Amtrak Dining

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jis

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I just hope they don't badly butcher the Viewliner diners and keep all the pieces so they can put them all back together when saner minds take over.
I think what they will do is add a service counter where there is a blank wall by the kitchen now, and then eventually act flabbergasted when crowd management becomes a hopeless problem on the corridor.
 

crescent-zephyr

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And quit using the New Viewliner cars for axle count cars, or Yard Queens, and put them to the use they were built for( Sleepers,Diners,Bag Cars,Bag-Dorms)
That’s what really makes my blood boil. Congressmen fight about Amtrak serving paying customers decent food (customers paying up to $2,000 for a room!) but don’t say a word when Amtrak used brand new million dollar cars for axle count.
 

20th Century Rider

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It's not unnerving to me.....it just makes my eyes glaze over. It just seems to go on forever. But as always, there's something down the line to look forward to. I'm not sure how people can live in that vast nothingness, but they do and actually enjoy it. I like solitude, but I also like to have the option to not be so isolated.
Part of the allure of the EB are those boundless spaces... especially to the east of the big divide. To witness the drama of the approaching mountains is truly 'Only on a Train!'
From Amtrak's Five Year Plan:

Build for the Future Amtrak customers traveling on Long Distance routes will notice a number of new changes to their experience in FY 2021. This begins with onboard dining. On routes in the west, traditional dining will be reimagined and reintroduced for both private room and coach customers. On routes in the east, menus for flexible dining and the café will be refreshed

. . . we are soliciting a vendor who can design modifications to our new Viewliner II dining cars to enable them to provide both Flexible Dining service and café/lounge service, which currently requires two separate cars. In addition to cost savings, providing food service in a modern car configured to accommodate our current food service model would improve customer service.


I love the way Amtrak proudly states everything they downgrade is an "improvement"

Ooooooh my! Here we go again... frills and all... what deception! Use of 'fuzzy' descriptor words such as "reimagined and reintroduced' and 'refreshed' are a hint of what's to come... a trend that has been long and constant... and steadily downward. As they say in Missouri... the 'Show Me' state... show me!
 

20th Century Rider

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And quit using the New Viewliner cars for axle count cars, or Yard Queens, and put them to the use they were built for( Sleepers,Diners,Bag Cars,Bag-Dorms)
C'mon Amtrak... speak in plain language to address the basic issues... admit you have old cars with deteriorating systems... downgraded food service that has been a nemesis to all... a need for more frequency, more routes, and travel quality worthy of the American people!
 

Devil's Advocate

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How many versions of Flexicon Meals have we had already?

1.0 - Cold Boxes
2.0 - Hot Cold Mix
2.5 - Refreshed Mix

If Flexicon 3.0 is "reimagined" to be a pre-pandemic version of Acela First Class meals then maybe it's not so bad. If it's just another reheated casserole refresh then I fail to see the improvement. Nothing in version 2.5 appeals to me and the quality looks like it should be included free with every coach fare rather than an exclusive perk for sleepers.
 

20th Century Rider

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Well they can’t use the words “tasty” “yummy” or “attractive” to describe this...View attachment 22074
Exactly... if they are talking about something better than this... show it!

Meanwhile... in their wordy Amtrak-Service-Line-Asset-Line-Plans-FY21-26, they state... on page 76,

"At the start of FY 2020, an updated food service for customers in private rooms was launched on several single night trains—targeting improved flexibility and customer satisfaction while reducing food and beverage operating costs. Additionally, café menus have been enhanced and standardized to improve offerings, increase choice, generate additional revenue, simplify processes and reduce operating costs. The service line will also benefit from the roll out of a food and beverage point-of-sale system (POS) with improved features."

Ok... so what does this actually mean? From what I can gather they are 'replacing' the flex flop concept with 'reimagined dining.' Sounds like the same kind of drumroll they did when they introduced flex meals to 'meet the needs and desires of the millennials...' which as we well know, 'they don't like 'em either!'
 

me_little_me

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Amtrak announces Traditional Meals.

