Amtrak Dining

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me_little_me

Conductor
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I don't think the H rooms on the Superliners have a shower in the room itself, but there is a shower in the same car that is accessible. For some reason, even though we signed up and paid for a roomette, at some point prior to our trip, we got a message from Amtrak indicating that they were moving us to the H room, but our charge remained the same. Lots of room in there; one could possibly do ballroom dancing in there. But yes, the toilet provided some negative olfactory ambiance. No shower in the room though. Yes, I realize you're not talking about the superliners, but I just wanted to point out that it's not really about amenities like showers and privacy, but rather accessibility.
On two superliner trains while in the handicapped room, the shower was, indeed, in the room with the toilet behind a curtain. However, since neither of us was that limited so as to be confined to a wheelchair, we both used the shower just outside the room. I don't remember that one being wheelchair accessible.
 
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Barb Stout

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Mar 13, 2019
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On two superliner trains while in the handicapped room, the shower was, indeed, in the room with the toilet behind a curtain. However, since neither of us was that limited so as to be confined to a wheelchair, we both used the shower just outside the room. I don't remember that one being wheelchair accessible.
Thanks for the clarification from someone who was actually paying attention. I don't remember seeing a shower in there, but wasn't looking for one and am not always observant. It was my first Amtrak ride in almost 50 years. I haven't yet taken a shower on the train. Perhaps I'll try it the next time I take it.
 

HammerJack

Train Attendant
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Jan 19, 2019
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What are 21 & 22 doing for dining? There doesn’t seem to be a sightseer lounge... what gives? Is the dining car doing double duty for dining and cafe service? If so, that’s a real same that passengers lose out on the sightseer lounge. That really should be reflected in the price. It’s an amenity that isn’t being offered.
 

Cal

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What are 21 & 22 doing for dining? There doesn’t seem to be a sightseer lounge... what gives? Is the dining car doing double duty for dining and cafe service? If so, that’s a real same that passengers lose out on the sightseer lounge. That really should be reflected in the price. It’s an amenity that isn’t being offered.
Yes, they use a Cross Country Cafe, which has a lounge in addition to normal dining space.
 

Bob Dylan

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Yes, they use a Cross Country Cafe, which has a lounge in addition to normal dining space.
It does suck, and as of now, the SSL will NOT return to the Eagles when Daily Service returns in May!🤬

But they dont let Coach Passengers hang out in the Lounge part of the CCC, they have to go back to their Seats with their purchases.😟🤬

Depending on the Passenger loads, there are only 1 LSA to do both jobs, if the train reaches an Amtrak decided % of Load Factor ( ???), a 2nd LSA gets assigned. It really is a case of OBS doing the work of 2-3 people on this route!😟🤬

The SCAs and some Coach Attendants help out , all the current staff are Senior OBS and I had really good ones on my trip to/from Dallas on the Eagle.😊
 
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crescent-zephyr

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Oct 21, 2015
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What are 21 & 22 doing for dining? There doesn’t seem to be a sightseer lounge... what gives? Is the dining car doing double duty for dining and cafe service? If so, that’s a real same that passengers lose out on the sightseer lounge. That really should be reflected in the price. It’s an amenity that isn’t being offered.
Yes, the CCC cars were designed so they could be the single food service car on a long distance train.
Depending on the Passenger loads, there are only 1 LSA to do both jobs, if the train reaches an Amtrak decided % of Load Factor ( ???), a 2nd LSA gets assigned. It really is a case of OBS doing the work of 2-3 people on this route!
Why would they pay a 2nd LSA? They would only need to pay for a server correct?
 

Cal

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Why would they pay a 2nd LSA? They would only need to pay for a server correct?
One LSA to manage the cafe, one to do the diner. If the train is full, I'm sure there are points where the one LSA would have a short line at the cafe and a few tables needing to be served at once.
 

crescent-zephyr

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One LSA to manage the cafe, one to do the diner. If the train is full, I'm sure there are points where the one LSA would have a short line at the cafe and a few tables needing to be served at once.
Right but the LSA is only necessary to handle money. A server can handle everything else.

One of the few “experiments” that made sense was when they had 1 LSA and 2 servers and a Chef on the Capitol. The LSA handled the cafe counter in the CCC car and cashed out any coach / alcohol checks from the diner.

