Amtrak dining

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5280 Guy

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This whole topic is the subject of many threads but as far as meeting the train, the biggest issue is the unreliability of arrival. I've been on Amtrak trains that have gone from an estimated arrival at a station of a few minutes to getting there an hour later.
Problem, not "issue."
 
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Not sure if it's WAYYY back in this thread, or in another one ....

Can anyone sum up or point me to posts about possible upcoming upgrades of dining on eastern LD trains? Specifically looking for info about CONO, Cap Ltd, Cardinal, and Crescent in November.

Thanks, and if I'm in the wrong thread, moderators please direct me elsewhere.
 

enviro5609

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Not sure if it's WAYYY back in this thread, or in another one ....

Can anyone sum up or point me to posts about possible upcoming upgrades of dining on eastern LD trains? Specifically looking for info about CONO, Cap Ltd, Cardinal, and Crescent in November.

Thanks, and if I'm in the wrong thread, moderators please direct me elsewhere.
There have been rumors about the Meteor getting traditional dining in the fall when it returns. It’s just rumors from OBS, and speculation based on some job postings for Chef in NY/Miami. But the rumblings there have been consistent.

There were also job postings for Chef in Charlotte, which triggered some speculation about the Crescent getting dining back as well. That would be odd, considering the Crescent still is only 5x a week, and doesn’t currently have a dining car. But it’s not clear where else a Charlotte based Chef would work.
 

jis

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There have been rumors about the Meteor getting traditional dining in the fall when it returns. It’s just rumors from OBS, and speculation based on some job postings for Chef in NY/Miami. But the rumblings there have been consistent.

There were also job postings for Chef in Charlotte, which triggered some speculation about the Crescent getting dining back as well. That would be odd, considering the Crescent still is only 5x a week, and doesn’t currently have a dining car. But it’s not clear where else a Charlotte based Chef would work.
As far as rumors go, the Crescent is supposed to go daily around the same time that the Meteor starts running.

As for traditional dining rumors on the Meteor they are running about even between positive and negative. Anyway a few more months will tell for sure.
 

Oreius

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I was checking out the menus for the lounge cars. What menu does the Pennsy use, the National or the Northeast Regional menu? The Regional menu has a few more mouth watering choices like a white cheddar Mac and cheese! Yum!

I don’t believe Amtrak provisions the train in Pittsburgh, though I could be wrong. Considering it originates in NYC, it would use that commissary. I’m not sure how Amtrak does it’s logistics for food service.
 

west point

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Most Amtrak station's number of trains is very sparse. Restocking at any train's intermediate location requires a caterer and commisary. The question becomes how many trains a day needing restocking makes an ienroute ntermediate catering stop feasible?

It is hard to find any not close to one already catering. CLT 2 - Crescent, 1- Carolinian for example. JAX or Orlando - 4
 

JWM

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Amtrak has to get the dining/catering in order. The dining cars have to go back on ALL overnight runs and give the routes different choices. They can cut the cost of the service by more efficient use and efforts to entice coach passengers to dine. I realize that it is rather expensive, but if they got even 10% of the coach passengers, they'd be ahead of the game.
 

zephyr17

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Most Amtrak station's number of trains is very sparse. Restocking at any train's intermediate location requires a caterer and commisary. The question becomes how many trains a day needing restocking makes an ienroute ntermediate catering stop feasible?

It is hard to find any not close to one already catering. CLT 2 - Crescent, 1- Carolinian for example. JAX or Orlando - 4
Amtrak contracts all its commissary work out to Aramark, a food service company with a gigantic presence nationwide.

I am sure Aramark would be willing to provide commissary services at any location where they have presence and infrastructure (they are at a hell of a lot of airports, for instance) that Amtrak is willing to pay for.
 

joelkfla

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Well if you want to be a diner chef at Miami here’s your Chance. Hiring event.
It would be nice if Amtrak could get their job descriptions right.

In 2 places, it says the Chef is responsible for preparing meals for Amtrak employees, with no mention of passengers or customers. It also says they "will keep the entire lower level of the car clean."

And it says the LSA will perform "side work as directed by the Lead Service Attendant".
 
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It would be nice if Amtrak could get their job descriptions right.

In 2 places, it says the Chef is responsible for preparing meals for Amtrak employees, with no mention of passengers or customers. It also says they "will keep the entire lower level of the car clean."

And it says the LSA will perform "side work as directed by the Lead Service Attendant".
I have noticed that myself and figured the employees was typo for customers.
 

zephyr17

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It had already been reduced to a single national menu on the old iteration of traditional dining long before COVID. The fact that they still printed different train graphics on those menus didn't change the fact that the choices were identical.
 

