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Flexible dining - Requesting a review from a recent rider

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Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,089
I think one clear and direct warning should have been enough. At that point you can tell if they're going to take it seriously or not. As soon as it's obvious they don't care or can't control themselves it's time to go. Not sure why this conductor felt they needed two chances but glad things ended on a positive note.
My experience on the SWC was of a conductor who was not tolerant. A drunk, loud, and abusive guest in the dining car got moved to the SSL until we arrived at the next station. (This happened soon after we had left Los Angeles, so that was not a long period of time.) When the train stopped, the guest became combative when the conductor and the trainman tried to remove him. Another rather burly guest came to their aid and got him down the steps and delivered to the police waiting. Not sure why the police didn't board the train to help the Amtrak staff.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,730
There’s a particular conductor who I’ve had on multiple city of New Orleans trips who seems to enjoy “busting” passengers who try to party on the way down to New Orleans. Some may find it a little over the top, but I’ve persobally found it entertaining to watch him confiscate private stock... visibly pour it down the drain in the upstairs lounge sink and then throw away the bottles.
 

Ferroequinologist

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
148
There’s a particular conductor who I’ve had on multiple city of New Orleans trips who seems to enjoy “busting” passengers who try to party on the way down to New Orleans. Some may find it a little over the top, but I’ve persobally found it entertaining to watch him confiscate private stock... visibly pour it down the drain in the upstairs lounge sink and then throw away the bottles.
These reports are making me feel that my next trip cross country is going to be like three days traveling with rough and tough bums - at a price of nearly $1,500 one way.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,159
Location
South Florida
There’s a particular conductor who I’ve had on multiple city of New Orleans trips who seems to enjoy “busting” passengers who try to party on the way down to New Orleans. Some may find it a little over the top, but I’ve persobally found it entertaining to watch him confiscate private stock... visibly pour it down the drain in the upstairs lounge sink and then throw away the bottles.
Sounds like one particular former D&RGW conductor that came over to Amtrak...His run was Denver to Grand Junction, and I'll bet he averaged almost one 'ejection' per trip....
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,266
True this, it's just that right now jerks feel free to do what they want because certain Political "Leaders" urge them on and set poor examples, along with certain Media.
That behavior long preceded the idiots that encourage it and will long continue. Nothing has really changed. It's just that it is reported more often and in the toxic atmosphere of opposite sides with no middle, both sides use it as a stick to beat on the other side assisted by the plethora of "commentators" who now replace most reporters.
 

joelkfla

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
182
Lo and behold, I was preparing my online shopping list to pick up at a supermarket, and the Ken's 1.5 oz packets in a number of varieties have been added at Shoprite. Never noticed them before.
Now that you mention it, I've seen them in the deli department of supermarkets that have a salad bar.
 

tricia

Conductor
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,111
Location
Spring Creek, NC
That behavior long preceded the idiots that encourage it and will long continue. Nothing has really changed. It's just that it is reported more often and in the toxic atmosphere of opposite sides with no middle, both sides use it as a stick to beat on the other side assisted by the plethora of "commentators" who now replace most reporters.
Actually, I'm pretty sure that loutish behavior is more prevalent right now. Just yesterday, in the supermarket where I shop most often, when I said to someone in the aisle: "You need to be wearing a mask," the response was: "Mind your own business before you get hurt." Bullies have definitely been encouraged lately.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
2,864
Actually, I'm pretty sure that loutish behavior is more prevalent right now. Just yesterday, in the supermarket where I shop most often, when I said to someone in the aisle: "You need to be wearing a mask," the response was: "Mind your own business before you get hurt." Bullies have definitely been encouraged lately.
I agree completely.

Our country has never been known for its politeness. However, rudeness, viciousness, ignorance, and spite have not been considered virtues until recently.

I may be wrong, and there may be exceptions, but I assume most polite and civilized countries have polite leaders? (And yes, they can be tough and firm but polite and courteous at the same time—decency is not weakness.)

I’m assuming the opposite is also true? That a rude, vicious, ignorant, spiteful leader would encourage the people he leads to behave like him?
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,730
A report on train orders said the crews on the Cardinal and Silver Metoer weren’t allowing sleeping car passengers to pick up food or eat in the lounge / diner.

