Aboard the 1951 Empire Builder

When in service, the tables on the Empire Builder’s dining car were covered with beautiful white tablecloths into which was stitched a delicate pattern representing sheaves of wheat and the railroad’s initials. I’ll show one of these here if ever I figure out how to scan it. In the meantime, no tablecloths were used in the more plebeian Ranch Car; instead, patrons made do with these colorful placemats showing the kinds of foods grown along the route of the Great Northern many of which were served aboard the train.

Click image to download a 1.4-MB PDF of this placemat used in the Ranch Car.

While the 1947 Empire Builder had very colorful menus, by 1954, when this menu was issued, the Great Northern had adopted a more sedate menu cover for the Empire Builder. The back of the menu had a photo of the railway’s founder, James J. Hill, a smaller version of the same photo which glared at the dining car’s staff from one end of the diner.

Click image to download a 1.9-MB PDF of this menu used in the the 1951 Empire Builder’s dining car.

Passengers with access to the observation-lounge car were offered this stationery, which I am pretty sure came from the Mid-Century Empire Builder. Though not as colorful as the stationery on the 1947 train, it used the same high-quality paper.

Click image to download a PDF of this letterhead used in the the 1951 Empire Builder.

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