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Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
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Another problem with changing vendors now is that they have no volume to offer. There are probably not going to be too many companies who are anxious to start doing business with Amtrak when the volume is so low.
Amtrak volume isn't shrinking in a vacuum and likely carries more weight when vendors are hurting for cash flow.

Do you seriously think that just changing to a different entrée from the same vendor is gonna make any of us any happier? No way.
People are telling us they want new options and the quality has gotten so bad even a minor change could do wonders.

Covid did it - No, the cutback was long before Covid was even known to the people in Wuhan.
Western route cutbacks were done after the pandemic hit.
 

Albi

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
32
Which brings us to the question we want to ask. What is Amtrak’s policy about preparing personal food in a sleeping car bedroom? (With the many changes which have been brought about by COVID, perhaps the sleeping car bedrooms of the future will each have its own microwave and coffeemaker.)

Eric & Pat
There is only one outlet per roomette, don't know how many outlets a bedroom has.

I am actually traveling with my tea equipment since you can't get decent tea in America (they all drink coffee).

So I am plugging in a water boiler to brew loose tea, using two caraffes.

That's just an example. Of course you can bring your own foods and drinks to consume in your room.

I have heard Amtrak doesn't like big coolers to be brought aboard, maybe out of fear some young people would start a party or so. So be discreet, bring things in your bags.
 

tricia

Conductor
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Spring Creek, NC
I have heard Amtrak doesn't like big coolers to be brought aboard, maybe out of fear some young people would start a party or so. So be discreet, bring things in your bags.
A really big cooler isn't a practical fit in a roomette. But I bring a smallish cooler with me whenever I travel on Amtrak, and no one has ever indicated disapproval.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
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Messages
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Texas
I am actually traveling with my tea equipment since you can't get decent tea in America (they all drink coffee).
Only half of us drink coffee and you can find decent tea here if you go to a specialty tea shop. In the past this was difficult without a rental car but today you can use a ride sharing service instead.

I have heard Amtrak doesn't like big coolers to be brought aboard, maybe out of fear some young people would start a party or so. So be discreet, bring things in your bags.
I believe the main issue is not that it's a cooler so much as it's too big/heavy for the person bringing it to quickly move out of the way. In my experience people can bring what they want so long as doing so does not slow anyone down.
 

caravanman

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Nottingham, England.
There is only one outlet per roomette, don't know how many outlets a bedroom has.

I am actually traveling with my tea equipment since you can't get decent tea in America (they all drink coffee).

So I am plugging in a water boiler to brew loose tea, using two caraffes.

That's just an example. Of course you can bring your own foods and drinks to consume in your room.

I have heard Amtrak doesn't like big coolers to be brought aboard, maybe out of fear some young people would start a party or so. So be discreet, bring things in your bags.
Being from the UK, I also prefer a cup of "decent tea". Loose leaves is a bit upscale for me, but I bring my low wattage travel kettle, and some PG teabags, my favourite.
If the Covid Virus remains a big threat, I can't imagine many folk will travel, even in private rooms equipped with microwaves, etc?
A discrete few beers always helps one to get to sleep... ;)
 

lordsigma

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Western route cutbacks were done after the pandemic hit.
Yes and Amtrak officially is still advertising traditional dining and saying it will return after the pandemic. Yes many people don’t believe they will follow through, but officially traditional dining will return after the pandemic.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
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May 31, 2009
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Canadians are big tea drinkers too, and I can attest that it is certainly possible to get a good "cuppa" in the US. Tea drinking there has grown exponentially over the last few years since they got over that Boston thing in 1773.;)
When my Late Wife first came to the US from Canada, she had her family send her " Good Tea" since we lived in a Small town where Liptons was the only Tea available in those days.( most Southerners drink Iced " Sweet Tea".)

She taught me to appreciate Hot Tea, and while I didnt quit drinking Coffee completely, drink it often.( Of course now it's easy to get stuff from all over by delivery from the various Shopping and Delivery services).
 

Willbridge

OBS Chief
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My parents rode the Pacific Great Eastern a year or two after it reached Prince George. My mother reported that the coffee in Prince George was better than in Vancouver, BC. On their return trip they overheard an older lady with a British accent saying that she was glad to be returning to a city where she could get "a proper cup of tea."
 

IndyLions

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People are telling us they want new options and the quality has gotten so bad even a minor change could do wonders.
They’ve made tons of changes since the start of Flex Dining, and I would say the consensus on this board is that very few people were happy after the changes. Why would another change similar to previous ones be received any better?
 

crescent-zephyr

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Oct 21, 2015
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They’ve made tons of changes since the start of Flex Dining, and I would say the consensus on this board is that very few people were happy after the changes. Why would another change similar to previous ones be received any better?
Swapping one TV dinner out for another isn’t really a change worth noting. Did Amtrak make tons of changes when they went from pancakes to French toast or Mahi Mahi to Salmon?
 

