flatiron Building in New York City.  The information is conflicting but either the entire building was referred to as a "cow catcher" or just the front end or perhaps both.  Here are some fine historic pictures, complete with wonderful trolley cars. The first one is postmarked 1906 (both from my collection):

Summoning all of my modelling skills, I created my own scene of the "Flatiron Building with Trolley" here at the TR Railroad:

Enjoy!

Tomlinson Run Railroad

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10/2/2016 Update:  I added another train example showing shared diner-trolley-railcar influences -- dining car china from the Rock Island's planned but never realized "Golden Rocket". The image tied into the circa-1947 line's streamliner makeover.

= = =

Another more obvious design element shared by rail and restaurant was the use of wings.  I suppose it could suggest forward movement or even a tie-in with modern airline travel. 

Diners built by the Fodero (nee National Dining Car) company had a famous stainless steel winged clock behind the counter.  The winged clock reminds me of the winged PCC streetcar headlights.  Some headlights used on the Pacific Electric streetcars had especially long wings (not shown).  The long wings remind me of the UP logo and, of course an airplane pilot's wings.  What do you think?  Have any trolley, rail, or diner clock pics to share?

1940 Fodero diner clock (detail)

PCC car detail

UP engine detail

1947 Central design element of china for the planned Golden Rocket (detail)

And what's old is new again, Mini Cooper logo:

Credits: Fodero diner interior (Scotty's, Pgh, PA) by Ron. https://www.flickr.com/photos/...nroadside/2640193778. Creative Commons. SF PCC by Geo Swan. https://creativecommons.org/li...es/by-sa/2.0/deed.en
https://commons.wikimedia.org/...iginal_cities_-a.jpg  Mini Cooper logo: http://www.car-brand-names.com/mini-logo/

Further reading:

Wikipedia.org Golden Rocket article

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"Challenger" engine, "Challenger" diner: Coincidence or connection?  You decide ...

The tight connection between streamliner/moderne train design and contemporary diner architecture is so obvious that it's undeniable.  But here's another one to ponder: From 1936 to 1944, ALCO built an articulated steam engine for the Union Pacific called the "Challenger".  Maybe you have a model of one?  Mid-way into production, in 1941, the New Jersey-based Kullman Dining Car [read: diner] Company introduced a new "Challenger" diner model that featured Streamline Art Deco styling. 

These diners had monitor roofs -- like a rail car, but without windows in them; and they had glass block entrances and corners, and blue enamel sides, among other things. The glass block building material obviously would not be suited for a rail car or trolley, and so it is a clear departure.  These buildings also appear wider than earlier diner buildings during a time when streamlined cars became narrower. But the monitor roof remained, even though it was no longer functional for light and ventilation. (Note, however, the side vents in the photos below -- probably better suited for a restaurant.)

So, the evidence of a deliberate connection between the two "Challenger" models is less compelling than it is for the more prolific uses of the names "Streamliner" and "Flyer" across trains and restaurants. But it is possible that a deliberate connection was intended. According to the Wikipedia article on Kullman, in 2000, the company introduced a "Blue Comet" model, referring of course to the Central of New Jersey train.  (See the previous reply about the Blue Comet rail car that is now part of a restaurant.)

Following are two examples of the Challenger model, both from Providence, RI that I photographed in 2000.  Unfortunately, the glass block entrances are not visible. At one time both were endangered; now only one is:

1946 Silver Top (rotting away in Pawtucket since 2002 and up for auction on 5 Oct. -- three days away!)

1948 El Faro (now the West Side Diner and at a new location in Providence)

 

Wikipedia.org Union_Pacific_Challenger article

Wikipedia.org Kullman_Building_Corporation article

Tomlinson Run Railroad

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Neither fish nor fowl

Neither a trolley nor railcar turned stationary diner, I stumbled upon something entirely different this AM while searching for prototypes of a model passenger car I'm considering adding to my roster.

According to their website, this year, the Newport & Narragansett (RI) Bay Railroad Company "extensively remodeled" their RDC 3 Buddliner #30 into a 1950's style diner (or soda fountain/ice cream shop depending on which web page you read).  In addition to tables and chairs, this rolling "diner" has its own Wurlitzer jukebox.