Naturally that saved money AND made sense so Amtrak didn’t continue.... lol
 

Bob Dylan

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One LSA to manage the cafe, one to do the diner. If the train is full, I'm sure there are points where the one LSA would have a short line at the cafe and a few tables needing to be served at once.
When I rode the Eagle to/from Dallas last Month, there were 2 LSAs on the mostly full Trains.

1 Worked the Cafe for Coach passengers ( who had to take their stuff back to their Seat) and Sleeper passengers wanting Cafe items, while the other heated up the Orders and served them in the Diner end of the CCC to the Sleeping Car folks.

The SCA,who was working both Sleepers( opposite ends of the Train)took the orders, and delivered Meals to those who wanted to eat in their Rooms.

The Coach attendant did the same for Coach passengers from the Cafe, and even helped out in the Sleepers!

These hard working OBS were working really Long Hours, with few Breaks, and deserved the tips they received!
 

HammerJack

Train Attendant
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Jan 19, 2019
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I guess I’m more concerned with the lack of the SSL. Why is it being discontinued on the Eagles? It’s still found on other superliner trains....
 

Sidney

Lead Service Attendant
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Jul 12, 2020
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The Auto Train never lost traditional dining. Amtrak promotes on Facebook. An hour ago they touted how much you will love flexible dining. Within an hour almost 100 negative replies. Amtrak has posted about flex dining a few times and a barrage of negativity always follows

Does their promotion/publicity department have any idea of the unpopularity of flex dining and do they even read the overwhelmingly negative responses? Mind boggling
 
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lordsigma

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The Auto Train never lost traditional dining. Amtrak promotes on Facebook. An hour ago they touted how much you will love flexible dining. Within an hour almost 100 negative replies. Amtrak has posted about flex dining a few times and a barrage of negativity always follows

Does their promotion/publicity department have any idea of the unpopularity of flex dining and do they even read the overwhelmingly negative responses? Mind boggling
I am aware - but the food this trip seems a substantial improvement over my last AT trip in 2019 which was my main point.
 
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Hubby and I enjoy the flat iron steak. We both order it every time we use the Auto Train. However, our trip north last October my steak was horrible. Could not cut it at all. I even picked it up with my fingers to try and bite into it. Even that wasn't going to happen. I assume the fascia membrane was never removed making it tougher than all get out! Hubby's steak was fine! Next time I may or may not try it again...haven't decided yet!
 

Railspike

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Nov 29, 2020
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Houston
Amtrak must have posted that Facebook Flex-Meal topic on April Fools Day! What a joke. I've got to think they know how unpopular these meals are and are just biding their time until they can bring traditional dining back, hopefully to ALL LD trains. We have friends who know we rode Amtrak (pre-Covid and Flex-Meals) who recently took their first-ever Amtrak trip in a sleeper on the SL. They loved the trip but said they couldn't eat the food. How many first-timers will never return because of the Flex-Meals? Amtrak has missed a golden opportunity to have provided decent meals during the Pandemic. I told my friends to let Amtrak know of their experience. Maybe Amtrak will give them a voucher for a hot dog from the cafe.
 
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Sidney

Lead Service Attendant
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Is it possible Anderson and company grossly underestimated the public outcry of removing traditional.dining and how integral it was to the train experience? Never have I seen such a huge negative reaction to anything Amtrak has ever done.

Of course we are getting traditional dining back in the West,but if flex dining is to continue in the East,there has to be other choices. Why is it so difficult to add sandwiches,full salads and something besides a brownie for dessert?

Of course the fact the sleeper prices did not go down was also an irritant.

If you are on a long distance train trip and paying top dollar you expect and should get decent food. Pedemic or not,Amtrak failed miserably.
 

jis

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That is why the plan is to discontinue Flex-Meals and revert back to full service dining on all LD trains by the end of this year.

Anderson and company did not introduce Flex-Meals because they thought they will win a popularity contest with it. They did it due to a combination of being given an impossible task by the Congress and possibly some amount of unimaginativeness. But I shudder to think what they might have conjured up if they were more imaginative too.

Actually I am almost certain that Anderson and company knew that it was going to be unpopular but they also knew that their bonuses depended on getting the Food Service P&L Center, a stupid idea that Congress came up with and the Board relentlessly worked on implementing, to a point where it was breaking even.