IndyLions

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And lunch menus that don't just duplicate dinner menus. And a bit of variety on the desserts. And a few more choices of a hot breakfast - and better quality of the microwaved Egg McHorrible.
...and my point for this whole thread has been that until Covid is “over” - they aren’t going to make a single change to food service that anyone in this forum would be happy with.
 

johnmiller

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 30, 2019
Messages
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...and my point for this whole thread has been that until Covid is “over” - they aren’t going to make a single change to food service that anyone in this forum would be happy with.
So, we will just continue NOT riding Amtrak. Problem solved.
 

caravanman

Conductor
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Nottingham, England.
I am one of those rare passengers that ride trains to get from A to B, rather than for the on board food offerings.
The first time I rode Amtrak, I was surprised to find that meals were included in sleeper fares.
To say that you won't ride a train, rather than bring some healthy and interesting food from home for the journey, may indicate that the issue is not all Amtrak's, methinks...?
 

johnmiller

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 30, 2019
Messages
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I am one of those rare passengers that ride trains to get from A to B, rather than for the on board food offerings.
The first time I rode Amtrak, I was surprised to find that meals were included in sleeper fares.
To say that you won't ride a train, rather than bring some healthy and interesting food from home for the journey, may indicate that the issue is not all Amtrak's, methinks...?
Do whatever you want. But, you have zero other choices when you are on the train. And, my journeys are over a number of days each time. Plus, with COVID, you have to give someone a good reason to get onboard. Cutting back on the only food you get for a few days doesn't cut it.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2020
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I have a question for roomette meals. My friend that I travel with has had a heart attach because to much salt causing the muscles around her heart to have spasms. It was very scary for her and she has to be very careful with her salt intake So the Flex Meals will not be wise for her on a two day trip.
Can someone give me advice for her on how to get the special meals to eat instead of the ''salt loaded flex meals '' ? I know the level of salt in them-wow!!!
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
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I am one of those rare passengers that ride trains to get from A to B, rather than for the on board food offerings.
As do I. If my goal is to get from point A to point B, I will take everything in to consideration when choosing my mode of transit.

That includes cost but also value.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 24, 2017
Messages
7
Is there any hope for Traditional Dining to come back? The PDF schedules say "Traditional dining service has been temporarily suspended on all routes with the exception of the Auto Train. Through May 21, 2021." Does that mean it might come back after that date? Wishful thinking?
 

IndyLions

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Is there any hope for Traditional Dining to come back? The PDF schedules say "Traditional dining service has been temporarily suspended on all routes with the exception of the Auto Train. Through May 21, 2021." Does that mean it might come back after that date? Wishful thinking?
It’s all comes down to timing. Right now there is a friendly administration and a friendly Congress - but the evil COVID has food service on the back burner. It will remain so (my opinion) until furloughed Amtrak employees are all back at their jobs, trains are back to their pre-Covid schedules, and the consensus is that we are on the downhill glide with Covid. When all three of those things happen - I think Amtrak will return western trains to full dining - and take a serious look at the failed experiment that is Flex Dining. What replaces Flex Dining is anyone’s guess - but I’m thinking it will be better than the current implementation but fall short of full dining.

Now if the Covid fight takes too long, and the Republicans succeed in winning back the House and/or Senate in 2022, a lot of other far worse scenarios are on the table. It’s not as crazy as it sounds - it almost always happens that the minority party takes back Congress in the mid-terms following a Presidential election.

There you have it. Two paragraphs of utter speculation. Take it with a boulder-sized grain of salt.

Since this is a Dining thread, there will likely be about 100 others who will offer their speculation as well...
 

pennyk

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I have a question for roomette meals. My friend that I travel with has had a heart attach because to much salt causing the muscles around her heart to have spasms. It was very scary for her and she has to be very careful with her salt intake So the Flex Meals will not be wise for her on a two day trip.
Can someone give me advice for her on how to get the special meals to eat instead of the ''salt loaded flex meals '' ? I know the level of salt in them-wow!!!
I would recommend that your friend phone customer relations and explain her situation to them. However, I think she should be prepared to bring her own food. Most likely even the food in the cafe car may not be suitable for her.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Texas
To say that you won't ride a train, rather than bring some healthy and interesting food from home for the journey, may indicate that the issue is not all Amtrak's, methinks...?
Working age passengers must forfeit extra vacation days (in a country that guarantees zero) to ride Amtrak in the best of times. Now we are expected to eat much lower quality meals while paying even more than before for the privilege. Most stations lack easy access to markets or restaurants from which to buy our own fresh meals and based on recent reports we can no longer be assured of enough ice to refill a cooler. This sounds like a legitimate complaint to me.

Everyone knows that Amtrak on board food is rubbish...
Some of us also know that it did not used to be and does not have to be this way.
 
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JC_620

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 15, 2019
Messages
40
Location
Centerville
Thinking about doing an upcoming trip from Boston to Maricopa to visit family. That would be the LSL to the Texas Eagle from what I understand. Already thinking about somehow planning my dinners out.

Albany looks like it has a few nearby decent restaurantswhile #449 attaches to #49. Breakfast in Chicago would be fine. Then on the Texas Eagle portion, we were thinking about trying to get something from that Old Spaghetti Factory in St. Louis provided the train is on time. Next day, maybe trying to get something in either Dallas or Ft. Worth during the layover. Only problem would be keeping the food warm until the night as there are no microwaves available to passengers on board the train 😕..and we realize that if the train is late, any meal planning is out the window.

My main question is has anyone ever tried to plan ahead - where the train has a decent layover - grabbed a decent meal for either breakfast, lunch or dinner by either having the food delivered to the station, or maybe even hopping in a cab to a nearby good restaurant?

Hassle? Yes. But better than eating salt for days on end.
 
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