A pre-renovation post on photo.nerail.org says that the 1950's car started as British Columbia Rail's BC-30. It was then sold to the Wilton (NH) Scenic, and then the Newport Dinner Train Islander.  It is now "serving" as Conductor Kalbfus and the Ice Cream Train.  Quite the mouthful. That's the scoop anyway (=supply groan here=).

photos.nerail.org Photo with history

1950's-style diner renovation (menu; see home page for photo of interior)

This Southern New England excursion company has a variety of nice looking offerings:

Newport & Narrgansett Railroad Website

Tomlinson Run Railroad



And let's not forget "The Blob".  Diner

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

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Dan Padova posted:

And let's not forget "The Blob".  Diner

LOL!  Admit it, how may of you modelers out there have had this kind of fun with your diner or other layout buildings?  

There is a Brill subway car turned pizza shop in Wallingford, Connecticut where a mediocre horror film was shot -- most of it inside the car/diner. (Checkout Trackside Pizzeria.) But nothing can touch The Blob!

TRRR

TomlinsonRunRR posted:

"Challenger" engine, "Challenger" diner: Coincidence or connection?  You decide ...

The tight connection between streamliner/moderne train design and contemporary diner architecture is so obvious that it's undeniable.  But here's another one to ponder: From 1936 to 1944, ALCO built an articulated steam engine for the Union Pacific called the "Challenger".  Maybe you have a model of one?  Mid-way into production, in 1941, the New Jersey-based Kullman Dining Car [read: diner] Company introduced a new "Challenger" diner model that featured Streamline Art Deco styling. 

These diners had monitor roofs -- like a rail car, but without windows in them; and they had glass block entrances and corners, and blue enamel sides, among other things. The glass block building material obviously would not be suited for a rail car or trolley, and so it is a clear departure.  These buildings also appear wider than earlier diner buildings during a time when streamlined cars became narrower. But the monitor roof remained, even though it was no longer functional for light and ventilation. (Note, however, the side vents in the photos below -- probably better suited for a restaurant.)

So, the evidence of a deliberate connection between the two "Challenger" models is less compelling than it is for the more prolific uses of the names "Streamliner" and "Flyer" across trains and restaurants. But it is possible that a deliberate connection was intended. According to the Wikipedia article on Kullman, in 2000, the company introduced a "Blue Comet" model, referring of course to the Central of New Jersey train.  (See the previous reply about the Blue Comet rail car that is now part of a restaurant.)

Following are two examples of the Challenger model, both from Providence, RI that I photographed in 2000.  Unfortunately, the glass block entrances are not visible. At one time both were endangered; now only one is:

1946 Silver Top (rotting away in Pawtucket since 2002 and up for auction on 5 Oct. -- three days away!)

1948 El Faro (now the West Side Diner and at a new location in Providence)

 

Wikipedia.org Union_Pacific_Challenger article

Wikipedia.org Kullman_Building_Corporation article

Tomlinson Run Railroad

In 2000 I was a punk rock art school kid living in the brick mill building in the background of your pics of the Faro. That mill was on the Woonsquatuket River and was The pre Civil War Fruit of the Loom mill. It was torn down in 2001 for a now failed shopping mall. I had many roommates and we lived over that fleamarket.

I knew the then owner of the Faro and went in sometimes especially in the winter for some warmth and fries or soup. They kept such odd and sporadic hours I'm surprised they were able to make a profit. 

Since I was in college still I walked or biked down Harris Ave past the capital to get to East side and my studio. So I was passing both of these diners all of the time. I would avoid the Silvertop at night because the late night clients enjoyed giving art kids a hard time. 

The pic of the Silvertop was taken in the short time after they tore down the Providence Cold Storage Building. I will always think of that huge red brick hulk behind the diner.

Across Harris from the Silvertop was the food market building  fronting the old New Haven main and there was a switch tower a bit further west on Harris.

I have somewhere an S Scale resin model of the Silvertop and the very rightly famous for both style and food Modern Diner in Pawtucket. 

As far as converted train cars used as diners. Around the same time as these pictures (2000) there was a McDonalds in Fall River Mass that had two stainless streamlined railroad cars as dining areas for the restaurant. 

Thanks for posting the pics. Good memories for me. 

Silver Lake,

Thanks for sharing your stories of the area from your art school days.  It really brought the Providence area to life for me.  And thanks for tying in the New Haven line and switch tower.  It's often interesting to see the intersections of where the diners are located and where the rail lines are.  Google is a great tool for that.

