Looking for docent training material - Diners, Classic Pullman, RPOs

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ehbowen

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I'm putting together a training syllabus for volunteer docents at the Galveston Railroad Museum. While I've already gleaned bits and pieces from various places over the past fifty years, most of it isn't documented. I'm asking for good sources for reference material on classic passenger train operations and travel, specifically:
  • Dining cars: Staffing, operations, commissaries, possibly even a few recipes. We have ex-Burlington (FW&D), Southern, and ATSF cars in our collection.
  • Sleeping (Pullman) cars; we have two...a classic heavyweight (1924) 10-Section Observation Lounge car (former Mount Darwin) as well as a 1954-build smoothside ex-Canadian National 8 Duplex Roomette, 4 Bedroom, 4-Section of recent acquisition.
  • Railway Post Offices: We have a nice ex-ICRR heavyweight, vintage 1914.
Thanks in advance for any help.
 

railiner

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Here's some books that may be of help...



You might consider 'reaching out' to some top ranked RR museum director's for suggestion's, as well. There must be some type of trade publication, where you might also be able to get suggestion's from the experts, regarding the recruitment and training of museum docents....
 

NS VIA Fan

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  • Sleeping (Pullman) cars; we have two...a classic heavyweight (1924) 10-Section Observation Lounge car (former Mount Darwin) as well as a 1954-build smoothside ex-Canadian National 8 Duplex Roomette, 4 Bedroom, 4-Section of recent acquisition.
That's an 'E' Series...…. Which one do you have and I might have a picture and floor plan?
 

Willbridge

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Mar 30, 2019
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I'm putting together a training syllabus for volunteer docents at the Galveston Railroad Museum. While I've already gleaned bits and pieces from various places over the past fifty years, most of it isn't documented. I'm asking for good sources for reference material on classic passenger train operations and travel, specifically:
  • Railway Post Offices: We have a nice ex-ICRR heavyweight, vintage 1914.
There's a YouTube video of RPO operations that was produced by the Post Office as a recruiting film. It was excellent. Also, I have a LinkedIn essay titled "Stamped Out" that discusses the abrupt end of most of the RPO runs in 1967. If you're not on LinkedIn I could post it here.

There is a subset of stamp collectors who collect RPO cancellations, as the Railway Mail Service veterans fade away. Odds are good that some of them live in the Houston-Galveston region. They can look at a cancellation and explain a lot. The attached envelope went from Portland to Berlin in four days, faster than Air Mail. There were a lot of hacks for RPO service that my dad used in his business days.

1971-04-29 Last RPO.jpg
 

jiml

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Feb 27, 2019
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That's an 'E' Series...…. Which one do you have and I might have a picture and floor plan?
I will always have special memories of ex-CN E-series sleepers. My first and many other overnights on a train.
 

jiml

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Feb 27, 2019
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I'm putting together a training syllabus for volunteer docents at the Galveston Railroad Museum. While I've already gleaned bits and pieces from various places over the past fifty years, most of it isn't documented. I'm asking for good sources for reference material on classic passenger train operations and travel, specifically:
  • Dining cars: Staffing, operations, commissaries, possibly even a few recipes. We have ex-Burlington (FW&D), Southern, and ATSF cars in our collection.
  • Sleeping (Pullman) cars; we have two...a classic heavyweight (1924) 10-Section Observation Lounge car (former Mount Darwin) as well as a 1954-build smoothside ex-Canadian National 8 Duplex Roomette, 4 Bedroom, 4-Section of recent acquisition.
  • Railway Post Offices: We have a nice ex-ICRR heavyweight, vintage 1914.
Thanks in advance for any help.
I didn't even know Galveston had a railroad museum. Adding to bucket list if this border ever re-opens.
 

Bob Dylan

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I didn't even know Galveston had a railroad museum. Adding to bucket list if this border ever re-opens.
Yep, its downtown on the Strand. Ex Sante Fe Station that survived really bad floods during several Hurricanes which Galveston is known for.( the Amtrak Thruway bus that meets the Daily Texas Eagle in Longview runs to Houston, then down to Galveston and Return. ( By Reservation through Amtrak) but not sure about connections with the Sunset Ltd?? ( Three Days a week)
 

jiml

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Feb 27, 2019
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Yep, its downtown on the Strand. Ex Sante Fe Station that survived really bad floods during several Hurricanes which Galveston is known for.( the Amtrak Thruway bus that meets the Daily Texas Eagle in Longview runs to Houston, then down to Galveston and Return. ( By Reservation through Amtrak) but not sure about connections with the Sunset Ltd?? ( Three Days a week)
I've never been to Galveston. I don't plan to fly anywhere for at least the next year or so, despite having tons of FF miles to burn. Amtrak's not really a budget-friendly option, so might have to schedule a road-trip, stopping by Austin to buy a friend of mine a beer or two. ;)
 

