Amtrak Dining

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Maverickstation

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
303
Location
Boston, MA (Eastie)
Lets get back to the topic please, AMTRAK DINING.

As we wait to see just what Traditional Dining service Amtrak is planning, and on which trains, we don't have to look beyond the United Sates for an example of a well planned, consistent, and sustainable Dining Car service.

Just look north to Alaska, where using outside caterers (final prep, warm, up and plating on board) they provide a well rounded menu.


Ken
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
4,018
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
Lets get back to the topic please, AMTRAK DINING.

As we wait to see just what Traditional Dining service Amtrak is planning, and on which trains, we don't have to look beyond the United Sates for an example of a well planned, consistent, and sustainable Dining Car service.

Just look north to Alaska, where using outside caterers (final prep, warm, up and plating on board) they provide a well rounded menu.


Ken
Based on several reviews I believe that's just the "off-peak" winter menu too. Their peak season choices were more plentiful and varied.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,735
Location
x
I appreciate you posting this about the Wilderness Express. As many times as I have been to Alaska, I was unaware of this option.
Besides the Alaska RR diners, and Wilderness Express diners, the train also carries Princess Cruises (formerly “Midnight Sun Express” cars) with their own diners. And if that isn’t enough choices, Holland America Line operates their own “McKinley Explorer”, as a separate train with its own diners…😎
 

Ferroequinologist

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
374
Great find, and thanks for sharing!

But the business model that would support a waiter deboning fresh trout nightly on a method of transportation that takes three days to get from Chicago to San Francisco has been dead for what, like 60 years now? So forgive me if I am taking your last sentence the wrong way, but are you really blaming Amtrak for that? Or do you think that simply changing Amtrak management would make that return in any sustainable way?

IMO, I do indeed thank Amtrak for keeping some semblance of transcon rail travel alive all this time, given all the challenges.
Two corrections: It was the steward who was deboning the fish. I mistakenly said a waiter. Also it took two days, not three, from Chicago to San Francisco.

I was joking about Amtrak. I don't expect a return to the five star dining seen on the CZ video. Amtrak's clientele is not the same. You will only find that sort of white glove service at the most expensive restaurants - Four Seasons Hotels for example. It's a niche market and Amtrak is not part of it. Even if Amtrak wanted to restore that sort of service most Amtrak riders would not want it. What Amtrak needs to do is simple: significantly upgrade the quality of food being served on its LD trains. I'd suggest improving the cafe car quality and continuing with room service but with much better and healthier food.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,508
Lets get back to the topic please, AMTRAK DINING.

As we wait to see just what Traditional Dining service Amtrak is planning, and on which trains, we don't have to look beyond the United Sates for an example of a well planned, consistent, and sustainable Dining Car service.

Just look north to Alaska, where using outside caterers (final prep, warm, up and plating on board) they provide a well rounded menu.


Ken
The which trains is sounding like Zephyr, Builder, SWC, Sunset, and Coast Starlight.
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,332
Besides the Alaska RR diners, and Wilderness Express diners, the train also carries Princess Cruises (formerly “Midnight Sun Express” cars) with their own diners. And if that isn’t enough choices, Holland America Line operates their own “McKinley Explorer”, as a separate train with its own diners…😎
The Princess Cruises and HAL train operations, I am familiar with those.
 

River in Sight

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
20
NEC Corridor cafe still bare bones at least as of my last trip a little more than a week ago...
Are people allowed to sit at the tables in the cafe car? Taking my first NER ride in a while this Thursday and curious if I will be able to sit in the cafe.
 

tommylicious

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
599
If you're on a train for more than, say, 8 hours, which by definition will be longer than a flight + transfers to a similar destination, awful food and grumpy service should NOT be the norm. Personally, neither I nor my family have taken an Amtrak trip since the food service was deprecated so badly, and we won't until it's back to a better level. Pretty much every Amtrak vlog since the food deprecation has remarked negatively on the food.
 

