Amtrak Dining

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
If for some reason they haven't, go to the diner and get one from the LSA.
They are well aware of passengers getting on the train... and accommodate. A good attendant will accommodate meal requests when you board as they greet you.

That said... there are a very few Amtrak employees who provide service above and below that standard of basic expectation. I have had the below expectation experience many times. In that situation just go to the dining car and tell them you just got on. They must accommodate you and know you are entitled to appropriate service as per your ticket.

I'm not happy to report I have been overlooked regardless of attempts to be accommodated with paid services. Sorry to say... tip the customer supportive employees well... and don't tip those who would rather be playing computer games than make your traveling all that you paid to have it be.

Yup... I've seen it all.
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,440
I heard on a Facebook group that there’s some talk about possibly trialing business class access to the dining car on the coast starlight. Could this be how they do it? Instead of selling dining car meals for a certain price like before instead sell diner access as “business class” or “first class.”
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,440
I heard on a Facebook group that there’s some talk about possibly trialing business class access to the dining car on the coast starlight. Could this be how they do it? Instead of selling dining car meals for a certain price like before instead sell diner access as “business class” or “first class.”
Looks like this was stated at an RPA event yesterday. They outright mentioned the labor shortage in OBS as the reason they have not been able to do more yet. Not sure the full specifics but supposedly at some point in October they hope to launch business class access to the diner on the Starlight.
 
Last edited:

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,957
Location
Ithaca, NY
Also stated that they had a bunch of cars which should be operating but weren't due to shortages of mechanical (car repair/maintenance) employees. This is causing the shortages of cars on the Eastern trains, and contributes to the lack of dining cars in addition to the OBS shortage.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,161
Location
Socal
Looks like this was stated at an RPA event yesterday. They outright mentioned the labor shortage in OBS as the reason they have not been able to do more yet. Not sure the full specifics but supposedly at some point in October they hope to launch business class access to the diner on the Starlight.
Booked on the starlight in December. I have a few 48 hour upgrade coupons I hope to use to get to business (they work for that, right?). If it works, I will let y’all know
 

fdaley

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
341
I heard on a Facebook group that there’s some talk about possibly trialing business class access to the dining car on the coast starlight. Could this be how they do it? Instead of selling dining car meals for a certain price like before instead sell diner access as “business class” or “first class.”
This would really distinguish business class, which on the Starlight and other LD trains has often seemed otherwise like an expensive version of coach with comparatively few extra amenities.
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
656
This would really distinguish business class, which on the Starlight and other LD trains has often seemed otherwise like an expensive version of coach with comparatively few extra amenities.
That's a nice improvement. All you get in BC is water. Is the food complimentary with BC? If so,that will be quite a coup.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
656
That's a nice improvement. All you get in BC is water. Is the food complimentary with BC? If so,that will be quite a coup.
I have a day trip on the CS in late January in Coach. I quickly upgraded to BC in anticipation of diner food and if the food is indeed included,I have a feeling the price will rise.
 

fdaley

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
341
if the food is indeed included,I have a feeling the price will rise.
I think that is a safe bet. However, access to real dining car service would make the experience worth a significant markup from the coach fare. That said, I do miss the traditional concept of the dining car as a place open to all, regardless of class. But I could understand why Amtrak would structure it this way, given their current situation and constraints.
 

Chris I

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
123
Location
Portland, OR
This would really distinguish business class, which on the Starlight and other LD trains has often seemed otherwise like an expensive version of coach with comparatively few extra amenities.
I think it's a great idea. Most airlines now have "economy plus" on international flights that is more akin to what business class was a few decades ago. Amtrak could benefit from having a step between coach and the bedrooms. Big, comfy seats, more exclusive section of the train, and food/wine, etc.
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,440
If it works out on the starlight I wonder if they will introduce a “business class” on the other western routes or if they’ll eventually open up to all passengers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,440

Trains article on the RPA meeting the other day. When asked about eastern dining it was mentioned that they are working with the vendor that they worked with on the new Acela first menu to come up with options for the eastern trains. They are also looking at the single level dining car kitchens to figure out if modifications could help. Maybe a new re-launched flexible dining that looks more like Acela first?
 

Tlcooper93

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
564
Location
Boston

Trains article on the RPA meeting the other day. When asked about eastern dining it was mentioned that they are working with the vendor that they worked with on the new Acela first menu to come up with options for the eastern trains. They are also looking at the single level dining car kitchens to figure out if modifications could help. Maybe a new re-launched flexible dining that looks more like Acela first?
“because the feedback we have from customers is that we have very repetitive food options."

