Lake Shore Limited Diner Lite Discussion and Review

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cpotisch

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But at least I’m probably getting dinner in the D-L today. [emoji51]

#LateShoreLimited.
 
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PVD

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As a regular LSL user, I agree that a full diner should come back. I also have to admit that on my last trip (back to NY, the other direction was on the CL) I had the D-L for breakfast and lunch, and they did a good job with the service, and the items I ordered were pretty good. I would have had a few extra choices if it was a regular diner, but that may not have mattered, I may have made the same selections.
 

cpotisch

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As a regular LSL user, I agree that a full diner should come back. I also have to admit that on my last trip (back to NY, the other direction was on the CL) I had the D-L for breakfast and lunch, and they did a good job with the service, and the items I ordered were pretty good. I would have had a few extra choices if it was a regular diner, but that may not have mattered, I may have made the same selections.
My RR French Toast was like flan inside. It was so undercooked I nearly gagged. I asked for them to cook it a bit more and they did - so the outside was tough as leather and the inside was right. Ah, how I love microwaves. It was still decent (mainly ‘cause of the powdered sugar), just nowhere near V-II or Heritage quality. And it didn’t help that at lunch, the waiter was being an a**hole. The waiter puts a bottle of water on the table in front of my dad.
Dad: Oh, I didn’t order water (which is correct)

Waiter: NO. You did.

Dad: I actually didn’t.

Waiter: I’m telling you you did.

[walks away shaking his head]

Later on when dad receives his burger:

Dad: Can I have the guac I ordered?

Same waiter: You didn’t order any guacamole.

Dad: I did when you took the drinks

Waiter: You definitely did. Fine, I’ll get it.

[walks away shaking his head]

I feel like my dad would know what HE personally had said better than ANOTHER PERSON. And even if the waiter IS right, basic customer service says you don’t tell the customer what they had ordered, or that they’re wrong.

I gotta say, I’m not exactly smitten with the D-L’s food or service.
 
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PVD

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That is disappointing, and the variability of peoples experiences traveling over the same route is a repeated topic here. I had a crew that clearly made a less than optimum setup decent, and under the same circumstance, your crew did not. Improving "soft skills" might go further than improving equipment. A good crew in a marginal environment made my trip pleasant, your crew in a new diner would still be unacceptable.
 

JohannFarley

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That is disappointing, and the variability of peoples experiences traveling over the same route is a repeated topic here. I had a crew that clearly made a less than optimum setup decent, and under the same circumstance, your crew did not. Improving "soft skills" might go further than improving equipment. A good crew in a marginal environment made my trip pleasant, your crew in a new diner would still be unacceptable.
Yes, its very interesting. My family and I took the LSL last July round trip NYP to CHI, and both times we had Alex as our server. Great guy, hilariously sarcastic and funny, knew how to push buttons just right. And none of us ever having a proper diner experience found all the food was prepared very well, including the french toast, of course.
Sent from my SM-G930V using Amtrak Forum mobile app
 

cpotisch

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For people who haven’t been following the Viewliner II diner progress, here are some notes:

CAF has been reliably producing two Viewliner II diners per month.

14 Viewliner II diners have been delivered. Car 8400 means 15 total. On 2/27, two more V-II diners are due to be delivered. Expect them ready for service a month after that.

In recent years, Amtrak has generally kept a 20% shop margin for its east coast fleet. This means that for every 10 cars in service, there have been two kept as protects.

Between the Meteor, Crescent, and LSL, there are 11 total consists (thus, 11 diners). If Amtrak does only need a 20% shop count, then 13-14 diners should be sufficient.

So it seems that the current equipment count would be sufficient to return the diner to the LSL.
 

crescent-zephyr

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"My RR French Toast was like flan inside. It was so undercooked I nearly gagged. I asked for them to cook it a bit more and they did - so the outside was tough as leather and the inside was right. Ah, how I love microwaves."

The French toast is the same correct? The diner lite doesn't have a grill so they have to reheat the French toast in the convection oven rather than being able to grill them so that would make a difference.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Texas
As a regular LSL user, I agree that a full diner should come back. I also have to admit that on my last trip (back to NY, the other direction was on the CL) I had the D-L for breakfast and lunch, and they did a good job with the service, and the items I ordered were pretty good. I would have had a few extra choices if it was a regular diner, but that may not have mattered, I may have made the same selections.
My RR French Toast was like flan inside. It was so undercooked I nearly gagged. I asked for them to cook it a bit more and they did - so the outside was tough as leather and the inside was right. Ah, how I love microwaves. It was still decent (mainly ‘cause of the powdered sugar), just nowhere near V-II or Heritage quality. And it didn’t help that at lunch, the waiter was being an a**hole. The waiter puts a bottle of water on the table in front of my dad.
Dad: Oh, I didn’t order water (which is correct)

Waiter: NO. You did.

