Amtrak Dining

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Rambling Robert

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It's Amtrak, so Yes!🤮
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.
My Cunard experience was a while ago but the elevators were very crowded around meal time - which was my point. I know some five minute covid tests aren’t accurate.

I was pleased on the two roundtrips I’ve taken on Amtrak during covid. The DownEaster was 50% AND because the cafe was off limits, had food/wine delivered by wait staff. I as a coach passenger tip 20% but on that trip 40%. I heard sleeper class don’t tip well. On Cunard it was 5% tip of the room cost and separate for wait staff. On an $1100 train fare $5 that some are leaving is too cheap- especially for the pandemic.

CVS sells a $28 Covid19 test. I might buy one even though they’re not that accurate - but might give some assurance when I arrive at my destination. Coach is 100% with mask on unless consuming food or beverages - AGAIN 100%. I don’t think the dining car should be 100% either.

If the dining car is set to 50% limit AND only 25% full - as democratic as Amtrak normal is, the 25% that’s empty should be filled by coach passengers who want to dine in the dining car.
 
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41bridge

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Feb 9, 2016
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I find the elitism on this board sometimes hard to take. Dining pax squawking about non social distancing should have ridden with me on the Capitol #30 last Friday, 6/4, from CHI to ELY. Coach pax here. Every seat was filled in my coach leaving Chicago to South Bend, and nearly full to points east. It was a longer ride than would be needed to eat your dinner in the diner. Coach pax breathe as well as sleeping car pax and we were packed closer than people sitting across a table from one another. Disease doesn’t discriminate based on ticket price. Social distancing went away on Amtrak on 5/23 in coach.
 
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Railspike

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Nov 29, 2020
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Houston
Well in a alternate universe such as Europe, there once upon a time a cook off of dining cars. A yearly event in which several railway companies would send there best cooks and equipment. There you would see a old fashion railroad county fair. People would be able to sample food from different lines and get to watch a weird show of women in distressed wearing victoria costume getting rescued by railroaders on pump buggies. (Pump Buggies unknown correct english name. Two people pump downward one at a time cause the 4 wheel railcar to move forward.)

You know back in the day when railroads saw the quality of food they serve as something to bragged about.

I do believe it was in Poland.
You are correct. There was a day when a train traveler had choices of which train/railroad to take to a specific destination. Many times the choice was made based solely on the quality of food served on a given train.
 

Bostonjetset

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Oct 24, 2020
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My Cunard experience was a while ago but the elevators were very crowded around meal time - which was my point. I know some five minute covid tests aren’t accurate.

I was pleased on the two roundtrips I’ve taken on Amtrak during covid. The DownEaster was 50% AND because the cafe was off limits, had food/wine delivered by wait staff. I as a coach passenger tip 20% but on that trip 40%. I heard sleeper class don’t tip well. On Cunard it was 5% tip of the room cost and separate for wait staff. On an $1100 train fare $5 that some are leaving is too cheap- especially for the pandemic.

CVS sells a $28 Covid19 test. I might buy one even though they’re not that accurate - but might give some assurance when I arrive at my destination. Coach is 100% with mask on unless consuming food or beverages - AGAIN 100%. I don’t think the dining car should be 100% either.

If the dining car is set to 50% limit AND only 25% full - as democratic as Amtrak normal is, the 25% that’s empty should be filled by coach passengers who want to dine in the dining car.
Wow your Cunard trip must have been a very long time ago if you tipped based on percentages. I sailed with them in 2015 and 2017 and they have adopted a set daily service charge like every other passenger ship line. I think it was $11.50 pppd added to your stateroom at the time I sailed.
 

Bostonjetset

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Oct 24, 2020
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Boston suburbs
I find the elitism on this board sometimes hard to take. Dining pax squawking about non social distancing should have ridden with me on the Capitol #30 last Friday, 6/4, from CHI to ELY. Coach pax here. Every seat was filled in my coach leaving Chicago to South Bend, and nearly full to points east. It was a longer ride than would be needed to eat your dinner in the diner. Coach pax breathe as well as sleeping car pax and we were packed closer than people sitting across a table from one another. Disease doesn’t discriminate based on ticket price. Social distancing went away on Amtrak on 5/23 in coach.
I don’t worry so much about social distancing as I’m fully vaxxed. However I don’t think it’s elitist to feel a first class passenger who paid $1000 for an xcountry trip to be treated differently from a coach passenger who could have paid as low as $100 during the latest promo. Amtrak needs to seriously up their first class game. On the Portland section of the EB we had to get breakfast from the cafe car as the diner splits off in Spokane. The attendant said we couldn’t get the breakfast bowl as an included item even though the purchase price was only a dollar more than the breakfast sandwich. That shows how Amtrak feels about their first class passengers.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Wow your Cunard trip must have been a very long time ago if you tipped based on percentages. I sailed with them in 2015 and 2017 and they have adopted a set daily service charge like every other passenger ship line. I think it was $11.50 pppd added to your stateroom at the time I sailed.
He comment about tips was on Amtrak, not Cunard
 

SwedeC

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May 31, 2021
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16
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NE Florida
For the first time in many years, we're going to take a LD Amtrak trip - Empire Builder eastbound SEA-CHI, bedroom, mid-August. What's the food outlook for this trip?
Tx, S
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
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Jan 28, 2012
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The headline about the airlines employees volunteering could be misleading to some. Minimum wage rules require an employee to be paid if they are working on behalf of the company. The airlines are asking salaried (and presumably exempt) employees to volunteer to perform duties at the airport that they would not normally be doing. They are still getting paid their salary. They are just being asked to work in a different area or to work more hours.

