McDonalds is a universally recognized haven of fast food, providing happiness in the form of juicy burgers and fries since 1955. We all know about happy meals and BigMacs, but did you know that McDonald's once opened a train car in Germany? The McTrain was a part of the German Federal Railway in the '90s, and it gave travelers the chance to enjoy McDonald's food to their heart's content as they rolled through the German countryside!
The McDonald's McTrain
The McTrain started in 1993, when McDonald's decided to outsource its catering on long-distance routes. The German Federal Railway, or Deutche Bundesbahn, let McDonald's design two dining cars. McDonald's installed deep fryers, soda fountains, coffee machines, and more to have all of the necessary equipment for their beloved fast food. The cars were on the Hamburg-Berchtesgarden line of the train, traveling through Germany and Russia.
The McTrain offered an interesting menu of both regular McDonald's food and German favorites, like spaghetti bolognese and schnitzel. This article by James Gilboy goes further into detail! Train passengers in first or second class could order McDonald's food from waitstaff or make their way to the dining car for a meal. The McTrain allowed for 27 seats and standing spots for eight at four tables. One could pick out the McTrain dining cars by their distinctive golden arches and red paint!
The Demise of the McTrain
Although they did their best to cater to Germany by offering German delicacies, McDonald's ambitious plan to conquer the German railroad system never panned out. McDonald's is widely popular across the globe, but the German travelers were unenthused by their options. Many of these passengers were on the wealthier side and were used to more high-quality food on their trains, making the cheap but yummy McDonald's food less than desirable.
Along with the passengers' lukewarm reception to McDonald's fare, the price of powering the dining cars was extremely expensive. Resupplying the cars was done through restaurants on the way, which made it difficult. If anyone showed up late with the food and supplies, the train would have already been on its way. Along with this, the staff working on the cars would often end their shifts across the country from where they'd started, so the restaurant would need to pay for their return trips or lodging.
To add another factor, the McTrain was created when air travel was rising in popularity, taking the place of rail travel. Because of this, fewer and fewer passengers were riding the trains in the first place. In 1995, two years after it was created, the McTrain was officially over. Today, McDonald's remains a stationary restaurant, with no plans to return to the rails. However, those who had the singular experience of eating a Big Mac while admiring the German countryside will always remember it!