New dining options (flex dining) effective October 1, 2019

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SanDiegan

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From today’s hotline:

“Rail Passengers Association was disappointed to learn this week that Amtrak plans to extend its Contemporary Dining menu and dining service on to all of the long-distance trains east of the Mississippi.

The move takes effect October 1 -- the beginning of Fiscal 2020 -- as part of a package of changes rolling out on trains in the eastern half of the country. Western trains are not affected by this move.”

Ride them while you can ...
 

PVD

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Does that imply a return of a diner to the SS?
 

iliketrains

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I’d better plan my trip on the Crescent or is it not included in the contemporary dining?
 

Amtrakfflyer

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The bigger issue no one has mentioned is no “meals” for coach passengers on half the network now..

What about Auto Train?

So the whole V2 diner order was a waste as currently configured. If they retrofitted some true lounge seating ala the PPC it would be more palatable, still no help for coach passengers however.

All Anderson knows how to do is cut cut cut.
 
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OBS

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The bigger issue no one has mentioned is no “meals” for coach passengers on half the network now..

What about Auto Train?

So the whole V2 diner order was a waste as currently configured. If they retrofitted some true lounge seating ala the PPC it would be more palatable, still no help for coach passengers however.

All Anderson knows how to do is cut cut cut.
The Coach Diner is coming off the Auto Train in January according to what an Auto Train employee posted on FB.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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Mar 5, 2016
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The bigger issue no one has mentioned is no “meals” for coach passengers on half the network now..

What about Auto Train?

So the whole V2 diner order was a waste as currently configured. If they retrofitted some true lounge seating ala the PPC it would be more palatable, still no help for coach passengers however.

All Anderson knows how to do is cut cut cut.
I wouldn't mind the change if the diner/sleeper lounge was open to coach passengers. Given that there will be high demand for cafe service, I'd like to see it operated similar to an SSL, with the cafe functioning as the lower level of an SSL (dedicated to eating food from the train) and the old dining cars used as observation cars that are open to anyone for all purposes.
 

saxman

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I’m sure glad Amtrak bought all these brand new diners with full kitchens and designed with staff input for serving efficiency. The great thing is they can collect lots of extra revenue from coach passengers that want a real dining experience as well. Oh wait...
 

Amtrakfflyer

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I wonder about the Texas Eagle as well. I live on the Mississippi River in the quad cities, I can’t even do the geography. I took the Eagle in January a lot of it is east of the Mississippi. Looking at Amtrak’s website they don’t even know what category the Eagle falls in. It’s a train on its own...
 

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dogbert617

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Aug 19, 2016
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I heard from an RPA employee today that the Auto Train will not have Contemporary Dining.
So Auto Train is the only exception, east of Chicago? This is super sad news. And ugh, I'm sure if this really is coming to Silver Meteor, that this'll greatly annoy those riders. Why can't Amtrak more fine tune contemporary dining on Cap and Lake Shore, before rolling this out to more trains? Ugh.

I sadly have a fear that it may only be a matter of time (a year?), before we start to see similar dining car cutbacks to western trains. :(
 

bms

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Jan 29, 2018
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I'll certainly miss the experience of meeting people on the trains. Eating in a real dining car is the main thing making the sleeper cars worth the high price.

I have friends who want to try taking the train, but I haven't been recommending it since the diners were cut from the Lake Shore Limited. It's not really a nice experience to ride from CLE-BOS or CLE-NYP without a real meal.
 

Willbridge

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Mar 30, 2019
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Serious question (as I'm not business-savvy): why does food service on the trains seem to be such an easy target for cutbacks?
It has unionized crews with wages and benefits, combined with costs of handling food in a specialized environment over vast distances. Customers, on the other hand, compare its high prices against their hometown cafe with its minimum wage help and daily deliveries to the business by Sysco, beverage firms, etc.

Privately-run railways subsidized food as an attraction, just as some airlines and cruise lines do. Under public ownership there is always a faction that wants a show of austerity, no matter how much it costs in lost revenue.

Some privately-owned railways promoted on-line agriculture. A few of the state-sponsored trains do that. Customers line up eagerly for Ivar's Clam Chowder on the Cascades and enjoy good coffee. On the second-class trains that have no state supervision we coach passengers will be asked to line up for pre-packaged loads of salt, fat and sugar. Complaints will be gladly received as evidence of Federal tight-fistedness.
 

dogbert617

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It has unionized crews with wages and benefits, combined with costs of handling food in a specialized environment over vast distances. Customers, on the other hand, compare its high prices against their hometown cafe with its minimum wage help and daily deliveries to the business by Sysco, beverage firms, etc.

Privately-run railways subsidized food as an attraction, just as some airlines and cruise lines do. Under public ownership there is always a faction that wants a show of austerity, no matter how much it costs in lost revenue.

Some privately-owned railways promoted on-line agriculture. A few of the state-sponsored trains do that. Customers line up eagerly for Ivar's Clam Chowder on the Cascades and enjoy good coffee. On the second-class trains that have no state supervision we coach passengers will be asked to line up for pre-packaged loads of salt, fat and sugar. Complaints will be gladly received as evidence of Federal tight-fistedness.
If that's true about Amtrak Cascades having some special items in its cafe car not served on other Amtrak regional trains, I'd love to see the cafe car menu for that train. Now makes me wonder if i.e. Pacific Surfliner has any special cafe car food items served only on that train, not available on other Amtrak regional(or long distance) trains?

BTW, I can report for Lincoln Service(Chicago-St. Louis) trains at least with a trip a few months back confirming it, that Gooey Butter Cake(a famous Saint Louis dessert) is available to purchase in its cafe car. I have never seen that served in the cafe car, of any other Amtrak Midwest regional cafe cars(i.e. Michigan trains) I've eaten in!

I'll certainly miss the experience of meeting people on the trains. Eating in a real dining car is the main thing making the sleeper cars worth the high price.

I have friends who want to try taking the train, but I haven't been recommending it since the diners were cut from the Lake Shore Limited. It's not really a nice experience to ride from CLE-BOS or CLE-NYP without a real meal.
Yep, I absolutely agree about this always being fun about eating in the dining car! That you end up having interesting conversations more than likely, with others if you choose to go over to the dining car(over having dining car food being delivered to your sleeper room) to eat.

I wonder about the Texas Eagle as well. I live on the Mississippi River in the quad cities, I can’t even do the geography. I took the Eagle in January a lot of it is east of the Mississippi. Looking at Amtrak’s website they don’t even know what category the Eagle falls in. It’s a train on its own...
At least I want to think this announcement on Rail Passengers Association's website doesn't include Texas Eagle, since all of its route south of Saint Louis is west of the Mississippi. Fingers crossed, that it isn't yet losing its diner! I'd sure like to also think CONO isn't about to lose its diner menu either, but would like some confirmation on this.
 
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SP&S

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