Not sure about accuracy, but interesting to note.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,163
Location
Baltimore. MD
A report on train orders said the crews on the Cardinal and Silver Metoer weren’t allowing sleeping car passengers to pick up food or eat in the lounge / diner.

Not sure about accuracy, but interesting to note.
This could actually be worse than the lousy food. If I were expected to take a 24 hour ride locked up in a small sleeper compartment for the entire time, I would seriously think about another means of transportation. I can't see any reason that picking up a meal and eating it in the diner (socially distanced, of course) is such an order-of-magnitude increased risk that it justifies turning the train into some sort of rolling prison for sleeper passengers. After all, the coach passengers are all out in the open the whole trip, and they're eating, too, when they're hungry. So why can't the sleeper passengers, who pay a lot more, be allowed to do that, too?
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,266
Never been in prison. What's it like, other than food?
Like being at home after shoulder surgery (in a sling) during Covid.

If you try and make a getaway, you might be killed (bullets vs virus)

You can't do things that you want when you want (bars vs sling)

You are in pain a lot of the time (beaten up by roommate vs constant shoulder pain)

You try and sneak some narcotics but risk getting caught (guards vs spouse)

You can't even shower or use the toilet in private (guards watching vs needing spouse to help)

You don't dare complain about the food (bread and water vs spouse telling you to make it yourself).

You'd better be good (tougher prison or LTC place)
 

20th Century Rider

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
706
Location
Oregon Coast
View attachment 17933

Today I decided to try having dinner in the dining car. The new menus are also fully in effect so I decided to try the chicken marsala. "Seared chicken with cavatappi pasta, broccoli and carrots in a Marsala wine sauce"

The sauce in this one was not that salty, it had a lot but flat flavor. The vegetable medley was on par or slightly better than any frozen vegetable equivalent.

The chicken was terrible. Tough, dry and flavorless.

Side salad was great. Only problem: No plate for my dessert. They were out of the blondies.

View attachment 17934
Where's the chicken? I couldn't find it in the picture! How many blondies have you had so far on this trip?
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
337
Location
Brownsburg IN
A report on train orders said the crews on the Cardinal and Silver Metoer weren’t allowing sleeping car passengers to pick up food or eat in the lounge / diner.

Not sure about accuracy, but interesting to note.
As of a week ago, the Cardinal crews were allowing no lounge seating - period. Because there is a pandemic - I’m ok with that.

I had a really good sleeper attendant- a relatively young woman I had not met before and was impressed with. Good service, with a good attitude and work ethic. I tipped appropriately.

The lazy (coach?) attendant who sat in the lounge all day every day (as far as I could tell) - and whose lone job it was to shoo people back to their rooms so he could have the entire car to himself - he impressed me not so much.

But him I was familiar with - he was lazy way before there was a pandemic. He’s one of those they should just retire already.
 

Charles785

Train Attendant
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
86
Do the labor unions that Amtrak has to deal with make it difficult to fire malingerers like the attendant IndyLions described?
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,159
Location
South Florida
Do the labor unions that Amtrak has to deal with make it difficult to fire malingerers like the attendant IndyLions described?
Much more difficult, then without representation...there is a very involved disciplinary process in the labor agreement. There are several steps to take, depending on the seriousness of the charge. Firing an employee for being lazy is one of the more difficult violations to prosecute. There are different punishments, and appeal's processes, and a lot of documentation required...
On the other hand, employees are protected from unfounded discipline as a result of a personal issue between an employee and a supervisor, or account of some type of favoritism.
 

