Amtrak Dining

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rrdude

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Messages
3,701
Location
Baltimore/DC Area
Fresh flowers are very affordable and the tall slender vase take nearly no space at all. They are very much a touch of class. One more thing Amtrak can claim that airlines can’t.
Bought an Amtrak stainless steel vase off ebay or Amazon a few years back, been bringing my own damn flowers for years now. Some staff luv it, a few, "not so much"... Oh well.
 

cocojacoby

OBS Chief
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
514
Dining car flowers are traditional, and even if passable fakes they are a real touch-of-class that make the diner car experience just a bit more unique. How much can it possibly cost to have a vase of flowers on the tables?
 

Cal

Conductor
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
1,816
Location
Socal
Check your reservations anyone traveling the week of the traditional dining return to see what you’re getting. It may take a couple days for it to phase in fully for each train as OBS crews typically originate from one base. It may not be available from the opposite terminal until the first full crew takes their return trip.
Just did a mock reservation for the 23rds EB out of Seattle, shows traditional dining, as does the 23rd departure out of Chicago bound for Seattle.
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,195
Just did a mock reservation for the 23rds EB out of Seattle, shows traditional dining, as does the 23rd departure out of Chicago bound for Seattle.
I just looked at it myself - on the 23rd - 25th it shows Traditional Dining out of CHI on the Zephyr but Flexible out of EMY until the 26th when it starts showing it both ways - guessing 26th is when the 23rd crew turns. Same on the Builder (Traditional out of SEA), Coast Starlight (Traditional out of LAX), Southwest Chief (Traditional out of LAX), and Sunset (Traditional out of LAX) First traditional on the remote end is 26th for all except SL (it doesn't run that day) first traditional for SL out of NOL is June 28.
 

AMTRAK709

Train Attendant
Joined
May 6, 2021
Messages
16
Location
Columbus, GA
I guess I am about to experience my first "taste" with flex dining. Even though I have over 300,000 miles on the trains since the 1960's,
my last Amtrak was in 2018 (long road trip in 2019 and COVID in 2020 kept me away from Amtrak). I'll be on the Crescent tomorrow
in the sleeper ATN-NYP for the sole purpose of seeing the Moynihan Train Hall; and returning on Saturday. Since booking the trip,
I have been reading the discussions (most have been less than positive) about dining; and the sleeper service; and the high cost of sleepers (especially bedrooms which I prefer). For the first time in my 73 years on the rails, I am unclear as to what to expect and apprehensive as to what I may experience. Was hoping to upgrade to a bedroom, but the $1000 bedroom price one way will prevent this. I, however, am a little less apprehensive as the departure gets closer--AS I STILL LOVE BEING ON THE TRAINS.
 

zephyr17

Conductor
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
4,548
Location
Washington State
"Effective June 23, 2021, the Dining Car will offer communal seating, providing a unique opportunity to dine with a fellow rider. "
That's too early from a passenger comfort standpoint. We are just coming out of the pandemic and not everything is dropped yet and a lot of people are still uncomfortable. If it were my decision, I'd wait until late summer to start it. Communal dining should be something reintroduced late, not right off the bat.

The mask policy should be dropped first, then communal dining. This is gonna get weird, folks.

My opinion is from a PR perspective, not a scientific one.
 

Mailliw

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
425
Location
Scranton, PA
This is weird. Amtrak can reinstate communal dining on its own, but ditching the mask mandate requires a fresh executive order from President Biden.
 
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
14
Location
Boston
There are 2,620 passengers on the Queen Mary (19 decks) which I believe is quite low compared to most ships. Anyway my point is that it really makes no difference whether there are 2,620 (there won't be as they are limiting the number of passengers they accept) or whether there are sixty in a dining car. It only takes one Covid+ plus passenger to cough your way, shout germs your way etc. That's why Amtrak needs to continue some social distancing and why allowing coach passengers in the dining-car is not a good idea. Incidentally, Cunard passengers must be Covid tested prior to boarding, not so on Amtrak so your chance of infection on Amtrak is greater - especially in a dining-car.
I don’t buy the logic of comparing Trains to Ships - it’s apples to oranges. First of all get VAXd NOT just tested. Amtrak is using Lysol as a consultant. Amtrak has high volume air handling. First class dining on Cunard was eight seated to a round table at best BUT THE FLIP SIDE after dinner we all squeezed into elevators. APPLES TO ORANGES. I’ll obviously abide to what Amtrak decides on dining rooms - like masks especially and traveling 100% occupancy in coach. But what if everyone in sleeper has their meal delivered... the dining car would be empty. Sooner or later the dining car will I hope be offered to coach passengers.
 
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Ferroequinologist

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
357
I don’t buy the logic comparing Trains to Ships is apples to oranges. First of all get VAXd NOT just tested. Amtrak is using Lysol as a consultant. Amtrak has high volume air handling. First class dining on Cunard was eight to a round table at best BUT THE FLIP SIDE after dinner we all squeezed into an elevator. APPLES TO ORANGES. I’ll abide to Amtrak decides, like masks especially. But what if everyone in sleeper has their meal delivered... the dining car would be empty.
Was your Cunard trip pre pandemic? My understanding is that they are just resuming operations. Their website speaks of social distancing at meals.

Everyone is NOT going to take the vaccine. The US is going to give unused vaccines to foreign countries because there aren't enough US takers. That means that while the pandemic continues there will be Covid+ passengers on Amtrak. Do you advocate operating dining-cars at 100% capacity?

Even if everyone has room service, there will still be food cooked on board. With social distancing, however, the dining-car can operate with reduced passenger loads.

It would be inconsistent for the federal government that has promoted safety and social distancing for over a year to abandon the policy on Amtrak trains.
 

Ferroequinologist

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
357
It will be interesting to see the passenger response. Amtrak will need a clear policy. If not, employees will make up their own rules and I can foresee the sort of aggressive behavior by some passengers that we are seeing on the airlines. Will dining-car personnel squeeze strangers into the same table even if there is plenty of room to spread them out? I've seen this done in the past. Management had better think this out and state their policy clearly in writing. Passengers need to be notified of the policy at the time that they buy tickets and should be advised that they can have room service if they wish.
 
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