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

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,651
I have personally heard from several Silver Meteor crews, from an RPA employee, from an Amtrak management employee in Wilmington, and from a manager in Miami, but I have not seen an official alert from Amtrak. However, I am not actively looking for an official notice. I am convinced this change will occur.
Me too. I am just waiting to learn what the new menu will be. I have heard from several sources that it will not be the same as on the LSL and the Cap at present.
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,138
Me too. I am just waiting to learn what the new menu will be. I have heard from several sources that it will not be the same as on the LSL and the Cap at present.
I, too, am waiting to learn about the menu since I have a food allergy. I will be riding the Silver Meteor the first week in October. I will be prepared - just in case my choices are unsatisfactory.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,651

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
660

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
793
Good to finally see this spelled out to end most of the speculation. The only winner is A-T sleeper passengers. Four entree selections for dinner on most trains, not sure if that is different from the present offering on LSL and CL. Of course the big losers are the 55 employees that will have to exercise their seniority. No mention if the hated box meals will have a better presentation such as on 1st class air. No mention of any change to the Silver Star but the Cardinal does get a Viewliner sleeper-lounge aka diner.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,651
There is no mention of the Silver Star because no changes are planned for the Silver Star.
 

Just-Thinking-51

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
1,942
As stated early if there were going to add a dinner to the Sliver Star then you could make the case for improvement, not just cutting the service levels. Adding the dinner to the Cardinal is very nice, just falls short.
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
864
It is interesting to note that with this document Amtrak is acknowledging that this new food service model is an inferior level of service in that they are keeping chefs on the closer to profitable Auto Train. It pretty much shows which train management considers to have a future in their vision of Amtrak. I suppose the argument can be given that AT carries more actual long distance overnight sleeper passengers than the other trains which have a lot of short distance riders.
This is probably a wash for CONO and Cardinal given they already have a similar food service model - possibly even an improvement for the Cardinal getting the viewliner diner instead of the AmCan.
 

Amtrakfflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
448
So apparently the V2 diners being parked for installation of convection ovens and modifications for new menu items was a lie....:unfortunately RPA fell for it hook, line and sinker and spread untrue rumors....
 

bretton88

Conductor
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
1,068
So apparently the V2 diners being parked for installation of convection ovens and modifications for new menu items was a lie....:unfortunately RPA fell for it hook, line and sinker and spread untrue rumors....
Not necessarily. There are some not meals on the menu still, like the braised beef. So the convection ovens might still be installed allowing Amtrak to turn out more of the hot meals. I'm just disappointed the menu appears to be the same. I thought Amtrak would have been able to experiment more. So for Cardinal and CONO passengers this is an upgrade, for Crescent and SM passengers, this appears to be a downgrade.
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
660
Not necessarily. There are some not meals on the menu still, like the braised beef. So the convection ovens might still be installed allowing Amtrak to turn out more of the hot meals. I'm just disappointed the menu appears to be the same. I thought Amtrak would have been able to experiment more. So for Cardinal and CONO passengers this is an upgrade, for Crescent and SM passengers, this appears to be a downgrade.
My wife and I had some very delicious steak dinners two nights in the row on the Crescent between DC and New Orleans in May. We also had the contemporary dining hot beef entrée on the Lake Shore on our return trip. I would say it is not just appearances. It is a downgrade and a significant one.
 

Steve4031

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
5,653
I absolutely hate the lunch and dinner items on this new menu. I haven’t tried them all. I should probably give the braised beef a chance. But even if I liked it it would not want to eat it for three meals on the Crescent or Cardinal. I can deal with Breakfast.

The one tangible upgrade is having those tables to sit at too look out the window.

I’m hoping that once the election occurs and a new president is elected that there might be changes for the better. But the next two years are not going to be enjoyable on eastern trains.
 

Willbridge

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
323
The Big Sky Chicken dinners sold in the Empire Builder café were made by Boxcars Restaurant in Havre, Montana. I understand that service was discontinued in 2017.

