Dining On the Empire Builder

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Memphisdoug

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 17, 2010
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18
I will be taking the westbound Empire Builder soon leaving from Chicago. Do they serve any lunch when leaving Chicago or should we plan to find something prior to boarding? We are in a bedroom.
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
660
I will be taking the westbound Empire Builder soon leaving from Chicago. Do they serve any lunch when leaving Chicago or should we plan to find something prior to boarding? We are in a bedroom.
No lunch. Dinner is the first meal
 

niemi24s

Engineer
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Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,773
Same sort of subject, but how about dinner on the CONO heading South out of CHI at 8:05pm?

Sounds possible based on what's said at the bottom of this...Amtrak Flexible Dining...
Dinner: Available: 5:00 - 9:30 pm; board by 8:30 pm
but even if you board the train at about 7:45pm could this be one of those crew discretion thingies?
 

AmtrakMaineiac

Streetcar Motorman
AU Supporter
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Sep 2, 2021
Messages
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Location
Lubec, ME
Same sort of subject, but how about dinner on the CONO heading South out of CHI at 8:05pm?

Sounds possible based on what's said at the bottom of this...Amtrak Flexible Dining...but even if you board the train at about 7:45pm could this be one of those crew discretion thingies?
I wouldn't count on it. Given that it is flex dining anyway 🤮I would avail myself of one of the many fine restaurants in downtown Chicago before boarding.
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
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May 6, 2011
Messages
13,189
Location
Delaware
Same sort of subject, but how about dinner on the CONO heading South out of CHI at 8:05pm?

Sounds possible based on what's said at the bottom of this...Amtrak Flexible Dining...but even if you board the train at about 7:45pm could this be one of those crew discretion thingies?
The "board by" refers to meals that started at their regularly scheduled time (eg dinner started at 5 pm)
 

SubwayNut

Conductor
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
1,504
The last time I road the CONO (and only the time the full legth leaving Chicago), they served a 'light dinner' of Sandwiches and dessert leaving Chicago, that was at the end of 2016, no idea whats going on today.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
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23,673
Location
Austin Texas
The last time I road the CONO (and only the time the full legth leaving Chicago), they served a 'light dinner' of Sandwiches and dessert leaving Chicago, that was at the end of 2016, no idea whats going on today.
It's Heat and Eat Flex Meals in the CCC, this Train hasn't had Traditional Dining in Years!
 
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lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
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Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,440
From what’s been said around here CONO had been a bust for food for a long time and that even flex dining may have been an improvement over what it had before.
 

niemi24s

Engineer
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,773
While this sounds highly reasonable...
The "board by" refers to meals that started at their regularly scheduled time (eg dinner started at 5 pm)
...there's also this...
Dinner was offered when I took CONO in Sept.
...which makes it a toss-up.
 

JP1822

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 8, 2019
Messages
55
I'm almost a bit surprised Amtrak hasn't tried to make the CONO into a train that departs Chicago at 6 am, and arrives into New Orleans at 12 midnight - thus making it a coach/cafe train over a "costly" overnight train with sleepers and some sort of special sleeper car passenger food service. The CONO once had this type of schedule. Not saying that this is the best plan or schedule, just saying.
 

AmtrakMaineiac

Streetcar Motorman
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Sep 2, 2021
Messages
161
Location
Lubec, ME
I'm almost a bit surprised Amtrak hasn't tried to make the CONO into a train that departs Chicago at 6 am, and arrives into New Orleans at 12 midnight - thus making it a coach/cafe train over a "costly" overnight train with sleepers and some sort of special sleeper car passenger food service. The CONO once had this type of schedule. Not saying that this is the best plan or schedule, just saying.
Problem with making it a day train is you lose the possibility of connections instead requiring an overnight stay on Chicago. The current evening departure allows for these connections.
 

CCC1007

Conductor
Joined
Jan 2, 2015
Messages
1,765
Problem with making it a day train is you lose the possibility of connections instead requiring an overnight stay on Chicago. The current evening departure allows for these connections.
This is assuming the current schedule with a pair of "Banks," one in each direction, for Long Distance trains...

In the future I want to see, there would be more than 2 "Banks" of trains at Chicago on the LD network.
 
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