Amtrak, today, announced that the so-called flex meals have become such a tradition throughout the country that they are now considered "Traditional Meals" and will be served as such on all long distance trains. Moreover, since the famous, highly praised, declicious, freshly made brownies and blondies are so loved by passengers, they will now be used forever as the sole dessert for all Amtrak meals as well as being the sole snack sold in the Amtrak cafes from on. Using an advance on the proposed stimulus money, Amtrak is requesting bids for 1 billion flex meals and 10 billion brownies and blondies and will keep them stored in their Indiana Beech Grove facility until used to insure that they are available when needed until the new railcars are procured and eventually obsoleted.

When asked how can the meals and desserts remain fresh for up to potentially 40 years, Amtrak responded that with all the salt, sugar and preservatives, these items should easily last a century.
 

railiner

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Ooooooh my! Here we go again... frills and all... what deception! Use of 'fuzzy' descriptor words such as "reimagined and reintroduced' and 'refreshed' are a hint of what's to come... a trend that has been long and constant... and steadily downward. As they say in Missouri... the 'Show Me' state... show me!
Agreed! Amtrak must have a whole stable of "spin doctor's" on their staff to come up these description's.....😏
 

20th Century Rider

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Amtrak announces Traditional Meals.

Amtrak, today, announced that the so-called flex meals have become such a tradition throughout the country that they are now considered "Traditional Meals" and will be served as such on all long distance trains. Moreover, since the famous, highly praised, declicious, freshly made brownies and blondies are so loved by passengers, they will now be used forever as the sole dessert for all Amtrak meals as well as being the sole snack sold in the Amtrak cafes from on. Using an advance on the proposed stimulus money, Amtrak is requesting bids for 1 billion flex meals and 10 billion brownies and blondies and will keep them stored in their Indiana Beech Grove facility until used to insure that they are available when needed until the new railcars are procured and eventually obsoleted.

When asked how can the meals and desserts remain fresh for up to potentially 40 years, Amtrak responded that with all the salt, sugar and preservatives, these items should easily last a century.
The really big take is this... it looks like cynicism is becoming a reality at Amtrak.

Like so many other AU'ers, I am really disappointed at such management style... and the relentlessly aweful food ideas.

Does anyone really know what's going on???

But wait! May 21 is just around the corner. The big reveal?
Screen Shot 2021-04-29 at 4.45.41 PM.png
 

me_little_me

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I sent a message to Amtrak to be assured that there would be traditional dining on my trip. They assured me there would be. The reply was signed by:
Geneva S.
Amtrak Center of Excellence
Center of Excellence? Is that hubris or ḥuṣpāh?

Or is it that Amtrak found all their best corporate people and put them in one closet (how much space does it take for two people to fit?) and Geneva is one of the two?

Well, Geneva, I hope you are right but based on Amtrak's claims of how wonderful their flex food was and is, I'll only believe it when I see it and will still not believe it will stick around long after.
 

Sidney

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Well they can’t use the words “tasty” “yummy” or “attractive” to describe this...View attachment 22074
That photo is the essence of flexible dining. Amtrak should be ashamed of foisting that crap on sleeper passengers.
Well they can’t use the words “tasty” “yummy” or “attractive” to describe this...View attachment 22074
That photo is the essence of flex dining. Amtrak should be embarrassed foisting that crap on sleeper passengers.
 

Cal

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From Amtrak's Five Year Plan:

Build for the Future Amtrak customers traveling on Long Distance routes will notice a number of new changes to their experience in FY 2021. This begins with onboard dining. On routes in the west, traditional dining will be reimagined and reintroduced for both private room and coach customers. On routes in the east, menus for flexible dining and the café will be refreshed

. . . we are soliciting a vendor who can design modifications to our new Viewliner II dining cars to enable them to provide both Flexible Dining service and café/lounge service, which currently requires two separate cars. In addition to cost savings, providing food service in a modern car configured to accommodate our current food service model would improve customer service.


I love the way Amtrak proudly states everything they downgrade is an "improvement"

Sigh, I am nervous for the future.
 

crescent-zephyr

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What I don’t understand is what model are they looking at to base this off of?