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
9,215
Location
Ithaca, NY
What would be the ideal Board of Directors member. He would spend 10 hours a day 6 days a week studying every facet of Amtrak operations. From reservations, planning , maintenance, on rail operations, stations etc. . Will there be such a person ? Highly doubtful but this poster if asked would do it for a couple years.
I'll volunteer. I couldn't possibly do worse than Amtrak's current Board of Directors. I am truly disgusted. I mean, if they could get some people with experience at actual functioning railroads, or even NJ Transit, that would probably be better, but I could definitely do better than the current clownshow of ignorance and incompetence.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
3,166
Are people allowed to sit at the tables in the cafe car? Taking my first NER ride in a while this Thursday and curious if I will be able to sit in the cafe.
I was on a NER from ALX to TRE on May 18 and went to get my free coffee (I was in BC), and it was still crew only—no passenger seating in the cafe car, so I would guess the same setup for your trip.

By the way, the crew was sitting on both sides of the cafe car and seemed to have settled in quite nicely to having the whole place to themselves with no pesky passengers😁.
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
708
On The TE last week the crew took up the limited space in the cafe portion of the diner car. I guess if you wanted to linger in the dining car after eating,you could,providing other people weren't eating. Coach passengers could only sit at their seats being there is no SSL car. If you are on it for the full duration that's a long ride with no place to go for diversion.
 

dogbert617

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
840
Location
Chicago, IL
On The TE last week the crew took up the limited space in the cafe portion of the diner car. I guess if you wanted to linger in the dining car after eating,you could,providing other people weren't eating. Coach passengers could only sit at their seats being there is no SSL car. If you are on it for the full duration that's a long ride with no place to go for diversion.
It's really sad Amtrak removed the sightseer lounge car, from both the *Texas Eagle and Capitol Limited trains. Anyone know if City of New Orleans still has a sightseer lounge car? I wish Virtual Railfan would set up at least one camera(maybe in Memphis? but it'd probably work in another location along this route too), somewhere along the CONO route.

*- I am aware if you ride west of San Antonio, that the combined Eagle/Sunset do have access to the sightseer lounge from Sunset Ltd's consist. But I really wish such a lounge car, could regularly be added back to the Eagle's consist again.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,389
Location
Socal
It's really sad Amtrak removed the sightseer lounge car, from both the *Texas Eagle and Capitol Limited trains. Anyone know if City of New Orleans still has a sightseer lounge car? I wish Virtual Railfan would set up at least one camera(maybe in Memphis? but it'd probably work in another location along this route too), somewhere along the CONO route.

*- I am aware if you ride west of San Antonio, that the combined Eagle/Sunset do have access to the sightseer lounge from Sunset Ltd's consist. But I really wish such a lounge car, could regularly be added back to the Eagle's consist again.
CONO never lost the SSL, or if it did, it was brief.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
30,484
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
An Amtrak official stated to RPA the CONO kept its SSL because of CN wheel count requirements.

Customer service had nothing to do with it 🤬
CN requirements are pretty bizarre. Apparently just any seven cars do not allow the train to operate at 79mph in certain areas. It has to be 7 Superliners. If CN did not force the issue, CONO would have landed up with a few more baggage cars probably - or Viewliner Diners perhaps :D Such are the clever ways of Amtrak to undermine itself at every opportunity 🤷‍♂️

Actually there is some logic to this. Superliners being cars with heavier axle load, are slightly better at making electrical connection with the rails through its wheels to tickle the fancy of the finicky CN detectors.
 

jloewen

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
112
I was on a NER from ALX to TRE on May 18 and went to get my free coffee (I was in BC), and it was still crew only—no passenger seating in the cafe car, so I would guess the same setup for your trip.

By the way, the crew was sitting on both sides of the cafe car and seemed to have settled in quite nicely to having the whole place to themselves with no pesky passengers😁.
My biggest single peeve with Amtrak. Fixable at a cost of $0. Increases revenue because, as Starbucks etc. knows, people sitting on premises buy more, compared to empty seats. Doesn't symbolize bad attitude, which in turn causes folks actually to HAVE bad attitudes.
 
Top