For those fortunate enough to have traveled on America’s great passenger trains, no part of such an experience survives as does the memory of a sumptuous meal in the dining car. The recollections of first-class service, the polished silver, the crisp linen, and a bud vase with a rose setting by the window, as America’s scenery flashes by.
The Southern Pacific provided passengers with unsurpassed dining car service for almost 54 years. From just before the turn of the century through the mid-1950s, the SP set the standard for comfort and fine dining. Carefully prepared meals were served with a panache that made every guest feel like royalty. Dining aboard Southern Pacific’s 140 dining cars, 26 all-day lunch cars, 36 club and observation cars and 20 steamer restaurants was a rite of passage for the rail traveler.
Dinner is Served: Fine Dining Aboard the Southern Pacific by Jim A. Loveland presents insight into SP’s rich and colorful history from the golden age of American railroading. Here is the dining car saga — a big, generous slice of it — served up in an easy-to-read style, with a matchless gallery of 115 historical illustrations.
Meet Author Jim A. Loveland
Jim A. Loveland was a reporter and editor in San Diego, New York City, and Boston before joining the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1977. He was named manager of public relations in 1986. He left the SP five years later to establish the public relations department for a geothermal power company. He later was a senior member in the corporate communications department of a major gas and electric utility. He is currently a freelance writer and editor. In addition, he is an instructor at the University of California, Berkeley Extension. He graduated from San Francisco State University and received an MS degree from Columbia University. He lives in San Anselmo, California, with his wife Paula.