It's too bad the Civil War era mill was torn down. And the fact that there was once a large building behind the Silvertop makes sense.  It was sort of sitting all by itself when I was there, which seemed odd.

Like you, I have an S scale diner model but of the Tip Top.  It's part of the Lefton's Great American Diners Series from the Roadside USA Collection.  Someday maybe I'll succeed in getting an in-focus photo of it to post.  The back's unfinished, so it would look best against the wall of a taller building on a layout. 

I hadn't heard about the McDonald's with the RR cars dining area until your post, but then I stumbled on a reference and photo two days ago.  According to a railroad.net post, in 2006, the McDonald's remodeled and either donated or sold the car (they only mentioned one) to the Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum.  The museum just closed September 4 of this year.  Apparently a McD's play ground was in the streamlined car at one point.  Posters theorized it was originally a New York Central or New Haven car. McD's, like Denny's, went through a "diner phase" when they made various cosmetic changes to try and cash in on the popularity of diners.  I don't think it was that successful.  Maybe the Fall River railcar(s) sticking out of the side of the building dates from those days?  What an odd juxtaposition of styles -- the Golden Arches meet the Silver Sides! :-).

 Mickey D's meets New Haven. (I'll try and post the shareable photo tomorrow. It's stuck on my iPad. In the meantime, here's the link.)

Thanks for sharing.

 Tomlinson Run Railroad 

While searching for a good picture of the Fall River, MA McDonald’s Restaurant with the streamliner coach that Silver Lake mentioned, I was surprised to find three more examples of a rail car or interurban car with Golden Arches. Only one remains today.  Modeling inspiration anyone?

Bartow Station, Barstow, CA

 

Opening in the summer of 1975 on Route 66, this McDonald’s has always rail cars attached to it. It was originally built with “the best dining cars from across the country” – according to their website. Google maps reveals 6 cars at present. (There’s even a Subway Restaurant but no cars :-). Photos by SpecialK: http://www.pentaxforums.com/fo...arstow-remnants.html

Crystal Lake, IL

The Crystal Lake McD’s was built in 1959 as a take-out only restaurant. In 1984, a retired Chicago Transit Authority (St. Louis?) was attached to provide seating. This side-ways arrangement had much better fung shui than the Fall River car, which stuck out of the side of the restaurant at 90-degrees!  In 2006, this building was demolished and parts of the car went to the Illinois Railway Museum. Some better close-ups of this handsome Lake Street “L” car can be found on the web. Here are some history links (hopetunnel.org photo):

http://chicagoist.com/2006/12/..._closing_forever.php

http://www.hopetunnel.org/subw.../051120/mc4000_1.jpg

Boulder, CO

Once located at 29th Street, it looks like the caboose in the following link is gone. Waymarking.com is a good source for photos of railcars-turned-diners/dining rooms, along with GPS data:

http://www.waymarking.com/waym...Boulder_Colorado_USA

Tomlinson Run Railroad, Somewhere in the USA

This previously unknown McDonald’s was created from a PRR coach, appropriately named the Henry J. Heinz. In its heyday, this car was called the “King of the Condiments”.  In this 1977 view, Tina is leaving with a bag of breakfast pancakes while Joe is checking his watch to confirm that he has enough time for some Newman’s Own before heading off to work. The next two photos suggest why so few of these McDonald’s + rail cars remain in the U.S. 

Dinosaur view -- looks like a tasty hotdog from up here:

“Hold the pickles! Hold the lettuce, some thing tall’s gonna get us!”  Humm, maybe Dan P. was on to something?

Tomlinson Run (for the hills) Railroad

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Photos (6)

The Fort Smith (AR) Trolley Museum's Birney streetcar was part of a diner before its restoration and return to the rails...

Also in Fort Smith, the Westend Diner is located in a former dining car:

https://www.zomato.com/photos/...597-u_zNzYxOTEyNjQzN

In Fort Washington, PA, the Subway is located in a pair of cut-down Baltimore and Ohio passenger cars:

https://www.google.com/maps/uv...t%2Bwashington%2BPA/@40.1358043,-75.1989835,3a,75y,215.37h,90t/data%3D*213m4*211e1*213m2*211sEtvrEccUQ1Rzo9sngv6QUg*212e0*214m2*213m1*211s0x0:0xd9d7966064670810!5ssubway+restaurant+fort+washington+PA+-+Google+Search&imagekey=!1e2!2sEtvrEccUQ1Rzo9sngv6QUg&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjdovHKxYPQAhWoj1QKHY8TC3wQpx8IdjAK

Last time I visited, the bathroom still had etched glass windows from the B&O...

