1979 Lunch Menu

This menu was obviously designed to go with yesterday’s breakfast menu, but unlike yesterday’s plain paper menu, this one is printed on both sides and laminated in heavy plastic. Two of these menus could be laid side-by-side to show a train consisting of a locomotive, coach, sleeper, and diner. In actual practice, Amtrak ran most trains with coaches first, then diner, then sleepers.

Click image to download an 2.3-MB PDF of this menu.

Extra space is used to advertise Amtrak’s “accomplishments”: purchase of Amfleet cars, refurbishment of stations, and the availability of rail passes and family fares. The menu itself has items similar but not identical to those on the 1978 San Francisco Zephyr menu. Multiply prices by 3-1/3 to get today’s values.


1979 Lunch Menu — 2 Comments

  1. Sadly, Amtrak’s food service leaves a lot to be desired. Why they touted chefs that were CIA graduates at one time I don’t know, but I can’t imagine they lasted long. I celebrated my 21st birthday in February, 1971 on the westbound Super Chief out of Chicago. They really knew how to run a train. Nothing else has come close since.

  2. “In actual practice, Amtrak ran most trains with coaches first, then diner, then sleepers.”

    Which is what most railroads did IIRC right up until Amtrak, one exception being Southern Pacific. Sometime in the mid-1960s, SP began to run coaches on the rear of the Lark, with sleepers up front, and when sleeping car service returned to the Sunset in the fall of 1970 the sleeper(s) were at the front of that train as well.

    In the case of the Lark, positioning coaches at the rear of the train may have been because demand for sleeping car space was predictable (and scant) while demand for coach space was probably a little more elastic. In the unlikely event an additional coach or two was needed, it could simply be tacked on to the rear of the train.

    As for the 1970-71 Sunset, by then SP had closed the Mission Road coach yard in L.A., and the Sunset’s consist ran through to SFO as the Daylight, where it was serviced. Car positioning might have had more to do with that than ease of adding to the consist if need be.

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