How would you feed your train?

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alpha3

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How were they stuck? Did the runways close? Were all other aircraft in use? Did all the pilots strike?
If your question is serious, the issue was the UAL plane landed Goose Bay with a medical emergency, then went tech. UA had to send out a rescue plane......later...
 
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If your question is serious, the issue was the UAL plane landed Goose Bay with a medical emergency, then went tech. UA had to send out a rescue plane......later...
I have no problem with the flight terminating in Goose Bay for medical or technical problems. The issue is what happened afterward. One of the largest airlines in the world should be capable of ferrying a replacement aircraft to either continue the trip or bring passengers back in a much more timely fashion. United has more than one Goose Bay fiasco (see below) but if you love Amtrak's service standards then United seems to be cut from the same cloth.

 

pennyk

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MODERATOR NOTE: Please note that this thread is specific to the circumstances and location provided by the OP in the first post (Gallop NM). Please keep your responses related to the questions proposed by the OP. Discussion of general food issues on delayed trains is discussed in another thread.

A few posts have been moved to the general food issues thread. Thank you for your cooperation.

 

BCL

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Feeding this many people is likely to exceed what a typical fast food restaurant can handle without some advance warning. Fried chicken, chain pizza, and Chinese restaurants can fill orders quickly once they get going but I would still expect a delay unless the order was spread across multiple vendors.
I think most would be surprised what a typical fast food restaurant could do with enough prep time. Mostly what they have is frozen so it's relatively easy to take out of the freezer. It might be more interesting if it's a place that doesn't freeze its meat. There was what used to be the world's biggest McDoonald's on I-15 on the way to Las Vegas. They would have entire tour buses stopping there to/from LA and they did a massive volume. Not sure why they closed down. Once I was a with a group (long story) that included over 100 people including kids, adult chaperones, and leaders. We ended up stopping at a McDonald's (and not a particularly big one) without any prior notice and while it took a while they were able to handle us in less than a half hour.

But for a place like Gallup, it might be possible for several places to be called up.
 

BCL

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I'd think maybe they would take requests from passengers and someone makes a command decisions.

And how would it work? Could they charge anyone for it if it's not something on the menu with a listed price? Of course the sleeper passengers wouldn't get charged for it, but would the coach passengers get charged something or would they get it for free in lieu of the normal food being unavailable?
 

Cal

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I'd think maybe they would take requests from passengers and someone makes a command decisions.

And how would it work? Could they charge anyone for it if it's not something on the menu with a listed price? Of course the sleeper passengers wouldn't get charged for it, but would the coach passengers get charged something or would they get it for free in lieu of the normal food being unavailable?
Taking requests would probably make it more hectic, the crew would want and need to go with the easiest, quickest, cost effective, and most efficient method. And from what I’ve read all passengers get it for free due to the lateness
 

ehbowen

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How were they stuck? Did the runways close? Were all other aircraft in use? Did all the pilots strike?


It's the same "let them eat shelf stable cake" attitude. MRE's normally come with wages, pensions, and stipends.
One big problem with MREs for emergency on-train use: They're mostly packaging. I mean, like about 75% packaging and sundries and 25% usable food. This is a handicap even in the field, but you can plan around it since you're consuming a predictable and consistent quantity every day and you need fresh utensils and condiments being without a pantry or scullery. But on a train you may never touch your stock for six months, but when you do you need case quantities of food right then. And you have pre-existing stocks of tableware, condiments, and dishes with the capability to wash and re-use them if it becomes necessary. Number 10 cans of Dinty Moore and packages of Minute Rice are perhaps 90% food, 10% packaging. That makes a huge difference.
 

me_little_me

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I'd feed my train by giving plenty of diesel fuel for the engine, lots of water for the cooling system, and plenty of oil and lubricating products to keep it in good condition. I'd also be sure it has regular visits to the train doctor.
 

MARC Rider

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One big problem with MREs for emergency on-train use: They're mostly packaging. I mean, like about 75% packaging and sundries and 25% usable food. This is a handicap even in the field, but you can plan around it since you're consuming a predictable and consistent quantity every day and you need fresh utensils and condiments being without a pantry or scullery. But on a train you may never touch your stock for six months, but when you do you need case quantities of food right then. And you have pre-existing stocks of tableware, condiments, and dishes with the capability to wash and re-use them if it becomes necessary. Number 10 cans of Dinty Moore and packages of Minute Rice are perhaps 90% food, 10% packaging. That makes a huge difference.
This is a good point, but Amtrak could specify MREs with different contents and packaging than the ones the military uses. These could have less packaging and sundries and include plastic utensils. As for storage, most baggage cars I've looked into are more or less empty. Cases of MREs could be stored there, ready for distribution in an emergency.
 

ehbowen

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This is a good point, but Amtrak could specify MREs with different contents and packaging than the ones the military uses. These could have less packaging and sundries and include plastic utensils. As for storage, most baggage cars I've looked into are more or less empty. Cases of MREs could be stored there, ready for distribution in an emergency.
The U.S. military, with God's own quantity discount, currently pays $89.86 per case of 12 MREs according to the best information I can find, or about $7.25 per meal. A 38 oz. can of Dinty costs $4.18 and a 14 oz. box of Minute Rice costs $1.94 with NO quantity discount (shelf price at Wal-Mart). That's .92 per serving for the stew and .28 per serving for the rice. Let's do a little role-playing. You're a 15 year purchasing agent who wants to make it to 20, and I'm your bean-counter supervisor. Now, tell me again how you justify the MREs?

