Dining car


November 30, 2021

A dining car is a railway car that is specially set up for the purchase and consumption of food and drink by travelers during the journey. As a rule, dining cars therefore have a dining room with a restaurant-like interior and a kitchen (galley). In full dining cars, all seats are in the dining room. In the half dining car there are also normal seats not intended for the consumption of food and drinks, which can be used as an extension of the dining area with some types if necessary.


Before the introduction of dining cars, travelers had to fall back on offers of food and drinks at the subway stations. In spite of the fact that some particularly long stay times were planned for this - for example, at lunchtime or opportunities to purchase hot take-away meals - this supply system turned out to be inadequate, especially since the journey times were sometimes more than twice as long as today fierce resistance from the train station landlords, who saw financial disadvantages due to the competition for their offer. Ultimately, however, it turned out that these concerns were unfounded. In parallel with the triumphant advance of the dining car, the business of the station innkeeper with the supply of travelers before or after a journey or at transfer stations flourished. In addition, there were also reservations on the technical as well as the hygienic side, as the dining cars increased the train weights without creating additional passenger capacity, and any kitchen or food smells moving through the train were considered harmful There was a ride in the USA. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad installed a small restaurant with bar and kitchen in a passenger car as early as 1863, and the Chicago & Dalton Railroad started using a dining car built by the Pullman company from 1868 onwards. A dining car is said to have been in service in Russia between Moscow and Odessa as early as 1870. A Pullman car that was in operation in Great Britain from 1874, the parlor car called "Victoria", however, did not have its own kitchen, the food had to be prepared in a stationary manner and then carried into the car. From November 1, 1879, passengers on the Great Northern Railway between London and Leeds could be catered for in a dining car.



The first German dining cars were improvised by the International Sleeping Car Company (Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, CIWL for short) by converting some third-class cars on the Berlin-Anhalter-Eisenbahn and, from July 1, 1880, first between Weimar and Bebra, then between Berlin and Bebra used. The kitchen for preparing meals was not located in the actual dining car, but in a subsequent baggage car. The background to the newly created dining car range was that the Prussian State Railroad had been using an express train between Berlin and Bebra on the newly built route via Güsten since May 15, 1879 and Sangerhausen reached Bebra 15 minutes faster than the express train of the Thuringian Railway Company via Halle and Erfurt. To compensate for this competitive disadvantage, the Thuringian Railway Company wanted to offer its passengers a special service with the first German dining car. This dining car service was operated by the CIWL until 1884. After the nationalization of the Thuringian Railway Company, the contract was terminated and the management of the dining car was transferred to Halle station manager Gustav Riffelmann on October 15, 1885. The first completely new dining car - also the first German car with a kitchen - was manufactured in Germany in 1880 by the Rathgeber company in Munich

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