Another glaring difference - one of these firms at least attempts to provide usable transportation on long distance routes and the other is essentially a rail land cruise. As great as I’m sure the Canadian’s amenities are and I’d love to ride it eventually (but probably won’t be able to until I retire due to the amount of time it takes) it takes twice as long as the builder and runs twice weekly. As an advocate I think the priority at the end is providing usable transportation and utility - and Amtrak’s two night LD routes provide far more than the Canadian in that regard.
I think Amtrak’s on board F&B product out west is very acceptable especially once you add coach diner access back in and I think they have made some good faith efforts to improve the dining car as well as the cafe menu (though I think the latter could include a bit more improvements but the recent are a start) on those routes to a level I think 85%+ of dining car patrons are going to find adequate and probably many excellent. I think onboard supervision absolutely would be a great idea and there are 100% some things they ought to do to improve consistency of cleanliness, consistency of service, etc. But demanding the Canadian’s level of experience I do not think is realistic in 2023 on a two night daily Amtrak route. I suppose someday they could try out an experiential enhanced sleeper product akin to prestige class on maybe one or two routes but again - is Amtrak’s mission transportation or a cruise service for rail enthusiasts?
As great as I’m sure the Canadian is - it’s not the model Amtrak should be aiming for. TBH I think VIA rail Canada is actually what former CEO Anderson had in mind for Amtrak. Focus nearly all resources on running the shorter distance corridor services and run a couple token long hauls (likely with less than daily service during non peak seasons) with premium amenities to cater to rail enthusiasts.
I see no reason at all that Amtrak would be unable to implement the Train Service Manager position to bring consistency and quality to OBS. They are on all VIA trains, including Corridor services, not just the Canadian.
While I agree that Amtrak provides basic transportation in a way the Canadian does not, in most other ways there are more similarities than differences. Staffing levels in the Sleeper Plus sleepers is about the same, one attendant serving 1 1/2 cars, roughly 33 passengers. The food is a bit better, but not dramatically so against Amtrak's traditional, the main difference being they rotate the menu so you are not faced with the same choices day after day.
Having actually ridden
both Amtrak and VIA regularly and thus able to speak from direct experience, the primary difference in the onboard experience is consistency and quality of service, not greater "experiential train" amenities, of which there are few to none in the soft product. It isn't the Orient Express.
Again, I see no reason whatsoever that implementing VIA's consistency of OBS service would be unachievable by Amtrak. I do not think running daily and somewhat faster provides an excuse for Amtrak's wildly inconsistent OBS quality.