I understand that Boxcars also made the breakfast meals that were served on the Portland section of the Empire Builder. They were also loaded onto the westbound train at Havre. I don't know if they still prepare these.

https://www.havredailynews.com/story/2019/08/01/local/kitchen-cache-chef-anthony-windyboy-co-owner-boxcars-restaurant-and-bar/524810.html
This type of food service was used by the private railroads that were trying to provide a decent service on secondary trains. In 1967 I rode the Northern Pacific RDC into Winnipeg. The conductor took orders for a choice of box lunches and a Grand Forks cafe delivered them to the train. Passengers seemed to enjoy the picnic and a local business benefited. No plastic was involved.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,651
The only way to substantially reverse any of this is to get such reversal directives included in the new Authorization Bill. Remember, all this is the outcome of something that got included in an earlier Authorization Bill. Absent such, all the huffing and puffing and even taking out processions in Washington DC will probably have little effect, unless the legislation can be changed.
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,559
I find it interesting the document implies that BC is being retained on the Cardinal!
 

Thirdrail7

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
4,465
The only way to substantially reverse any of this is to get such reversal directives included in the new Authorization Bill. Remember, all this is the outcome of something that got included in an earlier Authorization Bill. Absent such, all the huffing and puffing and even taking out processions in Washington DC will probably have little effect, unless the legislation can be changed.
I don't believe this will help. Even if they get rid of the language regarding food covering its costs, do you really think the powers that be would return to what they see as a waste of money? If revenues do not fall dramatically (and the Starvation and Crapitol don't seem to support that theory), what incentive would the company have to restore what they see as a high labor, high cost and wasteful practice?

There are delusions of grandeur at stake. They have to balance the operating costs or they won't look good!! :rolleyes:
 

Willbridge

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
323
Everything has a time and place. Secondary train equipment with RDC great choice, Sliver Meteor, or Lake Shore Limited not a great choice.
True. That was only one meal on board. Breakfast was in the full-service diner/lounge on the Mainstreeter. Food was available in the Winnipeg CN station before the night departure of Train 1 (the Montreal section of the Super Continental).

In reviewing the attached document, it appears that class segregation is being offered, along with liquor, as a sop for a service that is less deluxe than the unsegregated service offered now.
 

Attachments

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,651
I don't believe this will help. Even if they get rid of the language regarding food covering its costs, do you really think the powers that be would return to what they see as a waste of money? If revenues do not fall dramatically (and the Starvation and Crapitol don't seem to support that theory), what incentive would the company have to restore what they see as a high labor, high cost and wasteful practice?

There are delusions of grandeur at stake. They have to balance the operating costs or they won't look good!! :rolleyes:
Merely getting rid of the language won't do it. It will require addition of imperative language regarding improving food service. That is unlikely to happen though.

Frankly, what is happening is basically following what happened to the airlines, with a time lag of a decade or two. You are right. As long as there is not significant negative impact on revenues, there will be no reversal of this.

In comparison with the airline industry, what is worse is, there being no real competition in the LD sector, the reversal of trends in upper class service in the airline industry may not repeat itself on passenger rail without much stronger intervention from outside. And in any case, whatever happens will have to happen with a lower baseline labor cost. It is quite unlikely that things will ever go back to the way things were.
 

Winecliff Station

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
112
I guess I'm relieved that I booked the Meteor for 9/30, even though it means spending three nights in FTL before our cruise....otherwise I could probably have gone with the Asian noodle bowl but not for two meals in one trip, especially if as rumor has it it's served cold ☹ Taking the Star on the trip back because the Meteor leaves too early so that's a non-issue.
 

jiml

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
924
The only train where this is a slight improvement is the Cardinal. The proposal can't be worse than the slop they served during our last trip on disposable plates with plastic cutlery. Sad to see even this limited dining was not restored on Silver Star, but of course that would not help the objective of cutting staff.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,651
As Thirdrail mentioned a few posts back, they have no incentive to back off from any of this as long as revenues do not nosedive. Revenues have been holding fine on the Star, apparently. So restoration of anything is a no go.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,260
As Thirdrail mentioned a few posts back, they have no incentive to back off from any of this as long as revenues do not nosedive. Revenues have been holding fine on the Star, apparently. So restoration of anything is a no go.
If revenues nosedive it will be spun as a reason to reduce or remove unwanted long distance service. If revenues remain steady or increase it will be spun as support for boxed meals on long distance trains. There is no possible outcome that will be interpreted as needing better meals.
 
2
Top