• Final dining car nights of season Sept. 22, Oct. 6, 13, 20
Online Staff Report
EAST TROY, Wis. — There was a time when commuter trains offered lavish meals served on china atop white table cloths. Service was impeccable and riders were treated to a culinary experience that rivaled the finest of restaurants. That experience lives on today at the East Troy Electric Railroad in East Troy, Wis., as the living history museum proudly operates the last remaining electric interurban dining car train in North America.
“Our Dinner Train is one of Wisconsin’s hidden jewels offering patrons the opportunity to seemingly step back in time to enjoy the opulence of dining by rail,” said Chuck Damaske, president of the East Troy Electric Railroad. “Our volunteers take great pride in delivering an experience that is truly unique, not only to the Midwest, but to the entire country.”
The East Troy Electric Railroad’s dining cars are former coaches of the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad. Built in 1927 and acquired by the railroad in the early 1990s, each Pullman car underwent extensive renovation by museum volunteers, resulting in mahogany-trimmed, beautiful Art Deco interiors complemented by an exterior color scheme featuring the railroad’s colors of red and silver.
The final four dinner trains of the 2012 season take place the evenings of Sept. 22 and Oct. 6, 13 and 20. Dinner service includes cheese spreads and olive tapenade with assorted crackers, green salad, entrée, dessert and beverage. A cash bar serving wine and craft beers is available.
The train departs the railroad’s historic East Troy, Wis., depot at 5:30 p.m. and returns two hours later. The cost is $72 per person (sales tax included) and advance reservations are required by calling (262) 642-3263.
According to Damaske, dining on railroads is part of America’s heritage. In Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana, dining on electric interurban railroads was part of the rider’s experience and flourished until 1949. The East Troy Electric Railroad recreates the luxury patrons once enjoyed when life seemed to pass by a little slower.
Home to more than 20 rail treasures including open cars, locomotives, streetcars and interurban coaches, the East Troy Electric Railroad operates 10-mile round-trip excursions from its historic depot and museum to the turn-of-the-century-styled terminal at the renowned Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago, Wis. Celebrating 105 years of riding the rails through Southeast Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine countryside, this not-for-profit railroad continues to be operated and managed by a legion of volunteers committed to the operation and preservation of historic trolleys and interurban railcars.
For more about the East Troy Electric Railroad, 2015 Division St., East Troy, Wis., and dinner train service, visit www.easttroyrr.org.
Posted Sept. 19, 2012