Amtrak Dining

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Rasputin

Conductor
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
1,033
But the same Graham Claytor also ran the Southern Crescent only thrice a week between Atlanta and New Orleans. Be very careful what you wish for from the genie that appears after you rub the bottle! :D
Yes the Southern Crescent was tri-weekly between Atlanta and New Orleans but it was tri-weekly with class. I rode it a number of times in the 1970s between DC and Birmingham. It had a dome between New Orleans and Atlanta. The Southern on board employees were very welcoming and took great pride in their train. It was a pleasure to ride their trains and I sometimes went well out of my way to do so.

That is not to say that the Southern was perfect by any means. I was appalled once by the condition of the rest room at the Greenville, S.C. station. I wrote to the Southern about this (as I recall, passengers were provided with a form whereby they could write a complaint) but sadly never received a reply.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
Yes the Southern Crescent was tri-weekly between Atlanta and New Orleans but it was tri-weekly with class. I rode it a number of times in the 1970s between DC and Birmingham. It had a dome between New Orleans and Atlanta. The Southern on board employees were very welcoming and took great pride in their train. It was a pleasure to ride their trains and I sometimes went well out of my way to do so.

That is not to say that the Southern was perfect by any means. I was appalled once by the condition of the rest room at the Greenville, S.C. station. I wrote to the Southern about this (as I recall, passengers were provided with a form whereby they could write a complaint) but sadly never received a reply.
Aaah yes... it was a different era. I remember catching the Milwaukee Road Mail Express out of Milwaukee at 2am to connect with the GN to Duluth and my college. No matter how bad the service was... there was a feeling of corporate pride... in the fresh crisp pillows handed out [complimentary on that train' and the pride that showed... even though those were the waining days of privatized rail. Say what you want... but gosh... I so miss those good old days! Couldn't find the right exact accurate photo... but it sure does stir those memories on the late 60's...

cd1.jpg
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
I am always disappointed by those restaurants where the dessert is included with your meal but the waiter fails to remind you of that when it is time for dessert (and when the waiter has taken away the menus).
And you have a right to request that dessert... and a menu for dessert selection. At my old age I have no tolerance for dismal service and the expectation of an 'automated and expected' tip... supposedly regardless of service rendered.
 

bms

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
486
Location
Cleveland
Yes the Southern Crescent was tri-weekly between Atlanta and New Orleans but it was tri-weekly with class. I rode it a number of times in the 1970s between DC and Birmingham. It had a dome between New Orleans and Atlanta. The Southern on board employees were very welcoming and took great pride in their train. It was a pleasure to ride their trains and I sometimes went well out of my way to do so.

That is not to say that the Southern was perfect by any means. I was appalled once by the condition of the rest room at the Greenville, S.C. station. I wrote to the Southern about this (as I recall, passengers were provided with a form whereby they could write a complaint) but sadly never received a reply.
What was the Dining Car like? Did they serve any traditional Southern specialties at the time you rode it?
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,545
Location
Austin Texas
What was the Dining Car like? Did they serve any traditional Southern specialties at the time you rode it?
I personally liked their Breakfasts with "Virginia" Ham, Grits and Real Toast or Biscuits.to go with the Eggs.( their Railroad French Toast was OK, but not as good as some of the other Class Is)

Their Dinner Menu was all good, especially their Southern style Meals like Pork Chops, Catfish and some of the Cajun Classics.

The only Train I rode on that I thought had better food than the Southern Crescent was the Super Chief, which I only got to ride once as a Kid.
 

bms

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
486
Location
Cleveland
I personally liked their Breakfasts with "Virginia" Ham, Grits and Real Toast or Biscuits.to go with the Eggs.( their Railroad French Toast was OK, but not as good as some of the other Class Is)

Their Dinner Menu was all good, especially their Southern style Meals like Pork Chops, Catfish and some of the Cajun Classics.

The only Train I rode on that I thought had better food than the Southern Crescent was the Super Chief, which I only got to ride once as a Kid.
That breakfast sounds great. The best breakfast I've had on a train was the Railroad French Toast on the Lake Shore Limited.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
I am a relatively new member so if this topic has been discussed, please disregard it. Sidney recently asked the question, "Does Amtrak know how their customers feel about Flex dining?". Good question. I know I have let them know how terrible it is. Others have described it as "mystery meat", "vomit", "had to throw in the trash", etc.


In this Pandemic age, tasty ready-to-eat microwavable entrees are readily available from various sources (meals by mail, grocery stores, and restaurants, etc.). There is no excuse for serving terrible tasting food on Amtrak. Unless of course, that's the goal. They have to know the food they are serving is terrible based on reviews. Is it because of the cost to Amtrak? Wouldn't this be an opportune time to try different recipes or contract an outside supplier?

I’ve been riding Amtrak since 1979. I don't ride Amtrak for the food. But dining is part of the experience and cost. I have not, nor will I take another trip until either the Flex dining food improves or the full-service diner returns. If Amtrak is going to charge a hefty price for sleeper space and include meals, then the food ought to be edible.