Still kind of lousy, but at least the person making $20 per hour is not working for free.
As a former salaried airline employee, I can tell you that putting in more than 40 hours a week was standard and expected. Especially if you weren't high seniority. I used to joke, sort of, that my hourly rate was 10$.
 

tonys96

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What are "orphan trains"? What caused you to select just those three?
Trains without the return of traditional dining in a dining car, Western LD trains without a SSL. Trains that do not have the amenities of other trains that connect with them, that go farther than 750 miles also.
I just meant trains that are not given the same stuff as other very comparable trains.
No offense meant by the term "orphan" . Hell, being an adoptee, I was an orphan for a time.
 

jis

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Trains without the return of traditional dining in a dining car, Western LD trains without a SSL. Trains that do not have the amenities of other trains that connect with them, that go farther than 750 miles also.
I just meant trains that are not given the same stuff as other very comparable trains.
No offense meant by the term "orphan" . Hell, being an adoptee, I was an orphan for a time.
No no. Don't get me wrong. I was not worried about the specific term. I was merely trying to understand what it meant in this context.

So all Eastern LD trains are orphan trains then, including the two Silvers, the Cardinal and the LSL and Capitol Ltd., in addition to the ones you listed in your earlier message. Got it.
 
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Cal

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For the first time in many years, we're going to take a LD Amtrak trip - Empire Builder eastbound SEA-CHI, bedroom, mid-August. What's the food outlook for this trip?
Tx, S
Traditional dining w/ communal seating in the diner and room service.

The menu is at amtrak.com/traditional-dining
 

me_little_me

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I was pleased on the two roundtrips I’ve taken on Amtrak during covid. The DownEaster was 50% AND because the cafe was off limits, had food/wine delivered by wait staff. I as a coach passenger tip 20% but on that trip 40%. I heard sleeper class don’t tip well. On Cunard it was 5% tip of the room cost and separate for wait staff. On an $1100 train fare $5 that some are leaving is too cheap- especially for the pandemic.
If Amtrak staff were paid like cruise ship staff, I'd tip a lot more. But they aren't so I don't.

If Amtrak staff provided service like cruise ship staff, I'd tip a lot more. But they don't so I don't.

If Amtrak staff were as nice and attentive as cruise ship staff, I'd tip a lot more. But they aren't so I don't.
 

Bostonjetset

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If Amtrak staff were paid like cruise ship staff, I'd tip a lot more. But they aren't so I don't.

If Amtrak staff provided service like cruise ship staff, I'd tip a lot more. But they don't so I don't.

If Amtrak staff were as nice and attentive as cruise ship staff, I'd tip a lot more. But they aren't so I don't.
THIS!!

Don’t get me wrong, I DO tip but it’s mostly a small amount like $10 to show appreciation for the porter/attendant/whatever they are now called. Cruise ship workers get tipped much higher as they work for basically peanuts; amounts that wouldn’t even be legal for US based employees. Amtrak workers are quasi-govt union employees with a decent salary, nice pension and RR retirement benefits which are some of the best there are. Not to mention that while pleasant enough I’ve not many any Amtrak employee who went about and beyond to even close to the level as most cruise ship stewards, waiters, and just about anyone.
 

me_little_me

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Not to mention that while pleasant enough I’ve not many any Amtrak employee who went about and beyond to even close to the level as most cruise ship stewards, waiters, and just about anyone.
Don't know if you mean "met any" or met many" but I have met some. Unfortunately, they have been in the minority - too many trips on the Crescent, I guess as they seem to be the worst. Most SCAs are just average, doing what should be done but not going out of their way to help. A few are the champs of Amtrak and I always have sent Amtrak a praise for them and left a bigger tip. Unfortunately, they constitute a distinct few so their efforts really stand out.

Compare that to my cruise experience. Not one SCA (Sleeping cabin attendant) would rate as "average" i.e. doing only what they need to do. All did more than what was asked. So, if I asked for ice once, I got it every day (and appreciated it) even though I really didn't need it that often. They were ALWAYS friendly and smiling and tried to do more for us.

Most cruise dining staff also went out of their way but I'd say about a quarter of those were only average and that included a few who were not flexible enough to meet our needs. That compares with about a third that were average and another third that were below average among Amtrak waitstaff using typical restaurant dining experience as a guide.
 

TEREB

Service Attendant
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Apr 5, 2009
Messages
113
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.
With Flex Meals??? If I was in coach, I’d bring my own food.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Had the Chicken Marsala last night on the Late Shore Limited. It was good and worked for me. Nothing fancy but it hit the spot.

Noticed they added Oatmeal with Apple-spice. Still need to get a plain oatmeal and maybe some hard boiled eggs for those with food issues.

First trip in a long time, was in the 12 room, NS need to work on there switches, very violent wheel action on the south of the lake section.
 

lordsigma

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Had the Chicken Marsala last night on the Late Shore Limited. It was good and worked for me. Nothing fancy but it hit the spot.

Noticed they added Oatmeal with Apple-spice. Still need to get a plain oatmeal and maybe some hard boiled eggs for those with food issues.

First trip in a long time, was in the 12 room, NS need to work on there switches, very violent wheel action on the south of the lake section.
We’re you on 448/48 or 449/49..
 

lordsigma

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I had the creole shrimp and andouille sausage last night on 49/449. Acceptable for a one night trip. The diner LSA was very good and brought everything to your table.
 
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