Dad: I actually didn’t.

Waiter: I’m telling you you did.

[walks away shaking his head]

Later on when dad receives his burger:

Dad: Can I have the guac I ordered?

Same waiter: You didn’t order any guacamole.

Dad: I did when you took the drinks

Waiter: You definitely did. Fine, I’ll get it.

[walks away shaking his head]

I feel like my dad would know what HE personally had said better than ANOTHER PERSON. And even if the waiter IS right, basic customer service says you don’t tell the customer what they had ordered, or that they’re wrong.

I gotta say, I’m not exactly smitten with the D-L’s food or service.
Please call Amtrak about this and give them as much information as possible. I'd also suggest asking for a voucher or points, even if it's only a tiny amount. That way the call will have to be recorded as a compensated incident and will hopefully show up in someone's customer service trending report.
 

cpotisch

Conductor
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Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY
As a regular LSL user, I agree that a full diner should come back. I also have to admit that on my last trip (back to NY, the other direction was on the CL) I had the D-L for breakfast and lunch, and they did a good job with the service, and the items I ordered were pretty good. I would have had a few extra choices if it was a regular diner, but that may not have mattered, I may have made the same selections.
My RR French Toast was like flan inside. It was so undercooked I nearly gagged. I asked for them to cook it a bit more and they did - so the outside was tough as leather and the inside was right. Ah, how I love microwaves. It was still decent (mainly ‘cause of the powdered sugar), just nowhere near V-II or Heritage quality. And it didn’t help that at lunch, the waiter was being an a**hole. The waiter puts a bottle of water on the table in front of my dad.
Dad: Oh, I didn’t order water (which is correct)

Waiter: NO. You did.

Dad: I actually didn’t.

Waiter: I’m telling you you did.

[walks away shaking his head]

Later on when dad receives his burger:

Dad: Can I have the guac I ordered?

Same waiter: You didn’t order any guacamole.

Dad: I did when you took the drinks

Waiter: You definitely did. Fine, I’ll get it.

[walks away shaking his head]

I feel like my dad would know what HE personally had said better than ANOTHER PERSON. And even if the waiter IS right, basic customer service says you don’t tell the customer what they had ordered, or that they’re wrong.

I gotta say, I’m not exactly smitten with the D-L’s food or service.
Please call Amtrak about this and give them as much information as possible. I'd also suggest asking for a voucher or points, even if it's only a tiny amount. That way the call will have to be recorded as a compensated incident and will hopefully show up in someone's customer service trending report.
Thanks for the advice. It’s not really worth it for us to call Amtrak and report someone for being obnoxious at one meal. Sometimes you just gotta live your life and move on.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,277
Location
Texas
As a regular LSL user, I agree that a full diner should come back. I also have to admit that on my last trip (back to NY, the other direction was on the CL) I had the D-L for breakfast and lunch, and they did a good job with the service, and the items I ordered were pretty good. I would have had a few extra choices if it was a regular diner, but that may not have mattered, I may have made the same selections.
My RR French Toast was like flan inside. It was so undercooked I nearly gagged. I asked for them to cook it a bit more and they did - so the outside was tough as leather and the inside was right. Ah, how I love microwaves. It was still decent (mainly ‘cause of the powdered sugar), just nowhere near V-II or Heritage quality. And it didn’t help that at lunch, the waiter was being an a**hole. The waiter puts a bottle of water on the table in front of my dad. Dad: Oh, I didn’t order water (which is correct) Waiter: NO. You did. Dad: I actually didn’t. Waiter: I’m telling you you did. [walks away shaking his head] Later on when dad receives his burger: Dad: Can I have the guac I ordered? Same waiter: You didn’t order any guacamole. Dad: I did when you took the drinks Waiter: You definitely did. Fine, I’ll get it. [walks away shaking his head] I feel like my dad would know what HE personally had said better than ANOTHER PERSON. And even if the waiter IS right, basic customer service says you don’t tell the customer what they had ordered, or that they’re wrong. I gotta say, I’m not exactly smitten with the D-L’s food or service.
Please call Amtrak about this and give them as much information as possible. I'd also suggest asking for a voucher or points, even if it's only a tiny amount. That way the call will have to be recorded as a compensated incident and will hopefully show up in someone's customer service trending report.
Thanks for the advice. It’s not really worth it for us to call Amtrak and report someone for being obnoxious at one meal. Sometimes you just gotta live your life and move on.
Imagine this was your very first Amtrak train trip. This server's attitude and the poor quality of the food may put you off ever riding Amtrak again. I used to recommend Amtrak to friends and family until I realized that if you don't have a nostalgic love of trains the service standard becomes the main memory and remains a core consideration for future travel. Now consider how many thousands of first time passengers this employee encounters throughout the year. It may seem like a minor issue at first glance but it was important enough for you to post it here. Over time the repercussions of experiences like this could be substantial. Calling Amtrak isn't going to put this server out of work, but if enough people call and complain then it may be cause for retraining of staff and reconsideration of food sourcing and preparation.
 
