Lackawanna culinary students serve from a rolling Erie Lackawanna diner car
Some of our Culinary Arts students are providing food service to the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society on their inspection run of the Norfolk Southern line today. The Society aims to preserve the passenger and dining car experience on the Erie Lackawanna and its predecessors. #lackawannacollege #lcculinary???????? #lovelackawanna #localhistory #erielackawanna
Students from Lackawanna College used former Erie Lackawanna dining car No. 469’s own appliances to cook and serve a meal for guests on a moving train – the first time in decades for the car.
SCRANTON, Pa. – Using restored kitchen equipment that hadn’t been utilized in decades, students from Lackawanna College’s Culinary Arts program cooked and served a meal in a moving Erie Lackawanna kitchen for guests aboard Dining Car No. 469 during a March excursion. The project was a collaboration between the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society and the College. The Society’s prize project has been the restoration of an EL dining car to operation.
“This was a wonderful collaboration between our students and the preservation society,” said Chef Mark Seibert, CEC, CCE, Culinary Program Manager of Lackawanna’s Culinary Arts program. Seibert accompanied students during the event. “It was such a unique experience for these future culinary professionals to see first-hand what it took to serve passengers decades ago along the railways that have been so important to Scranton’s industrial history.”
On March 29, the society catered to Scranton-area executives on an inspection train on the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad. It was the first run of the restored Car 469, which was originally used on the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western’s Hoboken, N.J., to Buffalo, N.Y., Phoebe Snow.
“We all felt a tremendous amount of pride and accomplishment as we watched our equipment performance and witnessed what it is truly capable of after years of hard work and dedication by our volunteers and supporters,” said Paul Capelloni, the dining car society’s vice president.
The Budd Co. built No. 469 in 1949. Volunteers have been raising money to restore the car since the society purchased it in 2010. A 2012 grant paid to move it onto the group’s private property in Scranton. After extensive wheel and truck repairs, the society began to host stationary meal service with catered food prepared off-site. Work on 469’s kitchen, plumbing, and propane supply continued through 2014 and 2015.
The inspection trip with 469 was included in the consist of a train that included managers from Genesee Valley Transportation, the Delaware-Lackawanna, Norfolk Southern, and the Northeast Pennsylvania Regional Rail Authority.
Capelloni said that 469’s completion was a transitional moment in the society’s history. Not only can the group add the completion of a significant restoration project to its resume, but revenue from events hosted in the dining car will establish a source of income other than grants and donations. The events are already lining up: On April 15 and 16, the society will host dinner and cocktail events at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel.
Capelloni says that the funds will go towards certifying the car so it can travel on more far-flung excursions, and purchasing a head-end power car to replace the one on loan from Norfolk Southern.
The society owns several other retired dining cares, and following the complete restoration of No. 469, would like to begin work on the interior of No. 741, a 1925 Pullman lounge-dining car that the Erie and later Erie-Lackawanna used for general passenger service.
– Prepared with information provided by Train News Wire.