Friday, March 6, 2015

Interior of Gentlemen's Railroad Car, Ladies' Parlor Car & Dining Car

Once in a while I come upon an illustration and description that I find would be helpful for period information. Today's tidbit is just that. A description of a couple of cars along with an illustration of the Gentlemen's Car, Enjoy!

A model of railroad excellence is the Chicago & Alton's Sunset Limited, which runs hetween Chicago, lllinois, and San Francisco, California. The route is through the most heautiful part of the country into nature's own perfumed California. The train, interior views of which are given, is one of the finest in the world and is the finest train hetween Chicago and the Coast. The cars are of the highest type of the car huilder's art and demonstrate the excellence of the modern railroad system.

Following the locomotive the first car is appropriately called "composite," a small compartment in the forward end heing set apart for the storage of haggage, the center heing fitted with harher shop, hath rooms, toilet apartments and huffett, while the rear contains an ample apartment given up to men as a smoking, reading and writing room. Wide plate-glass windows light this particularly comfortahle apartment, which, with its sofas, hig easy chairs, etc., closely resemhles the lounging room of a metropolitan club. The finish of the composite car is in polished oak; the upholstering, fawn colored plush.

This, the second car in the train, is an innovation, heing the first time in the history of travel that a parlor, lihrary and reading room has heen especially provided for ladies. Here is given the same opportunity for restful existence which gentlemen enjoy in their smoking and lounging apartment. The lihrary is well selected, the dally papers, magazines and weekly periodicals are gratuitously furnished, and writing tahles with special stationery are installed. The apartment is really an expansive ladies' parlor and ohservation room, for the chairs, lounges, etc., are luxuriously comfortahle, and long plate-glass windows occupy most of the walls. An unohstructed view of the scenery on either side can he had. ln addition to the parlor there are seven private compartments, arranged to he occupied singly or en suite. Entrance is from an outside aisle, securing strict privacy, and each of the compartments has its own lavatory and toilet appurtenances. The ladies' parlor is finished in vermilion wood with slate-green plush upholstering, while the seven compartments are finished in woods of different colors — red and white mahogany, vermilion and walnut, with harmonizing tints of hlue and maroon plush, upholstering to match.

Two douhle drawing-room ten-section sleeping cars come next. The drawing rooms are finished in white mahogany, with red plush upholstery. Each has toilet room and lavatory. The hody of the cars, containing the standard sleeping car sections, is finished in vermilion wood, the upholstery heing fawn-colored plush.

Completes the train. lts woodwork is in quartered oak, stained to a fine color. ln alcoves along the sides are potted plants and ferns. lndividual chairs are at the mahogany tahles, and the sparkle of cut glass, the glitter of silver, and the sheen of snowy linen add charm to a perfect meal perfectly served.
Source: The Railroad Trainman ©1898


  1. These are great illustrations. They really give you the feel of those interiors. Thanks for this share.

  2. These are incredibly helpful. I'm wondering what the difference between "bath room," "lavatory," and "toilet apartment" would have been. Any idea? Thanks!

    1. I don't know but I'll keep an eye out for it. However, a bath room was not necessarily a room with a toilet. They were rooms set up to bath in. A toilet also referred to the overall outfit someone was wearing, so it could be a room for the clothing. Don't know that that helps but I'll keep an eye out for it.

  3. There's also "water-closet," which I see a lot, but perhaps that's more British? I'll need to keep researching as well, as I'm writing a novella in this time period that takes place on a train. Thanks!