Even if you presume that you could custom-configure the MRE menu to squeeze 18 in a case and still keep the price stable (you couldn't), it still doesn't fly...er, roll!
 

MARC Rider

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The U.S. military, with God's own quantity discount, currently pays $89.86 per case of 12 MREs according to the best information I can find, or about $7.25 per meal. A 38 oz. can of Dinty costs $4.18 and a 14 oz. box of Minute Rice costs $1.94 with NO quantity discount (shelf price at Wal-Mart). That's .92 per serving for the stew and .28 per serving for the rice. Let's do a little role-playing. You're a 15 year purchasing agent who wants to make it to 20, and I'm your bean-counter supervisor. Now, tell me again how you justify the MREs?

Even if you presume that you could custom-configure the MRE menu to squeeze 18 in a case and still keep the price stable (you couldn't), it still doesn't fly...er, roll!
OK, you have a point, but neither the purchasing agent nor the bean-counter supervisor is considering the cost of the labor to heat up and dish out the stew and clean up afterwards. On the other hand, because it's not on their account, they might not care. The advantage of MREs is that they can just be passed out with no further involvement by crew, who might be busy dealing with other aspects of the delay situation. There is an advantage over KFC and the like because the cases would be on board, stored in the baggage car, and would not require someone spending time arranging with the local KFC or whatever to order and deliver. This might be especially useful if the train is snowbound, stuck in the Donner Pass.
 

ehbowen

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OK, you have a point, but neither the purchasing agent nor the bean-counter supervisor is considering the cost of the labor to heat up and dish out the stew and clean up afterwards. On the other hand, because it's not on their account, they might not care. The advantage of MREs is that they can just be passed out with no further involvement by crew, who might be busy dealing with other aspects of the delay situation. There is an advantage over KFC and the like because the cases would be on board, stored in the baggage car, and would not require someone spending time arranging with the local KFC or whatever to order and deliver. This might be especially useful if the train is snowbound, stuck in the Donner Pass.
The labor is already a sunk cost as long as an LSA, SA, and chef are on board. If the conductor needs their help in an emergency, well, first things first.

Remember the premise of the OP. About 350 hungry passengers, no relief in sight, and normal emergency stocks (whether Dinty or MREs) are exhausted. Ok, so you propose that additional emergency stocks be carried in the baggage car. Given the points above of cost and ratio of actual food to packaging, does it make better sense to carry a few cases of seldom-used MREs (which, although shelf stable, do keep best in a temperature controlled environment) or the equivalent volume of additional Dinty and rice?

Look, when a train gets into this situation, no passenger is going to say, "Wow! I got an MRE!" (Waitaminit, there are some AU types who consider eating the Dinty Moore a badge of honor!) Realistically, though, the best any crew is going to do in that situation is shift some passengers' attitudes from, "Never again!" to, "I guess they really are trying to make the best of a bad situation." And to that end I'd suggest a high-limit credit card for the LSA and a database of every restaurant, grocery store, and take-out place along his route.

Editing To Add: Keep in mind that if you want to serve just one MRE meal to 350 hungry passengers, plus crew...you're looking at 30 cases of MREs. Think you can make them share? Better you than me!
 
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Just-Thinking-51

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Can you imagine getting fed that way?! 😃
It was a art form. The way the cup handle was turned would indicate what beverage to pour. The staff available to support this scale of operations. The logistics involved to bring fresh food to all these restaurants.

The waitress were single women only, then help civilized the community by getting married.
 

west point

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IMO spare meals need to be carried in the baggage cars where winter-time shutdowns are possible. Those locations that have the potential of stalling in snow with no ability for rescue need these spare rations. Examples are:
1. E Builder west of Minneapolis
2. Cal Z west of Denver
3. LSL Albany - Toledo when heavy lake effect snow predicted
 

TinCan782

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IMO spare meals need to be carried in the baggage cars where winter-time shutdowns are possible. Those locations that have the potential of stalling in snow with no ability for rescue need these spare rations. Examples are:
1. E Builder west of Minneapolis
2. Cal Z west of Denver
3. LSL Albany - Toledo when heavy lake effect snow predicted
I'll add the Coast Starlight between K Falls and Eugene ... February 2019 the CS was "stuck" for 36 hours near Oakridge, OR. Although they had heat and food, it could have been worse.
 

Qapla

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I would think that, if the delay is serious, available potable water could become more of a concern that food - and there is no such thing as dehydrated water that can be carried in the baggage car in powder form :eek:
 

BCL

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I would think that, if the delay is serious, available potable water could become more of a concern that food - and there is no such thing as dehydrated water that can be carried in the baggage car in powder form :eek:
Non-potable water too. Wasn't there a train that was delayed so long that passengers were told to not flush the toilets?

But for the most part I think that water trucks can be sent as long as they're close enough to a convenient place to load.
 

jis

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Moderator's Note: Looks like this thread has run its course about feeding the train near Gallup NM, and now is trying to feed trains in every possible desert and snowstorm. So let us take a breather. Locked.

If you wish to join the continuing discussion on food on delayed trains you can find it in the thread at: Food suggestions on delayed trains
 
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