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It had already been reduced to a single national menu on the old iteration of traditional dining long before COVID. The fact that they still printed different train graphics on those menus didn't change the fact that the choices were identical.
I contend that Gardner would be another slash to solvency CEO if not for Congressional mandates. For all we know Gardner may have suggested and supported many of the reductions enacted under Anderson. I never mentioned COVID so I'm unsure what that has to do with anything I did say.
 
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zephyr17

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I contend Gardner would be another slash to solvency Anderson 2.0 if not for Congressional mandates. I never mentioned COVID so I'm unsure what it has to do with this.
You mentioned the "old" version of traditional dining, which was withdrawn and replaced by flex on western trains as a COVID measure. My main point was the single national menu was in place under the old version and had been for a long time. It predated Anderson by quite some time and happened with Simplified Dining Service.

I do not disagree that current Amtrak management is another slash to solvency one, and I actually contend it still is one, Congressional mandates or no.
 

Devil's Advocate

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You mentioned the "old" version of traditional dining, which was withdrawn and replaced by flex on western trains as a COVID measure. My main point was the single national menu was in place under the old version and had been for a long time. It predated Anderson by quite some time and happened with Simplified Dining Service. I do not disagree that current Amtrak management is another slash to solvency one, and I actually contend it still is one, Congressional mandates or no.
I believe the Simplified Dining era featured some regional menus on premium routes and the end of the program predated Gardner as CEO by a decade. During that window the Chef-Inspired era also featured regional menus. Unfortunately it was cut so short many seem to forget it ever existed.
 

zephyr17

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I rode a lot during that period on a lot of different trains, the Builder, the Starlight, the Southwest Chief and the Sunset all come to mind. It was the same menu from about at least 2014 on.

The difference was the menu graphics.

The national menu was not something introduced with the much improved new iteration of traditional dining.

Trust me, when I spent nine days onboard on one trip, I would have noticed, and very much welcomed, a different selection.
 
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I am riding on the Cardinal in early August and have a sleeper car so It looks like meals are included. I have an issue with dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt, whey, etc.

when I called the help line today the customer service rep was very friendly but it looks like I can only order a vegan or kosher meal. She did mention there are chefs on board the train do they have ability to modify things? Or possibly make things that could work? This is my first long distance trip and in my 2nd in my life so I am learning.
thank you for any info and experiences.
 
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I am riding on the Cardinal in early August and have a sleeper car so It looks like meals are included. I have an issue with dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt, whey, etc.

when I called the help line today the customer service rep was very friendly but it looks like I can only order a vegan or kosher meal. She did mention there are chefs on board the train do they have ability to modify things? Or possibly make things that could work? This is my first long distance trip and in my 2nd in my life so I am learning.
thank you for any info and experiences.
Since the flex meals are already made ahead of time and just reheated I doubt the onboard chef can do very much. Sounds like vegan would be your best bet, or a Kosher meat dish since dietary laws don't allow mixing dairy and meat
 
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Since the flex meals are already made ahead of time and just reheated I doubt the onboard chef can do very much. Sounds like vegan would be your best bet, or a Kosher meat dish since dietary laws don't allow mixing dairy and meat
Thank you for the information. That helps quite a bit. Off to order a Kosher Beef set of meals then.
 

joelkfla

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I am riding on the Cardinal in early August and have a sleeper car so It looks like meals are included. I have an issue with dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt, whey, etc.

when I called the help line today the customer service rep was very friendly but it looks like I can only order a vegan or kosher meal. She did mention there are chefs on board the train do they have ability to modify things? Or possibly make things that could work? This is my first long distance trip and in my 2nd in my life so I am learning.
thank you for any info and experiences.
I've never been on the Cardinal, but I'm skeptical that there is an actual, bona fide chef on board for Flex Dining. On the Silver Star, there's been just one lonely LSA (Lead Service Attendant) heating up the prepackaged meals and doling them out from a makeshift counter in the diner. (On one trip, the LSA delivered them to the table.)
 
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I've never been on the Cardinal, but I'm skeptical that there is an actual, bona fide chef on board for Flex Dining. On the Silver Star, there's been just one lonely LSA (Lead Service Attendant) heating up the prepackaged meals and doling them out from a makeshift counter in the diner. (On one trip, the LSA delivered them to the table.)
That's kind of ironic because at least part of the reason that Amtrak was created was many of the services, in particular the dining service, had become substandard due to private railroads cutting costs (the whole Southern Pacific automat controversy), and now it looks like Amtrak is doing the same thing.
 
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