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

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lordsigma

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How will they reconcile the fact that the cafe car on most LD trains are very busy with Coach passengers nearly the entire time that they are open? Will that same attendant be preparing meals for sleepers? Not saying that you are wrong, just trying to figure out how that will work...
It’s a legitimate point and I agree it does sound like there could be some problems and I don’t have the answers, but the concept does seem to hint that this is the plan as does Amtrak’s recent five year plan. Perhaps they will operate the car with both LSAs working together.
 
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I would like to see Amtrak try something like the Chuck Wagon on the pre-Amtrak Denver Zephyr. It had a three-man crew (one chef and two waiters). They had three dinner selections (and a la carte selections) that were quick and easy to prepare
 

railpost

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That's a very good point that you just made. It wasn't only the Denver Zephyr that had run with economy /grill cars either. Many long distance trains especially the ones that went from Chicago to the West Coast ran with a supplementary grill dining/lounge car. The Denver Zephyr ran with a Chuck Wagon Car, the California Zephyr ran with a Domed Buffet Lounge Car that had the "Cable Car Room", the Union Pacific trains had run with Cafe/Lounge Cars on the City of Portland and Denver and they also ran on the City of Los Angeles when it ran combined with the Challenger and the City of Sanfrancisco during the off season during the 1960's. Even the New York Central ran with Grill Diners for people who preferred more limited menus.
 

crescent-zephyr

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I would like to see Amtrak try something like the Chuck Wagon on the pre-Amtrak Denver Zephyr. It had a three-man crew (one chef and two waiters). They had three dinner selections (and a la carte selections) that were quick and easy to prepare
The Capitol limited, for a while anyways, had 1 chef and 2 waiters and shared the lsa with the cafe.

I’ve said many times they could have kept the chef and 1 lsa and kept the menu but dropped the table service and we would be in a much better place.
 

crescent-zephyr

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How will they reconcile the fact that the cafe car on most LD trains are very busy with Coach passengers nearly the entire time that they are open? Will that same attendant be preparing meals for sleepers? Not saying that you are wrong, just trying to figure out how that will work...
They could have an lsa and a server and save a little $$$.
 

Steve4031

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That looks like bow I would be feeling if the line extended into the next car . . .
 

John Bobinyec

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Amtrak still has posted that the Silver Star will get flexible dining service starting May 1. Is that still on? Yesterday, 92(5) had 4 passengers on the train at Cary, NC. Today, 92(6) had 7. I can't see adding a diner to the train when a cafe car will do, for so few passengers.

jb
 

Thirdrail7

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Amtrak still has posted that the Silver Star will get flexible dining service starting May 1. Is that still on? Yesterday, 92(5) had 4 passengers on the train at Cary, NC. Today, 92(6) had 7. I can't see adding a diner to the train when a cafe car will do, for so few passengers.

jb
It is probably still on since there haven't been plans to add a diner to the Star for some time. From the Silver Star Diner thread:




In early October, I was on the Silver Meteor and several managers were on board. One of the managers worked the Silver Star. At that time, he stated that flex dining would be coming to the Silver Star, but a Viewliner Diner/Sleeper Lounge would not. He stated that the cafe car would be a single food service car with one half for coach passengers and one half for sleeper passengers. Since I heard this in early October, things may have changed.
This still stands true. The cafe car will still continue in the consist so the only real change will be the food. It will resemble the Cardinal.

FWIW, they also removed the dining cars from the Crescent. Everything is handled from the cafe car. I see no reason why the Star wouldn't follow the same premise.
 

IndyLions

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FWIW, they also removed the dining cars from the Crescent. Everything is handled from the cafe car. I see no reason why the Star wouldn't follow the same premise.
So did they pull the diners from the Crescent so that they could add the convection ovens we’ve been hearing about? Or are there additional needs for million dollar axle count cars still?
 

