The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum Dinner Train is a unique opportunity to enjoy a railroad excursion trip and fine dining en route. The train travels through the Tennessee Valley, making this a perfect outing for anyone who loves trains and good food.
The Cross Keys Tavern: Reliving the Elegance of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Dining Era
Built in 1930 by the American Car and Foundry, the heavyweight dining car known as “Cross Keys Tavern,” or Louisville and Nashville Railroad 2728, possesses a storied history. It was delivered with great anticipation to the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in October of that same year.
The car was immediately put to use on renowned L&N passenger trains, including the celebrated “Pan-American” and the “Humming Bird.” Aboard these trains, passengers were treated to iconic L&N culinary delights, like Old Hickory Smoked Country Ham accompanied by Red-Eyed Gravy and Grits, and a variety of seafood dishes including Seafood Platter and Gumbo.
Originally, the Cross Keys Tavern was adorned with adjustable windows, two-toned green walls inside, and a classic Pullman Green exterior complemented by gold lettering and a black roof. In 1937, the car underwent modernization, which included sealing the windows and installing air conditioning. This transformation also brought a change to the interior, with the walls receiving a warm grey hue.
A significant change occurred in 1946 when the exterior was painted in Boatswain Blue with a grey roof. It was at this time that the dining car was christened with its distinctive name, “Cross Keys Tavern.”
After serving the railroad for many years, L&N generously donated the car to the Indiana Museum of Transport and Communication in 1969. Almost half a century later, in 2018, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum acquired the 2728 from the Indiana Transportation Museum.
Since making its way to TVRM, the Cross Keys Tavern has been lovingly restored to its former glory. Sporting a bright and freshly painted coat of Boatswain Blue, this unique piece of railway history stands as a testament to a bygone era of travel luxury and elegance.
Car: Louisville and Nashville Railroad 2728/”Cross Keys Tavern”
Car Type: Dining Car
Operators: Louisville and Nashville Railroad, Indiana Transportation Museum, Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Builder: American Car and Foundry
Date Built: 1930
Paint Scheme: Boatswain Blue
Lettered: Louisville and Nashville
This event offers a unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved one. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum offers a special train ride that includes a four-course meal. This event is a great way to enjoy a romantic evening out while also traveling through Chattanooga.