Bob Dylan

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I've never been to Galveston. I don't plan to fly anywhere for at least the next year or so, despite having tons of FF miles to burn. Amtrak's not really a budget-friendly option, so might have to schedule a road-trip, stopping by Austin to buy a friend of mine a beer or two. ;)
Sounds like a Great Road Trip once it's safe to travel LD again!:cool:
 

ehbowen

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Mar 22, 2011
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That's an 'E' Series...…. Which one do you have and I might have a picture and floor plan?
The museum renamed it the "Donald E. Harper" after a patron; I'm not sure what its name/number was originally but I can ask our curator. The floor plan looks essentially identical to the one at the bottom of page 555 in the 20th edition (1957) Car Builders' Cyclopedia by Simmons-Boardman, the publishers of Railway Age.
 

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Willbridge

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I will always have special memories of ex-CN E-series sleepers. My first and many other overnights on a train.
Four of us went to my wedding Vancouver > Edmonton in 1972, traveled in an E-series Bedroom Suite. I knew the math, but it still felt extra roomy. My first sleeper in North America.
 

NS VIA Fan

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The museum renamed it the "Donald E. Harper" after a patron; I'm not sure what its name/number was originally.....
Donald E Harper was exCN Egerton

Search results - Railroad Preservation Index

Here's a photo of Egerton on the Ocean at Halifax in August 1978.




The scan you posted is the Floor Plan.......and here's some interior shots from a CN Brochure:










And an FYI: I live about 25 miles from 'Egerton'.....a small rural Nova Scotia community that was once the usual meeting point for the RDC Railiners between Sydney and Halifax.

 

NS VIA Fan

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  • Railway Post Offices: We have a nice ex-ICRR heavyweight, vintage 1914.
Here's an RPO journey documented on the back of a 'Registered Letter' (hence the additional postmarks)...sent from my Aunt in Westport, Connecticut to my Grandmother in Stellarton, Nova Scotia back in 1958.



The letter was mailed in Westport on Mon June 30 and probably went via the New Haven Railroad to Boston......then transferred to the “Bangor & Boston RPO” on Tr 7 the Gull, departing North Station at 9:30pm. It continued on overnight and the next day to the Maritimes.....with further cancellation stamps on the (CNR) “Halifax & Campbellton RPO” and the “Sydney & Truro RPO”.....finally arriving in Stellarton on Wed, July 2.....880 rail miles from Westport.

The Gull was jointly operated by the Boston & Maine Railroad, Maine Central, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National and originally had through cars to Halifax but by 1958 those cars only went to Saint John, New Brunswick.




 

railiner

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Sure wish there was still a way to do that journey, today...not even possible by bus...
 

Dakota 400

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Looking at the floor plan for these sleepers, they brought back to my mind something that I have wondered about for a long time with regard to the Bedrooms.

Some bedrooms had sofa type seating and some had two chairs. I recall C&O's bedrooms had chairs, but PRR's had sofas. Why the difference? Was it due to the choice of the railroad?
 

Seaboard92

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Dec 31, 2014
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Always happy to help on this service as a modern day Pullman attendant.

For recipes

The Santa Fe had amazing French Toast that I often make for myself or for friends breakfast.

Ingredients
-6 Eggs
-One Whole Bread
-3 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 Dash of Salt
-1 Dash of powdered sugar (optional)

Steps
The Night Before
1. Mix the Eggs, Heavy Cream, Vanilla Extract, and ground cinnamon until it's frothy.
2. Slice the bread into 3/4 inch pieces. Then cut the slices into triangles by cutting diagonally.
3. Soak the bread overnight in the cream mixture overnight. Make sure to get the bread completely covered. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Day of
1. Place in the skillet and cook until lightly brown. Then place on a lightly buttered baking sheet.
2. Bake in the oven at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit for ten minutes or until golden brown.
3. Sprinkle the powdered sugar or syrup, or other toppings as you like.
4. Enjoy.

The Santa Fe also did not use fresh bread for this. Their recipe called for left over bread from the day.

It is a fantastic recipe.

I have plenty of other railroad recipes in my files from PV trips. I am happy to share them.

As far as sleepers go the best source for anything Pullman related is the Washington, DC Chapter of the NRHS. They pride themselves on offering an authentic experience aboard the Dover Harbor. Everything on that car is original down to the wood burning stove. And they believe in keeping to the Pullman experience as well in the bedrooms. I am sure they would help you out.
 

Shortline

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Mar 13, 2011
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The rail museum in Campo CA has an awesome indoor RPO car display, with video interviews of RPO workers describing their jobs, and what working the mail car was like. Might check with them. Great museum with a lot of stuff.
 

Seaboard92

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Dec 31, 2014
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The North Carolina Transportation Museum also has a great RPO display and a functional and operable RPO as well. If you want to reach them I'm good friends with the CMO he could point you the right way.
 

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