20th Century Rider

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
706
Location
Oregon Coast
Much more difficult, then without representation...there is a very involved disciplinary process in the labor agreement. There are several steps to take, depending on the seriousness of the charge. Firing an employee for being lazy is one of the more difficult violations to prosecute. There are different punishments, and appeal's processes, and a lot of documentation required...
On the other hand, employees are protected from unfounded discipline as a result of a personal issue between an employee and a supervisor, or account of some type of favoritism.
This is very hard to figure out because there are so many variables. Some of the most difficult and poorly serving SLC's seemed to be there without any kind of work ethic... they did nothing but play games on the computers in Roomette # 1. This game player who was working an almost empty car demanded that I get my own meal from the diner. When pressed, he got me the meal and practically threw it at me in my H room down below. I had to make my way up to request the included drink of ginger ale, and some utensils to eat it with. As I passed his room he was fully engrossed in a computer game. Did I mention that this sleeper was practically totally empty.

Oh I did complain. But that apparently fell on deaf ears. Although I had documentation from the dining car attendant who had to re service the dinner request. BTW, after many attempts to get him to put my bed down, I did it myself. You bet I called Amtrak and complained about that overnight on the CSL... being a compassionate tip provider, I learned to just say no... to no service!
 

tgstubbs1

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
130
It sounds like it's possible that lazy attendant was given the job of monitoring the lounge car with a higher priority than customer requests. He might have felt resentful for someone trying to pull him away?
 

dlagrua

Conductor
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,140
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
We got back from a Cardinal trip to Chicago and an Empire Builder trip to Whitefish on Aug 20th. The room attendants and food service service people were accommodating and very helpful. The sightseer lounge was open and almost everyone including ourselves chose to eat in the dining car that was also open. The Contemporary dining food was awful and after eating it for three days, gave me and my wife heartburn. Even the sol called desert was terrible. During our layovers in Chicago we went out for lunch in Greektown going and returning we picked up some fresh cooked food in the food court at Union Station. It was a welcome break to eat fresh cooked food
If Amtrak must give passengers those meals they can certainly do better than what they now have.
 

20th Century Rider

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
706
Location
Oregon Coast
We got back from a Cardinal trip to Chicago and an Empire Builder trip to Whitefish on Aug 20th. The room attendants and food service service people were accommodating and very helpful. The sightseer lounge was open and almost everyone including ourselves chose to eat in the dining car that was also open. The Contemporary dining food was awful and after eating it for three days, gave me and my wife heartburn. Even the sol called desert was terrible. During our layovers in Chicago we went out for lunch in Greektown going and returning we picked up some fresh cooked food in the food court at Union Station. It was a welcome break to eat fresh cooked food
If Amtrak must give passengers those meals they can certainly do better than what they now have.
As so many on this forum have pointed out... there is no excuse for the present sub-par food service... both the technology and facilities presently exist and are available now, during this covid crisis... to make the food more palatable. I will be on the Cardinal and EB routing soon and am rolling the dice with kosher food options... but am not expecting much.

BTW... free cancellation available on reservations made before September 30th... a one month extension. At least this is an area where Amtrak is being sensitive to the customers.
 

Palmetto

Conductor
Joined
May 12, 2014
Messages
2,036
Location
Miami
Oh, I think there's an excuse for the sub-par food, alright. The leadership at Amtrak wants to kill the LD trains, and sub-par food, while providing basic service, is part of the plan to do so. There's no reason that Amtrak could not serve better meals, such as those in Acela first class, except for one: they want to kill the service, pure and simple. Just my $0.02
 

20th Century Rider

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
706
Location
Oregon Coast
Oh, I think there's an excuse for the sub-par food, alright. The leadership at Amtrak wants to kill the LD trains, and sub-par food, while providing basic service, is part of the plan to do so. There's no reason that Amtrak could not serve better meals, such as those in Acela first class, except for one: they want to kill the service, pure and simple. Just my $0.02
And I would agree that those flex meals aren't worth more than $0.02!
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
928
Oh, I think there's an excuse for the sub-par food, alright. The leadership at Amtrak wants to kill the LD trains, and sub-par food, while providing basic service, is part of the plan to do so. There's no reason that Amtrak could not serve better meals, such as those in Acela first class, except for one: they want to kill the service, pure and simple. Just my $0.02
Pre-pandemic Acela first class meals would be a good alternative to what they are doing with flex dining. Sadly even Acela First Class has not escaped downgrades. The Acela FC food has been downgraded to what sounds like a boxed snack due to the pandemic. Hopefully the meals will return eventually.
 
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