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About ELDCPS

The Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society was formed with the goal to acquire an original Erie Lackawanna dining car and restore it to full operating condition. From the late 1800's until 1970 the Erie Lackawanna and its predecessors (along with America's other major railroads) provided some of the best meals in the country in its fleet of dining cars. The ability to serve hundreds of passengers three meals a day while traveling at speeds up to 80 miles per hour is a story worth telling and worth recreating. These meals were no mere tray meals or sandwiches, the finest ingredients were freshly prepared on board the dining car then served on heavy china at a table with the finest linens, polished silver and elegant glassware. The chefs, waiters and steward were well versed in providing the best level of service possible.

Starting with Erie Lackawanna Diner 741, our goal is to have the car restored and operated as a working EL Diner. We strive to maintain as much authenticity as possible, down to the pencils in the menu holders! We plan on operating the car exactly as the EL did, utilizing original pattern china, flatware, coffee pots, tea pots, sugar bowls, and water pitchers - from both Erie and DL&W patterns.

Paper items such as menus, place mats, napkins, coasters, Chef's hats, individually wrapped toothpicks, and of course the famous EL mints, will be duplicated from the original items in our personal collections. We have been in contact with the original manufacturer of most diner items, and all reproduction items will have ELDCPS on it someplace, to differentiate it from the originals that are in private collections.

After making good progress on Diner 741, we faced the opportunity to broaden our goals to recreate an entire Erie Lackawanna passenger train experience, centered around the dining car. With the donation of former NKP Pullman City of Lima and the purchase of DL&W Phoebe Snow Diner 470 (EL 770), we have three authentic pieces of an Erie Lackawanna long-distance train. Putting these cars together, in addition to other cars made available to us, into one recreated train is what we call the The Lake Cities Project.

The Lake Cities Project is an ambitious project that is very unique in rail preservation. We have made great strides towards fulfilling our goals, but we still need your help. With the continued support of our members, and the contributions of future members, everyone will once again be able to ride an authentic passenger train and experience The Friendly Service Route.