Mitch

It's crackers to give a rozzer the dropsy in snide!

 

Remember, SCROUNGE!

Mitch,

What a great and informative post, and thanks especially for your photo of number 224.  Great colors and angle!  It wasn't on my radar. Unfortunately, I haven't located a photo of its diner days, but maybe the National Register research documentation has one? 

The West End Diner's car has had me puzzled because sources say that it is a Pullman, but it has a PTCX reporting mark that I could never ID.  Was it Poultry Transit Co?  Texas Petrochemicals Corp? PTC Alliance?  All of these showed up in web searches. Then I found this link that says it's an ex-NY Transit Authority car:

West End/Boom-a-rang/Nickel&Diner at rrpictures.net

That sort of makes more sense to me based on the car's shape but the reporting mark remains a mystery.

That Subway Restaurant with the B&O cars was also unknown to me.  These repurposed cars seem to turn up in the oddest places and circumstances. That would be neat if the old etched glass is still there.

I believe Washington, PA is home to the PA Trolley Museum.  Apparently, there's a 1909 St. Louis car that was an all-wood and very ornate interurban electric. It was a diner for 55 years before being removed from the larger restaurant it had become and brought to the museum. It was #115 Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler, and New Castle and the only surviving example.

It's great that a car like the Fort Smith one is running again. Kudos to the folks who made that happen. Thanks again.

Tomlinson Run Railroad

 

 

 

Hey Bobby Ogage, excellent pix!  You got it!  What a variety of styles and eras.

For the curious, photos 1 and 3 are Sisson's Diner, 1926, Wasson Manufacturing, Springfield (MA) car #229. It is located in Middleboro, MA.  A visit to this trolley-diner was on my summer to-do list, but it never happened.  Also in Middleboro is a 1997 real (as in building) diner, Dave's Diner, built by the Starlite Diner Co. of Florida.

Photo 3 is the Ice Cream Shoppe, also paired with a real diner called The Trolley Car Diner, in Philadelphia, PA.  A 1948 St. Louis Car Co., PCC, former Philadelphia Transit Authority car #2134. It was restored and serving food only since 2003, so it's a relative young 'un.

Photo 4 is the Route 66 Diner, Gardner, IL.  This early style single truck American Car saw various non-tansportation uses since its retirement in 1932 -- some food related, some not. It's now in a small park.  It first ran in Albany, GA then was sold to Kankakee, IL for use as a trolley.

How about you West Coast folks (CA, WA)?  There are lots of rail car and trolley conversions out your way.  Maybe because the diner builders are mostly in the east and you have so much stock to work with?  Several conversions are in IL as well -- such a great place for preservation.

Thanks for the great photos.  Keep 'em coming, even if only vaguely diner/trolley/train-related.  How about some more train station restaurants? 

Tomlinson Run Railroad 

Diner architecture may have originated in the U.S., but railcars and trolleys turned into diners/cafes isn't unique to the U.S.  The web is full of pictures of them from all over the world.  (And, yes, some are McDonald's, too. :-)

Here's a link to an October Lionel Tracks post showing some very (and I mean very) creative conversions found in South Korea. There's also a video of some rail bikes that look a lot like peddle-driven speeders that connect the two converted cafes along side the tracks.

Repurposed rail car cafes (grasshoppers and fish) in South Korea

Enjoy!

Tomlinson Run Railroad

More on the bike route (former coal line)

Late in the evening , after bear "hunting" in Cases Cove in the Smokies, l drove past a brightly lit chrome diner that looked like one of those purpose built ones.  I think it was in Pigeon Forge.  I forgot to go back and photograph it in the daylight, but thought of this posting when l saw it. That is a very heavily visited area, so it may already be posted on here.

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

That diner in Pigeon Forge in the Smokies is Mel's Diner, and it is back behind the Denny's on the main drag, south side, through PF , l have been told. The Smokies are the most visited national park, so many are familiar with this area.

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

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