Work in a Train’s Dining Car

Travelling on a train across the country wouldn’t be nearly the enjoyable experience it is without the comforts provided by the dining car. Staff members who work in this specially-appointed car are trained in food service and are generally expected to be courteous and helpful while providing excellent customer service.

Dining car staff are generally called stewards and should be trained in various food preparation and handling techniques and, of course, be ready to travel.

Stewards & Supervisors

Railroad companies that have passenger trains will generally have dining car staff, depending on the length of time the trains are on the rails between stops.

Trains that have a lot of stops close together between destinations may only have stewards that serve smaller snacks to passengers in their seats, much as airlines do on shorter flights. Longer trips require the passengers to be on the train longer and so the meals are larger and more satisfying. Dining Car Supervisors are responsible for the supervision of a small staff of stewards as they prepare and serve meals in the dining car and to passengers in their berths. The supervisor is also responsible for ordering food supplies and planning menus as well as making sure that linens, cookware and utensils are properly stocked and accounted for.

While many railroads source out the more manual jobs in a dining car such as dishwashing and food preparation to other companies, most still have these jobs done by the stewards. This work is usually done while the train is taking on and letting off passengers – while there’s time. When the train is ready to leave again, the dining car is fully stocked, the dishes are washed and dried and the staff members are ready to serve again. To do this job well, you should be courteous and knowledgeable about all aspects of the train and its operation.


Dining Car Stewards can expect to make in the range of $26,500 to $28,450 annually, depending on the railroad company they work for and the location within the country. Dining Car Supervisors usually earn from $31,100 to $46,350 a year depending on the same criteria as the dining car stewards.

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