Rasputin

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So did they pull the diners from the Crescent so that they could add the convection ovens we’ve been hearing about?
I could be convinced that Amtrak management has been working overtime during this virus crisis to make long distance trains worth traveling again once the crisis has passed. However I don't think I have smoked enough of it yet.
 

me_little_me

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It is probably still on since there haven't been plans to add a diner to the Star for some time. From the Silver Star Diner thread:

This still stands true. The cafe car will still continue in the consist so the only real change will be the food. It will resemble the Cardinal.
The Crescent food tasted like a Cardinal. Lots of feathers and not very nutritious or tasty food.
 

Thirdrail7

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So did they pull the diners from the Crescent so that they could add the convection ovens we’ve been hearing about? Or are there additional needs for million dollar axle count cars still?
I believe all the convection ovens have been added. Maybe they pulled them to see if they could get you to increase your post count.

So far, so good.
 

lordsigma

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There's probably no real point in running two food service cars right now with so few passengers, not surprised to hear this and I am surprised they haven't done it on additional trains.
 

lordsigma

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Traditional dining service will be suspended on all trains except the sleeper diner on auto train. One LSA will serve the flexible dining menu in those trains from the dining car during this period. It appears traditional dining will resume June 1st when Amtrak is currently slated to return to a full schedule.
 

me_little_me

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Traditional dining service will be suspended on all trains except the sleeper diner on auto train. One LSA will serve the flexible dining menu in those trains from the dining car during this period. It appears traditional dining will resume June 1st when Amtrak is currently slated to return to a full schedule.
I saw the Easter bunny, too!
 

Thirdrail7

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One LSA will serve the flexible dining menu in those trains from the dining car during this period
You mean mostly from the cafe car. The remaining eastern trains (except the LSL) will remove their dining cars.

I saw the Easter bunny, too!
It isn't a firm date and the reality of the situation is ridership will likely dictate when (and if) a two-car operation returns.
 

lordsigma

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You mean mostly from the cafe car. The remaining eastern trains (except the LSL) will remove their dining cars.



It isn't a firm date and the reality of the situation is ridership will likely dictate when (and if) a two-car operation returns.
Are they not keeping the dining cars on the western trains? I thought I saw on the thing I read that it was staying in the consist on the western trains and that they were making consist changes in the east. Sorry for being unclear - my comment about serving flex meals in the dining car was intended to refer to the western trains. We shall see if the June 1st date holds up. I would imagine that even though that seems to be the official present "return to normal" day (not just in this but in the return to normal train frequencies) a lot will depend on what the governments do and after that when people start to feel comfortable riding the train and other forms of transport like airplanes and buses. And I would imagine even when lock down restrictions are relaxed for many, some folks in the higher risk categories may still be subject to stay at home recommendations. While I hope for the sake of the affected employees (and for my eventual plans to take a cross country trip) that the traditional dining service is reinstated in the west, I would not be shocked to see them permanently pull the VL2 diners in the east and store them until it is decided in the long term on whatever new "concept" they want to do for their desired single car scenario unless ridership recovered back to a point where the cafe couldn't cut it. If they go into storage we probably wouldn't see them until eventually (who knows how long) they come out of storage presumably modified in a new configuration to replace the AmCafes.
 

lordsigma

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RPA had a pretty substantial piece about the present situation today. The VP of the long distance line stressed to RPA this is a temporary move and that the affected employees are on the extra board like other employees affected by the Covid situation and not furloughed and are receiving pay.
 

west point

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If the Amtrak employees arte not furloughed maybe when distancing is no longer requires then...……... Then have them as extra crew to provide extra services for the persons willing to travel first on Amtrak.
 
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Hopefully someone can answer a quick alcohol related question related to Flexible Dining (especially as I will be experiencing it for the first time tomorrow when I leave Los Angeles on the Texas Eagle to Chicago)?

I'm assuming that when Amtrak says that the first one is on us they mean the first one per meal, and not simply the first one of the trip? Ever the optimist here...

Thanks!
 

pennyk

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Hopefully someone can answer a quick alcohol related question related to Flexible Dining (especially as I will be experiencing it for the first time tomorrow when I leave Los Angeles on the Texas Eagle to Chicago)?

I'm assuming that when Amtrak says that the first one is on us they mean the first one per meal, and not simply the first one of the trip? Ever the optimist here...

Thanks!
First one per trip, regardless of the number of meals.
 
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