Amtrak Dining

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20th Century Rider

Conductor
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Wish I could have at least been on the real Texas Eagle's last ride.It was a sad day.

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On the very last day of the Golden Era, I went to the big station in St. Louis and witnessed the departure of the Wabash Cannonball... the station was 'cavernous' and empty... and in poor repair... yet that train stood proud and glimmering on the tracks outside the door. As it pulled away I felt very sad... it turned around the corner... and was gone...then I went home to my apartment and opened up the some brochures... I had and started dreaming of flying away on one of the rainbow of colors Braniff 747's to some distant place.

That was in 1971 when I was young and filled with dreams. The dreams are still there. But all those trains and planes which I dreamt about have faded into the sunset.
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Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
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Austin Texas
On the very last day of the Golden Era, I went to the big station in St. Louis and witnessed the departure of the Wabash Cannonball... the station was 'cavernous' and empty... and in poor repair... yet that train stood proud and glimmering on the tracks outside the door. As it pulled away I felt very sad... it turned around the corner... and was gone...then I went home to my apartment and opened up the some brochures... I had and started dreaming of flying away on one of the rainbow of colors Braniff 747's to some distant place.

That was in 1971 when I was young and filled with dreams. The dreams are still there. But all those trains and planes which I dreamt about have faded into the sunset.
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Loved Union Station when it was busier then Chicago's Stations back in the day!

Still remember that backing movement up the Hill into the Train Shed, thru the Busy Concourse and into that Fabulous Headhouse, now a Hilton Hotel IINM??
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
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They did an amazing job of renovating the station... but sadly moved all the passenger train operations to another area nearby. There are still some private cars on display at the station... lots of restaurants, and the Hilton Hotel. It is now one of the top attractions to visit in St. Louis. I remained in St. Louis until 1999 when I retired from teaching and moved to the Oregon Coast. Some pics below of then... and now...


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AmtrakBlue

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Gathering Team Member
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I stayed at the Union Station Hilton in 2019 on my way to the Gathering. I loved it. After breakfast in the Harvey House restaurant, I spent my day going to the Arch and taking a river boat ride then walked back to the station and hung out there - including taking a ride on the gondola ferris wheel and playing a round of mini golf, before heading to the Amtrak station to continue my way to the Gathering.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
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Me too! Me too! I have always been a 'dreamer' of far away destinations... and patronized Amtrak a lot when living in St. Louis; even when the Amtrak was just a rail shed a few blocks away... now it is expanded and modernized... but nothing compared to what once was one of the busiest stations in the country.

BTW... when teaching in St. Louis, I would take my classes to visit the prehistoric station when we covered St. Louis and Missouri history. That station is indeed magical and always fascinates! 😇 😇 😇
 
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20th Century Rider

Conductor
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I stayed at the Union Station Hilton in 2019 on my way to the Gathering. I loved it. After breakfast in the Harvey House restaurant, I spent my day going to the Arch and taking a river boat ride then walked back to the station and hung out there - including taking a ride on the gondola ferris wheel and playing a round of mini golf, before heading to the Amtrak station to continue my way to the Gathering.
Attended grad school at Washington University in St. Louis in the '70... then got a teaching job and remained for another 29 years before retiring and coming out west. St. Louis is truly historic... has a great art museum... and of course... Forest Park was where the The Louisiana Purchase Exposition was held in 1904... also known as the World's Fare. The park itself mimics Central Park in NYC with the beautiful statues and bridges... lagoons... etc.

I do feel fortunate to have spent my younger years in this great town!

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20th Century Rider

Conductor
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Attended grad school at Washington University in St. Louis in the '70... then got a teaching job and remained for another 29 years before retiring and coming out west. St. Louis is truly historic... has a great art museum... and of course... Forest Park was where the The Louisiana Purchase Exposition was held in 1904... also known as the World's Fare. The park itself mimics Central Park in NYC with the beautiful statues and bridges... lagoons... etc.