This also had to do with certain quarters within Amtrak and the US Executive Branch believing that LD trains ought to be starved to non-existence and was consistent with that agenda in a sneaky but obvious way. That bit I believe still lingers on, even though its champion within Amtrak has been shunted into a sideline into the President's post, away from any executive responsibility.

Things are improving now because Congress has now seen it fit to rescind their stupid ideas, and actually become much more Amtrak friendly in the charge they have started giving Amtrak management.
 

Amtrakfflyer

OBS Chief
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Feb 2, 2005
Messages
540
Anderson was just grossly incompetent for the job as Amtrak CEO. He’s no dummy but his arrogance and not understanding Amtrak‘s true mission (written or not) probably caused more damage to Amtrak then any other CEO in Amtrak's history. If he had his way there would have been train offs and only a few long distance trains left.

I hope old adage applies here, “things have to get worse before they get better”. So far things are looking up on all fronts food included.

Is it possible Anderson and company grossly underestimated the public outcry of removing traditional.dining and how integral it was to the train experience? Never have I seen such a huge negative reaction to anything Amtrak has ever done.

Of course we are getting traditional dining back in the West,but if flex dining is to continue in the East,there has to be other choices. Why is it so difficult to add sandwiches,full salads and something besides a brownie for dessert?

Of course the fact the sleeper prices did not go down was also an irritant.

If you are on a long distance train trip and paying top dollar you expect and should get decent food. Pedemic or not,Amtrak failed miserably.
 
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me_little_me

Conductor
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Anderson and company did not introduce Flex-Meals because they thought they will win a popularity contest with it. They did it due to a combination of being given an impossible task by the Congress and possibly some amount of unimaginativeness. But I shudder to think what they might have conjured up if they were more imaginative too.
POSSIBLY some amount of unimaginativeness? Are you kidding? GROSS INCOMPETENCE. Lying about why they were doing it ("The millennials want garbage to eat"). Deliberately cutting it back to the bone so as to generate complaints at the expense of their best customers. And lets not forget that the efforts of a couple of AU members showed they were purchasing them from a third party, not the original supplier. Makes one wonder whether there is more sleaze to the story.

Had they been imaginative, they could have provided double the choices so as to allow more choices on long trips, added at least one salad, given vouchers for the cafe, changed the choices and improved the quality after first getting the complaints, written a better contract, thought more about what they were providing for breakfasts, consulted some healthy food experts - or at least read a book or two from them, provided service instead of "here's your meal; eat it and shut up; bus your own table" (the attitude I got on Crescent trips), stopped the grossly wastefulness of the food, the packaging, the cost of disposal, and the lack of recycling, and ACTUALLY TAKING A LD TRAIN AND EATING THOSE MEALS THEMSELVES.

There was no real thought, no planning, no concern about their customers, nothing to justify the continued employment of the executives or the retention of the Board.

Where are the Siberian gulags when you need them? I have some nominations for transport.

Other than that, I agree with what you said.
 

OBS

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POSSIBLY some amount of unimaginativeness? Are you kidding? GROSS INCOMPETENCE. Lying about why they were doing it ("The millennials want garbage to eat"). Deliberately cutting it back to the bone so as to generate complaints at the expense of their best customers. And lets not forget that the efforts of a couple of AU members showed they were purchasing them from a third party, not the original supplier. Makes one wonder whether there is more sleaze to the story.

Had they been imaginative, they could have provided double the choices so as to allow more choices on long trips, added at least one salad, given vouchers for the cafe, changed the choices and improved the quality after first getting the complaints, written a better contract, thought more about what they were providing for breakfasts, consulted some healthy food experts - or at least read a book or two from them, provided service instead of "here's your meal; eat it and shut up; bus your own table" (the attitude I got on Crescent trips), stopped the grossly wastefulness of the food, the packaging, the cost of disposal, and the lack of recycling, and ACTUALLY TAKING A LD TRAIN AND EATING THOSE MEALS THEMSELVES.

There was no real thought, no planning, no concern about their customers, nothing to justify the continued employment of the executives or the retention of the Board.

Where are the Siberian gulags when you need them? I have some nominations for transport.

Other than that, I agree with what you said.
I think you summed things up very accurately!
 

Tlcooper93

Train Attendant
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Jan 9, 2021
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83
Location
Boston
I am years late to this thread, but in some catch-up reading, east coast LD trains are getting traditional dining back? Is this insider information, or is there some official announcement that I could let some friends know about?
 
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