97 Silver Meteor, 1 November 2023, Washington, DC to Fort Lauderdale

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Train Attendant
Nov 8, 2019
Georgetown, DC
Arrived at the Acela Lounge in DC around 6pm, and it is looking great with fresh furniture, tasteful decor, and TVs not too loud. Excellent food offerings with a half dozen different bars and snack pouches, plus a coffee and espresso machine and a fridge full of juices and sodas. It’s not the Moynihan lounge, but it’s pretty good.

Our train consists of two coaches, cafe, dining, two sleepers, baggage, and a car at the end that might have been for staff. A few minutes late arriving from New York City, on time out of Washington DC. We were told that there had been three sleepers on the Meteor, but one was pulled due to staffing shortages, and in particular because they could not fully staff the dining car. Our dining car had one chef and one attendant, but because service appeared to be restricted to the sleepers, this was quite adequate.

We’re in roomette 1 on car 11, a Viewliner II in excellent condition. Our sleeping-car attendant was prompt and courteous, and available when we needed her to set up the bed for the night. Mid-morning the next day, she popped in to freshen the room, replace linens, and wipe down surfaces. Excellent!

Our neighboring car 10 is a Viewliner I. We were told that some staff have issues with the Viewliner II — no storage space forcing the use of a revenue roomette for linens, and strange configuration of the toilet within the accessible bedroom affording no privacy from a traveling companion.

We like the II for a roomette. We particularly noticed more electric outlets, nicer netting pouch up top for a phone, eyeglasses, or water bottle, wider steps to the upper bunk, extra storage in the space previously occupied by the toilet bowl. Having the toilet down the hall when two travel together seems sensible, though solo travelers are perhaps more likely to prefer the toilet within the roomette on the older Viewliner I. The bed padding was superior to what we experienced on trips past, but there’s still room for improvement. The blanket was quilted, large, and cozy. Two pillows rather than one would be nice, I’ll have to remember to ask for that on the next trip.

Down the hall, the toilets and shower were in excellent condition, though the water in the shower was reportedly tepid rather than warm. No shortage of towels and face cloths. Something new: there’s a tray of amenities in the shower, including body wash packets, spare toothbrushes, and soaps.

Traditional dining, apparently just for sleeper passengers, is on white cloth for the table and Amtrak blue for our laps, with stainless cutlery and a silver vase with a rose and greenery. Wine and other alcoholic beverages at no supplement, I was served a Cabernet Sauvignon from a full bottle served in glassware. I was later offered a top up, which was generously poured.

We started with warmed rolls and butter with tossed salad (only balsamic dressing available this trip). The tender steak had good texture, and was probably sous-vide to medium rare, then seared to order. The carrots and green beans had just the right snap to them, and the mashed potatoes were creamy. Our dining car attendant produced a battery-operated pepper grinder, something I’d not seen before, fun.

Dessert was lemon cake with fresh just-ripe strawberries, mighty fine. Coffee was fresh and strong.

Breakfast of railroad French toast came with syrup, whipped cream, fresh strawberries, and more good coffee. I added a side of smoked bacon.

Kudos to the chef. Brisk and friendly service from our dining-car attendant, who was notably very courteous and helpful, above and beyond, for the blind woman at the neighboring table.

Mostly on time or a few minutes late through Jacksonville at least. We’re currently approaching Orlando at 75mph. A thoroughly pleasant and comfortable journey with no surprises on the Silver Meteor, and we’re looking forward to our return trip in a couple of weeks (after a cruise in the Caribbean) on the Silver Star.

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Gathering Team Member
May 6, 2011
Are you sure the cutlery was stainless steel? They've been using disposable plastic cutlery which is cleverly disguised to look like stainless.
It’s real cutlery. I had it in both 91 & 98 last week. As I recall, I was not given a steak knife on 91 and the regular knife did just fine with my steak.