Raymond Loewy Lounge Railcar Design at Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

Sharing the Common Wealth showcases objects, artifacts, documents, structures and buildings from the collections of PHMC.

As competition among railroads increased, propelled by waves of increasingly sophisticated travelers, bar cars – often called refreshment, club, lounge, or café cars – became common during the heyday of American rail service in the 1930s. Today these cars are dwindling in number and popularity, even though they evoke the glamorous days of civilized business travel of the mid-twentieth century. Noted industrial designer Raymond Loewy (1893-1986) established a relationship in 1937 with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company for which he designed locomotives, stations, interiors of passenger cars, and advertising. His firm designed railcar interiors for the Pennsylvania Railroad in the late 1930s and updated them after World War II. Included in the collections of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg, Lancaster County, is a negative copy of a rendering of a sleek lounge car dated 1939. Loewy’s designs bespeak mid-century modernism, recalling the days of writer John Cheever and the television series Mad Men. The museum is one of two dozen destinations along the Pennsylvania Trails of History.

Visit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, PA. Explore more than 100 historic locomotives and vintage railroad cars.