The Express Restaurant in Surf City

The Express Restaurant in Surf City – Gone but not forgotten

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The Express Restaurant in Surf City was a collection of freight and passenger cars arranged into a restaurant. The restaurant closed some time around 2006. The cars are no longer on LBI

The interior was the passenger car you see here plus additional seating was available in two box  cars that formed the rear part of the restaurant.  The restaurant was in  the 200 block of S Long Beach Blvd in Surf City.

There is a post on railroad.net . The poster had kept an old menu from the restaurant. It reads in part:

The Express Restaurant in Surf City
The Express Restaurant in Surf City

The Express Restaurant is constructed around three railroad cars; a club car and two freight cars. The club car measures 75 feet long and weighs 168,000 pounds. The front wheels turn a drive shaft connected to a generator that charged four banks of batteries, two on each side. They stored enough electricity to support the car independently for three days, although the car is also equipped with an AC-DC switch gear for station stops.
The club car was built in 1926, was completely air conditioned, and featured a stainless steel kitchen, complete with electric refrigerator and freezer and a gas stove. To the rear is a electrically cooled water fountain. The car was equipped to transport 16 people in luxurious club chairs and a dormitory.
The two freight cars were reconditioned and kept authentic so as to depict the historical importance such cars played in the commercial development of Long Beach Island. Freight cars like these once hauled fish and seaweed harvested on the island to distant markets. Each weigh approximately 47,000 pounds empty; the weigh of a loaded diesel truck barreling down the boulevard.
Thank you for your patronage. We look forward to seeing you again soon. The Management

 
According to another poster on railroad.net, the cars were moved to Barnegat and were there around 2006. I’m not sure if they are still there.  He had a series of photos:
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1 thought on “The Express Restaurant in Surf City – Gone but not forgotten”

  1. This was one of the many places I loved to go while vacationing in Surf City. While the rest of the family were still sleeping, I’d let myself out of our rental house and walk down to sit in the rail car for a nice breakfast. I used to nickname it the Choo Choo Diner and it is sad it no longer. It is odd to see LBI today without this landmark, nor the Ocean Bay Market and the very first place we’d go to eat upon reaching the island — Mrs. Terry’s Chicken Shack. Even the smaller places like a shell store on the corner of North 1st Street that really was a hole in the wall place yet its absence today makes me realize how much time has passed since the late 1990s when we vacationed in Surf City and Harvey Cedars.

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