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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Dining Car: 1902

The Dining Car: 1902

Circa 1902. "Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad dining car." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


Along with "Delay, Linger and Wait," another DL&W nickname was "Dread, Long and Weary." My dad was a lifelong DL&W/EL employee and I often heard those as a kid.

Railroad nicknames

Regarding Jazznocracy's comment, it reminded me of a small rail line many years ago that served the timber areas of East Texas. Its official name was the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity and Sabine Railway [WBT & S].

However, due to a constantly precarious financial situation throughout its short life, combined with improper track maintenance as a result, most folks said WBT & S stood for Wobbledy, Bobbledy, Turnover and Stop.

It would be interesting to find out how many other "unofficial" railroad nicknames were out there using the letters of the rail companies.

Try Your Skill

Hit the fork handle, flip the knife and spoon into the vase. Win a free order of fries.


This is what train buffs call "High Varnish." Mighty nice.

I'm pretty sure I haven't missed an opportunity, every time the DL&W is featured here, to mention that when my grandmother rode that line, over 100 years ago, they all said that the letters DL&W stood for Delay, Linger and Wait.

More on The Silverware

I believe that the waiter would set the appropriate utensils for each course from the attractive arrangement. There isn’t a lot of room at these tables and I have been to restaurants where the waiter set the silver before each course.

Re: Strange Display?

I didn't notice it at first, but you are correct in that the layout is quite unusual. Of course, I absolutely love it, and will try the layout the next time I have a formal dinner party. It almost looks as if it is supposed to represent the railroad crossing sign.

Thanks to a co-worker, the silverware layout has been identified as a "Dragonfly Pattern". - gen81465

According to Lucius Beebe

The varnish diners were meant to give the traveler the same dining experience as the First Class hotel they left and the one they were traveling too.

Style of Long Ago....

Incredible elegance that was probably taken for granted back then. Superbly designed (notice the condiment racks on the bulkheads), hat racks, nighttime dining with electric lights overhead. And electric fans! What will they think of next. The use of mirrors that visually make the dining car larger than it appears. This dining car appears to have it all! The man in the aisle does have a bit of a ghostly appearance, though.

Strange Display?

The Silver Ware display on the tables looks awfully strange...wonder why that was placed that way?

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