Although this lunch menu is five years newer than yesterday’s dinner menu, it has an identical cover (except for the word “Luncheon” rather than “Dinner”). Despite five years of inflation, the menu still offered a print of the 1401 pulling the Crescent for a mere $3.50 (about $10 today).
In the intervening years, Southern had discontinued all of its passenger trains except the Crescent, which by then ran daily overnight service between Washington and Atlanta and tri-weekly from Atlanta to New Orleans. Southern Railway President Graham Claytor received high praise for the Crescent‘s high-quality service, which was a slap in the face of Amtrak’s poorly maintained and often late trains.
Claytor, however, left the Southern in 1977, and his successor negotiated for Amtrak to take over the Crescent in 1979. In 1982, Claytor was named president of Amtrak, a position he held for eleven years despite being 70 years old when he took the job. Claytor was well liked by Amtrak employees, rail fans, and members of Congress, though after he left Amtrak his successors claimed he had deferred maintenance in order to support unrealistic claims that Amtrak could eventually run without operating subsidies. Nevertheless, under Claytor the Southern Railway holds the distinction of keeping the Silver Age of passenger trains alive for eight years beyond Amtrak.
This lunch menu offers four entrées available either table d’hôte or a la carte: broiled fish, baked ham, chicken pan pie, or cheese or ham omelet. They are all priced $4.65 (about $14 today) with a full meal or $3.65 ($11 today) a la carte.