ELKINS - James Porterfield, director of the Center for Railway Tourism at Davis & Elkins College, is bridging the past and the present with two recently released projects focusing on railroad heritage tourism. His article, “History of Food Served on American Trains,” appears in the current issue of Popular Anthropology Magazine, while the August 15 broadcast of his interview by talk show host Sandy Fenton on iHeartMedia's News Radio WHP580 "Let's Talk Travel” is available as a podcast linked to several regional AAA divisions.
An author and columnist, Porterfield has a special interest in railroad history and culture, particularly rail dining. His article traces the history of food served on American trains and the challenges presented to those preparing the meals. Porterfield points out that along the way, railway dining contributed much to the nation’s culinary practices and food culture, along with the development of items common to many families’ food pantries.
Popular Anthropology Magazine is a biannual online publication. Porterfield’s article, which includes four recipes, can be viewed at www.popanthro.org by clicking on "Current Issue," then selecting "Table of Contents" and clicking on the .pdf.
Fenton's most recent radio interview with Porterfield includes a description of the Center for Railway Tourism's work, as well as rail travel on Amtrak, in private rail cars, and on dinner trains. It can be accessed at www.whp580.com/media/podcast-lets-talk-travel-letstalktravel/lets-talk-t....
Porterfield launched the Center for Railway Tourism at Davis & Elkins in 2012. He is the author of six books, including “Dining by Rail: The History and the Recipes from America's Golden Age of Railroad Cuisine,” and edited and introduced Jack Orr's acclaimed biography of O.P. Orr, “Set Up Running,” about a Pennsylvania Railroad engineman from 1904 to 1949, and the reprint of Harry Bedwell's classic railroad novel, “The Boomer: A Story of the Rails.”
Porterfield is also a columnist, feature writer and contributing editor for Railfan & Railroad magazine; the creator and host of "Journeys for a Railroad Tourist," a blog from the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Heritage Travel division; and a frequent speaker at fundraising events for railway heritage sites.
A graduate of Edinboro State College (now Edinboro University of Pennsylvania), Porterfield was a marketing instructor at Penn State University's main campus for 22 years.
The Center for Railway Tourism at Davis & Elkins College is a component of the management program within the Division of Business & Entrepreneurship. The Center enables students to earn the credentials and experience necessary to undertake and succeed at a career in railway heritage and tourism management.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.