Rail History

The Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train has been operating as a fine dining dinner train excursion since the spring of 1989. There are only 12 moving dinner trains in all of North America, making The Cafe Lafayette a very unique attraction. Running on original timber line rails, the 20 mile trip brings us south along the Pemigewasset River Valley, towards Thornton. Being one of only a handful of Dinner Trains worldwide with a complete kitchen car cooking fresh food to order while underway has earned us a spot in the Wall Street Journal’s feature of only four fine dining Dinner Trains worldwide "Dinner Trains Around the World". (September 2014)

The "Indian Waters". This beautifully restored 1924 Pullman dining car was originally built as a lunch and lounge car for the New York Central RR. This car, the first in the Café Lafayette’s history, was rebuilt from the trucks up in the Winnipesaukee Rail Yard by skilled craftsman and the original owner in the mid 1980's. It operated for two years on the Winnipesaukee Railroad before being moved to Lincoln in the summer of 1988, where it then operated for one year on the Hobo Railroad. The following year it was purchased and put into service for the Café Lafayette. We continue to operate the Indian Waters car through foliage season utilizing the original kitchen and bar for a truly unique dining experience.

The "Algonquin". A 1954 Canadian National RR Cafe Coach, this car was purchased in 1995 from the Canadian Government. Refurbishment began in the summer of 1999, and now its spacious and open interior makes it perfect for private parties, corporate outings, and weddings.

The "Granite Eagle". Originally built for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, operating from St. Louis Missouri to San Antonio Texas in the mid 1950's, she was soon acquired by the Illinois Central RR and run on train #1; "The City of New Orleans". The retired and unusual dome car was found sitting idle in Pittsburgh, Kansas in the late fall of 1995 and quickly purchased by the Café Lafayette. It was brought across the United States by rail and refurbished in the engine house of the Hobo Railroad during the winter of 1996, put into service for the spring season, and remains our flagship car. Only two of these original dome cars are known to have avoided the scrap yard and remain today.




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