Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Etiquette and Railroad Dining Cars

Before, and even after plane travel in the 1950s, traveling by train encouraged a new concept of being “on time,” and new rules and etiquette for one's behavior in shared public spaces.
The Dining Car steward on the FSP (Friendly Southern Pacific!) told me last weekend that contrary to accepted etiquette, it’s not only proper but good sense to leave your spoon in the coffee cup—if you are on a moving train.
Pullman created the first dining cars on 1870's –"Numberless cultivated Americans traveling in Europe never by any chance speak English or carry English books on railroad trains, as a protection against the other type of American who allows no one to travel in the same compartment and escape conversation. The only way to avoid unwelcome importunities is literally to take refuge in assuming another nationality." Emily Post
Even aboard today's diessel-powered streamliners, coffee is apt to slosh a bit. He says it won't, however, if the spoon is left in the cup and it works better if the spoon is turned backwards. But look out for those quick gestures, low over the table. And while on the subject of the FSP, I had the nicest smoothest, on-time ride last Friday. D J Russell, president of the FSP was aboard. –The Desert Sun, 1957

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia