ELKINS - The author of two books that detail the rich history of dining in the golden age of American railroading, Davis & Elkins College Center for Railway Tourism Director Jim Porterfield is again sharing his insight on the subject by contributing a chapter to the recently published “Railway Heritage and Tourism: Global Perspectives.” Porterfield also was recently quoted in a railway travel story by The Wall Street Journal.
Porterfield’s chapter, “The Dining Car’s Contribution to Railroad Heritage Tourism,” focuses on the growth and practice of simulating the rail dining experience by today's tourist railroads.
"For many, dinner in the dining car was often the high point of a trip during the golden age of rail travel," says Porterfield. "The railroads were competing for riders by enlisting the services of the nation's top chefs. Today, railway preservation sites are capitalizing on the popularity of fine dining and of television programs devoted to cooking and eating out, by offering special meals served on board their restored trains."
Porterfield emphasizes that, if done well, these dining experiences can produce positive cash flow for heritage preservation sites that are often hard-pressed to generate revenue.
“Railway Heritage and Tourism: Global Perspectives” examines railway heritage in the context of tourism in a comprehensive, internationally relevant manner. It explores the challenges faced by developers and operators of railway heritage destinations including financial, legal and managerial sustainability in the modern tourism industry. These themes are exemplified by a variety of case studies of railway heritage in tourism from regions around the world.
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 fund-raising 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.