Dinner Trains around the US

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I wonder what suggestions you could give for dinner train excursions trains around the country. As part of the PBS "Trains Around North America" they showed a number of what appeared to be excellent dinner trains. I remember the "Conway Scenic Railroad" which showed a really nice dining car with excellent meals. I also read a few negative reviews of their dining car meals. Has anyone taken the Conway Scenic Railroad?

Another interesting one is the Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train, also in New Hampshire:


Out my way, the Napa Valley Wine Train is very good but not inexpensive:


Richard
 
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We've done both of your latter two. The Cafe Lafayette is not the easiest to get to and there's not much in the way of scenery on the route (depending on time of year - it was mostly dark when we did it). A few days prior we had done the excellent dinner train near Mystic, CT, so the actual food here was a bit of a letdown. Their dome diner is very nice however.

The Napa Train is more of a gourmet experience with top-notch food and wine, so you get what you pay for. They have ex-VIA locomotives, which added to my interest. All this is based on a few years ago - not sure what things are like post-pandemic.
 
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I haven't taken the Napa Valley Wine Train in years, but the food and wine are, as you say, top-notch. I think the wine train still has a tavern car which is the last car on the train. It was fun having an adult beverage and watching the scenery go by from the little vestibule just off the tavern car.

Nowadays, the Napa wine train is much more expensive than when I last took the trip. I believe the starting price is something like $160. It goes up from there especially if you opt for for half-day or full-day tours offered by train, which are in the $200-$300 range.
 

BCL

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The only thing that came to mind for me was the Napa Valley Wine Train. But I was also thinking of it the time that some passengers were told to get off, and the reporting was that even as an excursion railway, they had their own railroad police with one fully sworn officer.

 
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I've ridden the Cape Cod railway out of Hyannis many times, especially in their dome cars. They had a very nice small dome for a while, but it went out of service and was replaced by a long dome that is okay but not the same. They do a series of dinner options from sandwiches to formal dining with dress codes. I can't say I've done it myself but they've been doing it a long time so must be good.

Lunch would be great, you ride through all sorts of cranberry bogs, wetlands, beaches and finally the Cape Cod canal and its amazing (if aging) bridges. I'm not sure if you would see much in the evening this time of year.
 
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I've ridden the Cape Cod railway out of Hyannis many times, especially in their dome cars. They had a very nice small dome for a while, but it went out of service and was replaced by a long dome that is okay but not the same. They do a series of dinner options from sandwiches to formal dining with dress codes. I can't say I've done it myself but they've been doing it a long time so must be good.

Lunch would be great, you ride through all sorts of cranberry bogs, wetlands, beaches and finally the Cape Cod canal and its amazing (if aging) bridges. I'm not sure if you would see much in the evening this time of year.
My wife and I were on that dinner train a few years ago and we thought it very nice.

The Canal Lift Bridge is a marvel and I believe it was overhauled a few years ago. It is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers who also maintains the canal itself. The Canal is one of the few waterways where technically the train has precedence over ship traffic sine the railroad was there before the canal was built. In practice since the rail traffic is so infrequent, the bridge is normally left open and only closed when a train is scheduled.
 
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We've done both of your latter two. The Cafe Lafayette is not the easiest to get to and there's not much in the way of scenery on the route (depending on time of year - it was mostly dark when we did it). A few days prior we had done the excellent dinner train near Mystic, CT, so the actual food here was a bit of a letdown. Their dome diner is very nice however.

I may have missed a reference to it earlier in this thread, so please excuse me if I did. But what/where is the dinner train near Mystic, CT?
 
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I may have missed a reference to it earlier in this thread, so please excuse me if I did. But what/where is the dinner train near Mystic, CT?

It was very good, although about 5 years ago.
 
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It was very good, although about 5 years ago.

Thanks—that one I did know about but didn’t realize til I looked it up just now that it’s only half an hour from Mystic. I’ll keep that in mind to maybe do with my Connecticut cousins.
 

Seaboard92

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I mean we're not a dinner train operator by trade but we have a few per year at Sam Shortline. A murder mystery show where a good chunk of the cast belongs to the Carter family of Plains. Generally we run two menus. The menu on board Chairman's Class (the Dearing) is decided by the car owners. But the other cars are always Prime Rib, Chicken, or Pasta. If you are lucky you'll get it on the Wisconsin (LW PS Office Car), or the J P Henderson (LW PS Coach now Private Car). The other car we do dinner in is the Americus but it isn't as nice in my opinion as the others. Next one is Feb 11. And you get me serving on this car.

Sometime in 2023 there will be an additional car on this train whenever I can get my windows replaced, finish the kinks of the HVAC unit, and get my interior in order. But my car is moving down there.

This is not a plug for a company I work for because I make no money on these trips, but I definitely brag about my tourist railroad ran by my good friend Chris.
 
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