I do feel fortunate to have spent my younger years in this great town!

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Oops! My bad! That I was a teacher for so many years and with 3 college degrees... was always a poor at spelling! Didn't 'fare' well in the spelling above... it was the World's Fair!
 

Cal

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Anyone have any questions about traditional dining? Boarding the Chief in an hour ish.
 

Rasputin

Conductor
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Jan 17, 2019
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Anyone have any questions about traditional dining? Boarding the Chief in an hour ish.
The unanswered question is: Are grits available for all breakfast entrees or are they only available with the continental breakfast entree (as a strict reading of the menu indicates)?
 
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Cal

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The unanswered question is: Are grits available for all breakfast entrees or are they only available with the continental breakfast entree (as a strict reading of the menu indicates)?
If I remember I’ll see
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
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Of course that may vary from crew to crew as well....
The ability of a manager to control goods and services under their direction is many times a 'power grab' to heighten their sense of dominance and importance... without regard for those being impacted. 'The Managerial Grid' graduate level textbook for aspiring leaders refers to this behavior as 'Empire Builders.' The Amtrak Dining Car is a perfect scenerio for this to happen, and frequently does. The I just listed this in another strand... it's just such a wild play on words!

Have frequently experienced 'Empire Builders' on the Empire Builder dining car... and the very many AU'ers who frequent the EB can probably relate! The dining car steward is in complete control... 'only 1 decaf packet per passenger per meal!' Or... no, you can't have an extra side salad... only one.' 'No guac with your burger... it's only for the enchiladas!' Depends on who's in charge. It's all about that power trip and authority... on your Amtrak trip!
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zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
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Washington State
This is a wholly subjective impression, but Amtrak seems to have more than its share of little tin gods.

I've had seen diner LSAs, lounge LSAs, SCAs as well as conductors exhibit the behavior. While I'd estimate it is only about 10% (with the LSAs rate of godhood being a bit higher), that still is high.

Yet another argument in favor of onboard management and accountability.
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,345
Word on the street that Acela first is going from flexible dining style meals and snack boxes back to traditional meals soon which will reverse another pandemic cut. Next thing that needs to happen is sprucing up the cafe cars to at least a pre pandemic level - they remain rather spartan even on the western trains that have traditional dining back for sleepers passengers.
 

fillyjonk

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
505
Came back (last night;/today) on the TE. Still (of course) the "flex" meals. We had to eat in our compartments (breakfast they said "you can dine at your own risk" in the CCC) because of Delta. (I opted to eat in my room.

v. reduced dinner menu:
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No pasta and meatballs! Which is the best of the meals I've had on this. (I had to eat the shrimp at lunch coming up, do not recommend AT ALL). Last night I got the cod. It wasn't bad. Not gourmet but way better than that shrimp thing. I mainly just wanted a dish without some soupy mystery sauce on it. (The pasta and meatballs has minimal sauce and you know what it is).

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I just....I don't know. For me the main attraction of the sleeper is the privacy/safety as a woman traveling alone, and right now, being able to sleep without a mask on and being away from other humans, but....these meals are really not good. Not sleeping-car good.

the milk I got at breakfast was bordering on spoiled even though the sell by date was the 8th.

Everything goes to crap eventually, I guess, I've seen it in so many things. Or maybe this is what being middle-aged is like? Everything seems worse than it is?
 

zephyr17

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Everything goes to crap eventually, I guess, I've seen it in so many things. Or maybe this is what being middle-aged is like? Everything seems worse than it is?
I don't know. Some of my first meals on rails were by Fred Harvey on Santa Fe's Super Chief. It is a very long fall from there to Flex Dining, and I don't think I am imagining the quality difference.

I'd say packaged sandwiches from SP's Automat car on the Daylight were about on par with Flex, though. Although the sandwiches may have been just a smidge better.
 
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