With this in mind, I would think a smart food truck operator could do well meeting the train at longer stops near a mealtime. The only question, how fast could the truck get the food out to customers who have a time constraint?
Your message speaks loudly because it is a reflection of what we've been talking about on this forum for a long time... your comments reflect what everyone else feels about the failure for Amtrak to present adequate 'reasonable' food services... while at the same time asking for higher and higher fares. The failure of past management is being addressed by more thoughtful and considerate leaders. It's as obvious as the sun rising in the east that things have got to change in the face of customer disapproval and resistance!
 

J-P

Joined
May 7, 2012
Messages
8
Thinking about DAL-ELP this weekend and wondering what the service is like now overall? I'll have at least a roomette but wasn't sure what's going on with dining and beverage service now?

If I go, I'll be hoping to cross the Pecos River high bridge in daylight.

Thanks.
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,416
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Thinking about DAL-ELP this weekend and wondering what the service is like now overall? I'll have at least a roomette but wasn't sure what's going on with dining and beverage service now?

If I go, I'll be hoping to cross the Pecos River high bridge in daylight.

Thanks.
You will have Flex Dining between Dallas and San Antonio and Traditional Full Dining between San Antonio and El Paso. Which effectively means you will get Flex Lunch and Dinner, and traditional Breakfast and Lunch between San Antonio and El Paso if things are running on time. So no Traditional meal on the way to El Paso.

If you are coming back the same way then you will have Traditional Full Dinner between El Paso and San Antonio and then Flex Breakfast and Lunch between San Antonio and Dallas. Again of course if things are more or less on time.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: J-P

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,545
Location
Austin Texas
Thinking about DAL-ELP this weekend and wondering what the service is like now overall? I'll have at least a roomette but wasn't sure what's going on with dining and beverage service now?

If I go, I'll be hoping to cross the Pecos River high bridge in daylight.

Thanks.
From Dallas to San Antonio, the Eaglevwill only have 4 Cars, a Sleeper,a CCC and 2 Coaches.

No Sightseer Lounge, No Transdorm and No Baggage Car.

As jis said, you'll be served Flex Meals by the One LSA, who is doing Double Duty in the Diner and the Cafe, so they have to Alternate Hours when they serve Sleeping Car Passengers, and run the Cafe in the other end of the CCC, which is the "Crew Lounge",so you're not allowed to sit there but have to go to your Seat or Room to eat and drink your Cafe items.

Depending on the LSA, you May or May not be allowed to eat your Flex Meals in the Diner.
If you have to eat in your Room, your SCA will deliver your order in a Bag.

Most of these Trains are running Full, it's really not much fun right now on the Texas Eagle who has had its Wings Clipped!😥🤬
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
2,979
Location
Socal
I was on Empire Service 234 from Poughkeepsie to NYP this morning, and when we went to the cafe for something as we hadn’t had breakfast it was closed. Why don’t they operate the cafe car on earlier trains?
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,416
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
I was on Empire Service 234 from Poughkeepsie to NYP this morning, and when we went to the cafe for something as we hadn’t had breakfast it was closed. Why don’t they operate the cafe car on earlier trains?
Albany - NY trains do not have food service. NYSDOT has been trying to restore it, and it might happen in the next year or two. Meanwhile only West of Albany service has food service, as do Adirondack and Ethan Allen when they are running. Albany terminators and originators do not.
 

Chatter163

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 26, 2002
Messages
650
I was
Albany - NY trains do not have food service. NYSDOT has been trying to restore it, and it might happen in the next year or two. Meanwhile only West of Albany service has food service, as do Adirondack and Ethan Allen when they are running. Albany terminators and originators do not.
I was on 281 last month from New York to Utica, and certainly got lunch from the cafe car, and that was prior to stopping in Albany.
 

cocojacoby

OBS Chief
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
593
Location
Boston & Florida
On the LSL you could argue that it makes more sense to run the diner to Boston since you do have additional dining periods (lunch westbound/dinner eastbound) on the Boston leg. You could still keep the cafe' open on the New York section which now has no food available at all between Albany and NYP.

The crew and food supply logistics make it more complicated of course.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
2,979
Location
Socal
Albany - NY trains do not have food service. NYSDOT has been trying to restore it, and it might happen in the next year or two. Meanwhile only West of Albany service has food service, as do Adirondack and Ethan Allen when they are running. Albany terminators and originators do not.
Okay, thank you.
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,416
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
I was

I was on 281 last month from New York to Utica, and certainly got lunch from the cafe car, and that was prior to stopping in Albany.
I guess I was not clear... Trains that travel west of (and in general beyond) Albany have Cafe service New York to wherever they are going. Trains that are going only upto Albany do not have Cafe service. This has been the case ever since the Commissary in Albany was closed during the Boardman era AFAIR.

So what you got was not something that contradicts what I said
 
Top