Amtrak Dining

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Willbridge

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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.
We've been through this before. See the article in the middle of the attached clipping from the Oregon Journal.

1918 05 21  USRRA orders.png
 

Willbridge

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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.
We've been through this before. See the article in the middle of the attached clipping from the Oregon Journal.

View attachment 22088
 

lordsigma

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Sigh, I am nervous for the future.
May want to take some of what's in the newly released service line plans with a grain of salt. This service line plan was clearly drafted before the return to daily service was secured through the COVID spending bill as it has a section about how they plan to evaluate and consider restoring daily long distance service. There is a bunch of outdated stuff that does not reflect these funding developments and much of this language is essentially the exact same thing that was in it last year. Additionally the Mica mandate has been put to bed so they have a little more flexibility now as to what they can offer for food service - we shall see.
 
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I feel like Amtrak should at least want to meet the Hilton garden level of service for its multi-day long distance trains.
I love Hilton Garden Inns, but their breakfast quality varies (I’m talking of pre-pandemic times now, when they had the made to order breakfasts and the buffet). I stayed at one (only once!) that made a very basic omelet and had just a few buffet items.

On the other end of the scale is my favorite HGI, in center city Philly, with a huge buffet and where the chef often handed me my omelet when I walked up because he knew what I liked in it and had seen me come in.

One morning, I was staying there and traveling later that day on the Silver Star right after it had lost its diner. When I told my waiter they only had the cafe left on the train, he disappeared for a few minutes. When he came back, he had a bag packed with a picnic lunch (on them), because he said they didn’t want me to be stuck with cafe food on the train for lunch!

It’s not just the food. It’s the difference in attitude.
 

me_little_me

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We just stayed at three different Marriott low end properties (2 Springhill Suites and one Fairfield).

One Springhill and the Fairfield served prepackaged garbage (microwavable) breakfast "sandwiches" or "omelets" (if you can call them that) along with the ubiquitous packaged muffin. Reminded me of Amtrak flex meals. They just handed out brown pre-set-up paper bags with these plus an orange and a highly sweetened yogurt. You used your room microwave to heat them.

The third had freshly cooked scrambled eggs, ham, fresh biscuit and a lot of other choices. When you went to the counter, you told them what you wanted and they made up a foam container in which they custom filled what you wanted and placed it there for you to pick up. Everything was properly heated and tasted very good.

One place decided that good food done right will bring back customers. We'll be back to that place. The others got a "3" on TripAdvisor. That one got a "5".

Amtrak could have done a lot better. They chose not to because management doesn't care about customer retention nor do they have any pride in their product. They are no better than two low-end and worthless hotels.
 

neroden

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Me too! And I think the reason so many of us feel this way is that there seems to be a 'credibility issue' with Amtrak.
Exactly. Amtrak produced the Congress-required Performance Improvement Plans, then just decided not to implement them. Amtrak lies in its accounting reports, and then stopped publishing many of them to evade criticism. The LSL was given substandard dining "temporarily" and was supposed to get the new dining cars and restoration of full dining service when they arrived; it hasn't gotten the new dining cars and they removed real food from the trains entirely and now aren't even talking about bringing it back.

Amtrak management lies. A lot. They don't do what they said they were going to do. Serious credibility problem. Mr. Anderson made that a lot worse, though it was going on before. Mr. Flynn has not yet followed through on enough to recover credibility.
 

20th Century Rider

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Exactly. Amtrak produced the Congress-required Performance Improvement Plans, then just decided not to implement them. Amtrak lies in its accounting reports, and then stopped publishing many of them to evade criticism. The LSL was given substandard dining "temporarily" and was supposed to get the new dining cars and restoration of full dining service when they arrived; it hasn't gotten the new dining cars and they removed real food from the trains entirely and now aren't even talking about bringing it back.

Amtrak management lies. A lot. They don't do what they said they were going to do. Serious credibility problem. Mr. Anderson made that a lot worse, though it was going on before. Mr. Flynn has not yet followed through on enough to recover credibility.
Hmmm... when there is no accountability in an organization... nothing happens. Got it!
 

20th Century Rider

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Looks like everyone's fav - The String Bean & Mashed Potato Plate. I am looking forward to being able to order it for all my meals on Amcrap LD routes [/sarcasm]View attachment 22109
The pic you show is the glamorous 'gussied up photo op' promotional presentation. But here's what it really looks like when they actually serve it...


tumblr_9cb321d231aff285589d512298a27624_4c87da23_1280-1.jpg
 

neroden

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So it's gonna be bring-my-own-meals and reheat them in a HotLogic for the forseeable future, until Amtrak starts providing decent food on the LSL. I would accept decent food in the cafe, which they had for a while, but they trashed that in 2018 too.
 

Sidney

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Jul 12, 2020
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The above photo is the essence of fine dining on an Amtrak trip that you could pay anywhere from $200 to $2500 depending on the length of the trip and class of service.
 

TrackWalker

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I don't think that is Mashed Potato. I believe it is Polenta.
It is and it wasn't too bad after the Parmesan cheese I brought with me was added.

As a side note the person in the roomette across from me had ordered the same thing as I did. I offered him some cheese and he said no thanks. After tasting the meal he leaned over and said, "I've reconsidered your offer." LOL
 

me_little_me

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I don't think that is Mashed Potato. I believe it is Polenta.
Here's what it looks to me in the meal:
Dead rat roadkill meat
Opheodrys vernalis - small (green) grass snakes
The orange things are cheap hot dogs
The off-white stuff is beach sand for the snakes to dig in.
I won't even say what the small white things are as I don't want to turn people against those delicious flex meals.
 

zephyr17

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Washington State
Amtrak management lies. A lot. They don't do what they said they were going to do. Serious credibility problem. Mr. Anderson made that a lot worse, though it was going on before. Mr. Flynn has not yet followed through on enough to recover credibility.
Mr. Flynn is much better at PR than Anderson was. Not a high bar, I know.

I also do not at this point have any confidence a smoother presentation is not just a nicer wrapping on the same mindset (NEC uber alles). Gartner's promotion does not bode well.
 

lordsigma

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Exactly. Amtrak produced the Congress-required Performance Improvement Plans, then just decided not to implement them. Amtrak lies in its accounting reports, and then stopped publishing many of them to evade criticism. The LSL was given substandard dining "temporarily" and was supposed to get the new dining cars and restoration of full dining service when they arrived; it hasn't gotten the new dining cars and they removed real food from the trains entirely and now aren't even talking about bringing it back.

Amtrak management lies. A lot. They don't do what they said they were going to do. Serious credibility problem. Mr. Anderson made that a lot worse, though it was going on before. Mr. Flynn has not yet followed through on enough to recover credibility.
The lake shore does have a viewliner II dining car.
 

Dakota 400

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Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,790
Some comments about whether recent generations attach any "meaning" to a proper table seating, i.e. tablecloths, a small vase of flowers ( real or not), etc. cause me to post this thought.

If dining car service is going to return--in any form that was what many of us who are of a senior age remember--and the Sleeping Car pricing is going to remaining higher than they once were--as I think they will--then, the lack of any semblance to what "Dinner in the Diner" once was will be unacceptable to even those of us who are younger than we.
 
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