Wow, thats all they could reasonably say the feedback has been? What a sugarcoat.

Has anyone tried the new Acela menu yet? Is it good?
 
Last edited:

fdaley

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
341

Trains article on the RPA meeting the other day. When asked about eastern dining it was mentioned that they are working with the vendor that they worked with on the new Acela first menu to come up with options for the eastern trains. They are also looking at the single level dining car kitchens to figure out if modifications could help. Maybe a new re-launched flexible dining that looks more like Acela first?
I love the call center agent explaining the business class amenities: "You'll find out ... when you get on the train."

I can't say this article makes me particularly optimistic about what plan Amtrak will come up with for feeding travelers on the eastern overnights. Something more like the pre-pandemic Acela First meals would be better than what they're offering now, but that's not saying much. The Acela First meals are nicely presented (unlike the flex meals), and they're fine for people taking a trip of three or four or perhaps six hours. But they would leave me feeling quite hungry if I had to eat four or five of them in sequence on a trip of 20-30 hours.
 
Last edited:

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,161
Location
Socal
I can't say this article makes me particularly optimistic about what plan Amtrak will come up with for feeding travelers on the eastern overnights. Something more like the pre-pandemic Acela First meals would be better than what they're offering now, but that's not saying much. The Acela First meals are nicely presented (unlike the flex meals), and they're fine for people taking a trip of three or four or perhaps six hours. But they would leave me feeling quite hungry if I had to eat four or five of them in sequence on a trip of 20-30 hours.
Still, wouldn't they be better than flex?
 

AmtrakMaineiac

Streetcar Motorman
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
151
Location
Lubec, ME
That's a nice improvement. All you get in BC is water. Is the food complimentary with BC? If so,that will be quite a coup.
On the Downeaster Business Class you get complimentary non alcoholic beverages plus priority access to the cafe. BC a good deal on the DE as not much more than coach and has comfortable 2+1 seating.
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,440
“because the feedback we have from customers is that we have very repetitive food options."

Wow, thats all they could reasonably say the feedback has been? What a sugarcoat.

Has anyone tried the new Acela menu yet? Is it good?
It looks pretty good and I think a couple of the items are ported over from the menu on the western trains like the lobster crab cake - I'm supposed to be trying it in a week - will let you know. They are working with that vendor but that doesn't mean it will be an identical menu to Acela. I'd expect more options. While we'd all love traditional dining on every single train - I'm not sure that's really feasible - remember several trains did NOT have full traditional dining even before contemporary/flex dining showed up. I can only really see the Silver service and maybe Lake Shore considered for all out traditional dining like out west. I can't imagine any situation where a train like the Cardinal and CONO will receive the western style dining. But they do not have to go as far as out west to vastly improve the offerings in the east.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
5,359
Location
Washington State
With the Viewliner II diners it is perfectly feasible. All eastern long distance trains except the Cardinal had full dining. The Lake Shore lost it towards the end due to a shortage of functional Heritage diners. It was chosen because it was one of the shortest LD runs. They ordered sufficient diners to cover all services and intended to return full dining to the Lake Shore until Anderson.

I think they even ordered enough Viewliners to eventually cover the Cardinal.

Unless they deliberately do something stupid with the Viewliner II diners, like gutting the galleys, why do you think it is not feasible? Especially since the Mica Amendment is gone. They have the equipment. They can hire and train crews.
 
Last edited:

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
With the Viewliner II diners it is perfectly feasible. All eastern long distance trains except the Cardinal had full dining. The Lake Shore lost it towards the end due to a shortage of functional Heritage diners. It was chosen because it was one of the shortest LD runs. They ordered sufficient diners to cover all services and intended to return full dining to the Lake Shore until Anderson.

I think they even ordered enough Viewliners to eventually cover the Cardinal.

Unless they deliberately do something stupid with the Viewliner II diners, like gutting the galleys, why do you think it is not feasible? Especially since the Mica Amendment is gone. They have the equipment. They can hire and train crews.
Remembering how nice the meal service would sometimes be on the LS 'before Anderson.' Out of BOS there were choices of large prepackaged salads with cold meat if desired... or generously stuffed sandwiches. No doubt these were sourced out or BOS and could be brought back again if vendor is still operating.

Prepackaged meals can be very tasty... as can be seen on YouTube /// amazingly good prepackaged bento boxes perfected in the Orient. Sometimes rather silly and 'cheeky' at times, and high in sodium... check this out... shows the potential of food technology and creativity that could be modified for use with Amtrak...

 
Top