Most hotels offer nice restaurants. Hilton Garden Inn’s offer cooked to order breakfasts and a decent dinner menu where you can order a basic steak, salmon, entree salad, etc.

Nothing gourmet, but a nice decent meal.

I feel like Amtrak should at least want to meet the Hilton garden level of service for its multi-day long distance trains.
 

Steve4031

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I booked to Toomey yes on the CZ for myself and gf departing emy on July 1. I’m monitoring this closely. If they continue this flex crap I will be canceling and we will fly home on United.
 

20th Century Rider

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What I don’t understand is what model are they looking at to base this off of?

Most hotels offer nice restaurants. Hilton Garden Inn’s offer cooked to order breakfasts and a decent dinner menu where you can order a basic steak, salmon, entree salad, etc.

Nothing gourmet, but a nice decent meal.

I feel like Amtrak should at least want to meet the Hilton garden level of service for its multi-day long distance trains.
The answer is that Amtrak is a government institution... the leadership in its departments serves the government, not the people. Amtrak is a government transport service. It's just like the post office... when the cost of the stamp goes up due to government mandate... you pay it. If the mail is lost or damaged, you must live with it.

Likewise, the products on Amtrak are the products that the government decides it will offer... and at the price they set. If they want to continue flex dining then you can take it or leave it. If you cancel your trip because you don't like flex dining, no one in the government will lose sleep over it. They don't care.

The government runs the country and the citizens adhere.

This is how this 'democracy' works. For example, Amtrak.
 
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20th Century Rider

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The answer is that Amtrak is a government institution... the leadership in its departments serves the government, not the people. Amtrak is a government transport service. It's just like the post office... when the cost of the stamp goes up due to government mandate... you pay it. If the mail is lost or damaged, you must live with it.

Likewise, the products on Amtrak are the products that the government decides it will offer... and at the price they set. If they want to continue flex dining then you can take it or leave it. If you cancel your trip because you don't like flex dining, no one in the government will lose sleep over it. They don't care.

The government runs the country and the citizens adhere.

This is how this 'democracy' works. For example, Amtrak.
And there is something else I forgot to mention regarding the very faltering cardboard and plastic Amtrak Service.

What a joy to watch the blogs of rail travel in Russia, China, and Mongolia on my large screen TV. On all of those accounts, you see a ingenuity and quality reflected in the railroads... and the restaurant food service is a reflection of national pride in authentic traditional dishes.

Such is vastly different than from the dismal state of affairs on our 'national railroad.' There's just no national pride.

This is all very sad... and somehow I've lost hope for the way we seem to be 'locked in to it.'
 
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Devil's Advocate

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Hilton Garden Inn’s offer cooked to order breakfasts and a decent dinner menu where you can order a basic steak, salmon, entree salad, etc. I feel like Amtrak should at least want to meet the Hilton garden level of service for its multi-day long distance trains.
I agree with the premise but are most HGI hotels actually making cooked-to-order breakfasts right now?

I booked to Toomey yes on the CZ for myself and gf departing emy on July 1. I’m monitoring this closely. If they continue this flex crap I will be canceling and we will fly home on United.
They're already on record with the Western LDN returning to conventional meals so hopefully that sticks. I'm less confident that the Eastern routes will receive much of an upgrade but hoping I'm wrong.

The answer is that Amtrak is a government institution... the leadership in its departments serves the government, not the people. Amtrak is a government transport service. It's just like the post office... when the cost of the stamp goes up due to government mandate... you pay it. If the mail is lost or damaged, you must live with it. Likewise, the products on Amtrak are the products that the government decides it will offer... and at the price they set. If they want to continue flex dining then you can take it or leave it. If you cancel your trip because you don't like flex dining, no one in the government will lose sleep over it. They don't care. The government runs the country and the citizens adhere. This is how this 'democracy' works. For example, Amtrak.
Don't let it get you down too much. A return to daily trains should reduce fares, Western routes should resume more conventional dining in the near future, and a bit of extra planning can bring whatever you want with you. Keep in mind that meals are still low quality or missing altogether on most flights as well.

 
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