April 15 is the anniversary of the day in 1955 that Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald’s restaurant.

The company’s footprint has expanded a lot since then.

Over the past year it’s done a lot of business via the drive-thru window.

But there was also a time when the fast food giant tried to expand into a different kind of transportation.

Yes, McDonald’s once tried to operate a “McTrain” car.


According to the transportation news site The Drive, this was in the early 1990s, when the German Federal Railway agreed to let the company take over two train cars that ran on a cross-country line.

The “McTrain” cars reportedly offered some of their usual breakfast and fast food menus, while also offering some regionally popular foods like Viennese sausages.

No word on whether Mayor McCheese was on hand for the train’s first run.

Passengers could walk over to the car to order, and those in second-class or higher could have food brought to them.

So why aren’t there “McTrain” cars today?

The Drive’s report says a lot of train passengers were used to buying more expensive meals on trains, so they passed on the “McTrain” car food.

But the biggest problems were logistical.

Running restaurant cars used a lot of energy, and supplying the cars with food and containers and so forth turned out to be very complicated.

Plus, these were running on cross-country routes, which meant the McDonald’s employees would start the day on one side of Germany and end up on the other.

The experiment lasted from 1993 to 1995.

I suppose train riders who wanted a Big Mac or a shake after that would have to pick some up before or after their trips.


If you want a tax cut you should’ve put a ring on it

In typical years U.S. tax returns are due on April 15th.

A term you sometimes hear during tax season is the marriage penalty (if not, ask your accountant to explain).

But in the past, it’s sometimes been the other way around.

Ancient Rome had a bachelor tax: Roman dudes age 38 and older without spouses had to pay penalties.

How has nobody written a rom-com about this?

The McTrain: The Rise and Fall of McDonald’s Ambitious Plan to Conquer the Railroads (The Drive)

8 of History’s Strangest Taxes (Mental Floss)

Thanks to our backers on Patreon, this show is completely cost and tax free for you! 

Photo by Patrick Feller via Flickr/Creative Commons (this is not the actual “McTrain” car, but still interesting to see)