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cpotisch

Conductor
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY
As a regular LSL user, I agree that a full diner should come back. I also have to admit that on my last trip (back to NY, the other direction was on the CL) I had the D-L for breakfast and lunch, and they did a good job with the service, and the items I ordered were pretty good. I would have had a few extra choices if it was a regular diner, but that may not have mattered, I may have made the same selections.
My RR French Toast was like flan inside. It was so undercooked I nearly gagged. I asked for them to cook it a bit more and they did - so the outside was tough as leather and the inside was right. Ah, how I love microwaves. It was still decent (mainly ‘cause of the powdered sugar), just nowhere near V-II or Heritage quality. And it didn’t help that at lunch, the waiter was being an a**hole. The waiter puts a bottle of water on the table in front of my dad. Dad: Oh, I didn’t order water (which is correct) Waiter: NO. You did. Dad: I actually didn’t. Waiter: I’m telling you you did. [walks away shaking his head] Later on when dad receives his burger: Dad: Can I have the guac I ordered? Same waiter: You didn’t order any guacamole. Dad: I did when you took the drinks Waiter: You definitely did. Fine, I’ll get it. [walks away shaking his head] I feel like my dad would know what HE personally had said better than ANOTHER PERSON. And even if the waiter IS right, basic customer service says you don’t tell the customer what they had ordered, or that they’re wrong. I gotta say, I’m not exactly smitten with the D-L’s food or service.
Please call Amtrak about this and give them as much information as possible. I'd also suggest asking for a voucher or points, even if it's only a tiny amount. That way the call will have to be recorded as a compensated incident and will hopefully show up in someone's customer service trending report.
Thanks for the advice. It’s not really worth it for us to call Amtrak and report someone for being obnoxious at one meal. Sometimes you just gotta live your life and move on.
Imagine this was your very first Amtrak train trip. This server's attitude and the poor quality of the food may put you off ever riding Amtrak again. I used to recommend Amtrak to friends and family until I realized that if you don't have a nostalgic love of trains the service standard becomes the main memory and remains a core consideration for future travel. Now consider how many thousands of first time passengers this employee encounters throughout the year. It may seem like a minor issue at first glance but it was important enough for you to post it here. Over time the repercussions of employees like this could be substantial. Calling Amtrak isn't going to put this server out of work, but if enough people call and complain then it may be cause for retraining of staff and reconsideration of food sourcing and preparation.
I might, rabbit. I might. (Looney Tunes)
 
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daybeers

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My RR French Toast was like flan inside. It was so undercooked I nearly gagged. I asked for them to cook it a bit more and they did - so the outside was tough as leather and the inside was right. Ah, how I love microwaves. It was still decent (mainly ‘cause of the powdered sugar), just nowhere near V-II or Heritage quality. And it didn’t help that at lunch, the waiter was being an a**hole. The waiter puts a bottle of water on the table in front of my dad. Dad: Oh, I didn’t order water (which is correct) Waiter: NO. You did. Dad: I actually didn’t. Waiter: I’m telling you you did. [walks away shaking his head] Later on when dad receives his burger: Dad: Can I have the guac I ordered? Same waiter: You didn’t order any guacamole. Dad: I did when you took the drinks Waiter: You definitely did. Fine, I’ll get it. [walks away shaking his head] I feel like my dad would know what HE personally had said better than ANOTHER PERSON. And even if the waiter IS right, basic customer service says you don’t tell the customer what they had ordered, or that they’re wrong. I gotta say, I’m not exactly smitten with the D-L’s food or service.
Please call Amtrak about this and give them as much information as possible. I'd also suggest asking for a voucher or points, even if it's only a tiny amount. That way the call will have to be recorded as a compensated incident and will hopefully show up in someone's customer service trending report.
Thanks for the advice. It’s not really worth it for us to call Amtrak and report someone for being obnoxious at one meal. Sometimes you just gotta live your life and move on.
Imagine this was your very first Amtrak train trip. This server's attitude and the poor quality of the food may put you off ever riding Amtrak again. I used to recommend Amtrak to friends and family until I realized that if you don't have a nostalgic love of trains the service standard becomes the main memory and remains a core consideration for future travel. Now consider how many thousands of first time passengers this employee encounters throughout the year. It may seem like a minor issue at first glance but it was important enough for you to post it here. Over time the repercussions of experiences like this could be substantial. Calling Amtrak isn't going to put this server out of work, but if enough people call and complain then it may be cause for retraining of staff and reconsideration of food sourcing and preparation.
Agreed! cpotisch, please do report this to Customer Relations! If nobody reports it, how is Amtrak going to know there's a problem? I know it seems trivial, but it does make a difference!
 

