Mission Statement

Mission Statement

Our mission is to preserve the passenger and dining car experience on the Erie Lackawanna and its predecessors through the purchase, restoration and operation of Erie Lackawanna passenger equipment.


Dinner in the Diner

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 1800s 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.

ELDCPS owns three dining cars, Erie Lackawanna 741, Erie Lackawanna 770, and DL&W 469. Once each car is complete, we will strive to maintain as much authenticity as possible, and operate the cars exactly as the EL did, utilizing original pattern china, flatware, coffee pots, tea pots, sugar bowls, and water pitchers—from EL, Erie and DL&W patterns.

Paper items such as menus, place mats, napkins, coasters, Chef’s hats, individually wrapped toothpicks, and even 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 be marked as such, to differentiate it from the originals that are in private collections.

The Lake Cities Project

The Lake Cities Project is an ambitious project that is very unique in rail preservation. After making good progress on our original car, Diner 741, we were given the opportunity to add aditional cars to our collection, and we decided to broaden our goal to include recreating an entire Erie Lackawanna passenger train experience, centered around the dining car. With the acquisition of former NKP Pullman City of Lima, Erie Lackawanna Diner 770, and DL&W Phoebe Snow Diner 469, we had four authentic pieces of an Erie Lackawanna through-service passenger train. All four of our cars could be found on a Lake Cities train, thus the name The Lake Cities Project.

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