Dear Mr. Henderson,
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Thank you very much for this valuable information and the "inside story" of your own experiences while traveling with Amtrak.
I hadn't thought that the crews might have actually slept in bedrolls on the floor, but that's certainly a possibility on the Southern. The heavyweight diners had bedding lockers in one end of the cars, but there was no indication of the storage of boards that might have been put on top of the tables to support that bedding.
Have you ever written about your experiences as a waiter for a railroad history group?
From: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Mar 6, 2021 12:17 AM
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Dining Car Crews Sleeping on their Cars
When I worked as a dining car waiter for Amtrak in the 1970s, some of the more senior guys would talk about how they laid out their bedrolls on the floor of the diner. The tables had latches that folded up and the chairs could be moved to the sides. Linens were kept in lockers at the end of the dining car or in trap door lockers in the floor. It was not very comfortable -- but given that almost everything was made from scratch -- they probably did not have lights out until after 11 pm and then had to be back on duty to prep the car for breakfast starting at 4:30 or 5 am for a 6 o'clock breakfast start. It was a hard life; dorms were definitely a step up -- though some dorms were better than others. I preferred the SP and UP ones. The lounge dorms were the worst as you had the noise of the drunks. The combines -- depending on where you had your bunk -- had the noise of baggage being handled at night -- or, in the case of the El Cap combines, had a nasty habit of losing their air conditioning. Stewards and lounge car attendants with cash and keys had rooms -- bedrooms for stewards and roomettes or slumbercoach rooms for lounge car attendants. /s/ Bjarne Henderson, Valparaiso, IN