dlagrua

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The big disappointment about food quality on the LSL is that its one of the most expensive routes to Chicago. You pay a lot of money to ride this train. Sleepers are often at high bucket as are coach seats. The high prices, decreased amenities and lack of a diner are an absolute disgrace. .
 

cpotisch

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The big disappointment about food quality on the LSL is that its one of the most expensive routes to Chicago. You pay a lot of money to ride this train. Sleepers are often at high bucket as are coach seats. The high prices, decreased amenities and lack of a diner are an absolute disgrace. .
The Lake Shore has the same price buckets as the Cardinal. Because of limited availability however, the Cardinal sleepers only hit the lowest bucket once every few months. Thus, LSL sleepers are almost always significantly cheaper than that of the Card. The Capitol/NER combo tends be to a bit cheaper than the LSL, but still not by much.
All of that said, this was my first time taking the LSL overnight, and it was definitely my least enjoyable overnight train ride yet. ☹

I’ve taken the Silver Service overnight 11 times, the CZ once, and the TE/Sunset once (this trip through CHI), making the LSL my 14th. The ride felt pretty drab and gloomy - the staff weren’t very nice, the scenery was pretty bleak, and most people were pretty silent and kept to themselves. Compared to this, I would take the Capitol or Cardinal over the LSL any day of the week (or I suppose three days of the week [emoji39]).
 
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crescent-zephyr

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One thing to note... The diner lite is capable of producing very good meals. Many of the best Amtrak dishes from years past such as the Lamb Shank, Pasta with Beechers Cheese, Spare Ribs etc. were all dishes that were just reheated in a convection oven.
 

Dakota 400

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I also believe that Amtrak could be informed when service is not satisfactory.

Without trying to be political, but there are SO many issues in this country that "the Powers that Be" could address, but don't. If more of us Americans would speak up and let our voices be heard, how many of these "issues" might be fixed. Issues with unsatisfactory experiences on Amtrak included.
 

dlagrua

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One thing to note... The diner lite is capable of producing very good meals. Many of the best Amtrak dishes from years past such as the Lamb Shank, Pasta with Beechers Cheese, Spare Ribs etc. were all dishes that were just reheated in a convection oven.
We've dined on Cardinal "Diner-Lite" food 6 times and would agree that the person who prepares the food has a lot to do with whether the food is good, acceptable or bad. One problem is that with the available cafe tables completely full, its all on the shoulders of one person to heat, serve and clean up. With a full diner I feel that the chances of getting a good meal are increased as there is a staff to take on the other chores thereby allowing the chef to prepare and do nothing else. In comparison the diner service on the CL, CZ and SWC has been better and we'd like to see.it on all LD trains.
 

PVD

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True for sure on the Cardinal, but the LSL has not cut back that far. When I traveled, 3 worked the car.....
 

Rail Freak

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The big disappointment about food quality on the LSL is that its one of the most expensive routes to Chicago. You pay a lot of money to ride this train. Sleepers are often at high bucket as are coach seats. The high prices, decreased amenities and lack of a diner are an absolute disgrace. .
I've never ridden this route, why is it so expensive?
 

AmtrakBlue

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The big disappointment about food quality on the LSL is that its one of the most expensive routes to Chicago. You pay a lot of money to ride this train. Sleepers are often at high bucket as are coach seats. The high prices, decreased amenities and lack of a diner are an absolute disgrace. .
I've never ridden this route, why is it so expensive?
Supply & demand. Need to remember the single level cars (LSL and Card) have less seats and rooms than the superliners (Cap Ltd)
 
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