1973 Dinner Menu

When Southern Railway decided not to join Amtrak, its president was Graham Claytor, who not only promoted passenger trains but supported steam-powered passenger excursions. Since the locomotives used for those excursions had originally been built for freight service, Claytor asked the Smithsonian if Southern could lease the 4-6-2 1401, the passenger steam locomotive that the Southern had donated to the Smithsonian, but the museum refused.

Click image to download a 1.8-MB PDF of this 1973 menu.

However, the Smithsonian couldn’t prevent the Southern from using the image of the 1401 in its advertising, and here it is on the cover of its post-Amtrak dinner menu along with one of the E-7s that Southern then used to pull the Crescent and other passenger trains. The back of the menu offers travelers a print of the 1401 pulling the Crescent for $3.50 (about $15 today). I have one of these prints which I’ll eventually post here.

The menu itself offers five different entrées that come with complete dinners: sirloin steak, prime rib, fried chicken, broiled fish, and chicken liver omelet, all with juice or soup, vegetables, salad, bread, dessert, and beverage. The broiled fish and omelet are each $3.85 (about $16 today) while the steam is $6.50 (about $27 today). All of these items except the entrées also appear on the a la carte menu; the only a la carte entrées are sandwiches.

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