Passenger Load Different Times of the Year

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Everydaymatters

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Now that the summer rush is over, how is the passenger load? Are coach passengers able to eat in the dining car, or is it still available only for sleeper passengers?

How about end of October - were the trains crowded? (Now why would I ask that???)

Has anyone experienced a train running out of food? I've heard from a shirt-tail relative who is a lounger car attendant that his late train has run out of food and emergency food supplies along the route were not adequate.
 

the_traveler

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Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
When I came back from LA in October, the CS and EB were crowded, but not overly so. As far as I could tell, the coach passengers also got meals. The only exception was the Cardinal. We were held up by a derailment and then bustituted. I was in a roomette and got meals, but I'm not sure about coach for dinner or breakfast. I know for sure that they did not get lunch in the diner (portion). And I know they did run out of food altogether! (They even locked the diner/lounge to the coaches!)

When the train was turned (#50 became #51 from Prince, WV to CHI), I don't know what they did for food for #51. There was no food aboard and no place to restock it!
 

daveyb99

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No food for coach? Now, how in the world does the internal accounting for a Diner break even on the $$$ transferred from Sleepers.

Maybe AMTRAK should look towards restocking at the outbound turn as well in some cases.
 

PetalumaLoco

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We rode the CZ MTZ to CHI, CL CHI to WAS starting on Oct 19. Coach CZ was really full until we hit Reno, and the sleepers were fairly full the rest of the trip, losing some in Denver. The CL was pretty full most of the way too. Food wasn't a problem, nor was getting a seat in the diners.
 

the_traveler

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No food for coach? Now, how in the world does the internal accounting for a Diner break even on the $$$ transferred from Sleepers.
Maybe AMTRAK should look towards restocking at the outbound turn as well in some cases.
Normally they would restock at the outbound turn, but due to the derailment, #50 was turned at Prince, WV and not NYP. The "big cities" between Prince and CHI include CHW, CIN and IND. And none of those have a way to restock #51. (Unless they get meals from something like KFC, Subway or McD's.)
 

AlanB

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Betty,

First, I think that overall things have improved even in the summer with regard to the chances of coach passenger getting into the diner for meals. Especially breakfast and lunch. Dinner may still be hard, or at least you'll have to expect to be eating on the late side. But Amtrak I understand has been working to adjust the staffing levels in the dining cars to reflect the passenger loads, both in the sleepers as well as coach. I'm not saying that it's perfect, but they do seem to be trying.

I know for a fact that at least one coach passenger this summer on the Silver Star and Meteor got into the diner for all meals, and at prime time too. Eric (GG-1) was in coach this past July when the OTOL gang went to Florida. Now he did have an in, in that we asked the LSA specifically if it would be ok for him to join us and to reserve him a place. Both LSA's quite nicely agreed to honor our request and we appreciated their kindness.

But I'm also sure that I saw other coach pax in the dining car on that trip, and I know that I saw coach pax in the diner when I went to LA in October.
 

Shotgun7

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The last few trips I've taken on the Silver Meteor, most, if not all coach passengers who wanted to eat dinner got to eat. (And that includes July and August). But by the last seating, there were only a few choices left. Best way to guarantee the meal time you want: sit in the lounge while they're taking reservations.
 

AlanB

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Best way to guarantee the meal time you want: sit in the lounge while they're taking reservations.
Actually I'd be careful with that idea too, at the very least make sure that you pay attention to any announcements. Two summers ago on the CZ, we had an LSA specifically announce that she would not stop in the lounge car to make reservations and that anyone wanting one needed to return to their seats/accomodations.
 

battalion51

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Like any restaurant, Amtrak is forecasting the amount of food it is going to need for a particular trip when it loads the train up at its origin. It takes the information that's on the manifest and compares that to historical data for what they're going to stock it with. Obviously there is some wiggle room put in there for each item, but occasionally you do run out of one or two items. The lounge is more apt to run out of a particular food item because it's much harder to forecast the demand for a single item in there. Most smart LSA's will look at the manifest and add items as they see fit. Again, those are the smart LSA's, these guys realize the more transactions they do, the more tips they're going to get. Some trains do have the ability to pick up extra food en route. For example on the Vermonter if the LSA gets hammered for food out of DC they can order more food to be picked up at NYP.
 
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WhoozOn1st

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Best way to guarantee the meal time you want: sit in the lounge while they're taking reservations.
Actually I'd be careful with that idea too, at the very least make sure that you pay attention to any announcements. Two summers ago on the CZ, we had an LSA specifically announce that she would not stop in the lounge car to make reservations and that anyone wanting one needed to return to their seats/accomodations.
And sometimes diner reservations are taken starting in the last coach and working forward. That happened to me on a Coast Starlight, and when I nabbed the guy taking reservations - he was walking forward without stopping - he said no more reservations were available. Starvation makes me cranky, so in a rare display of anger aboard a train I jumped out of my seat and started berating the guy. I calmed down quickly, we ended up having a decent little talk about the shortcomings of food service (which he was well aware of), and he finally told me to wait in the sightseer to be called in if anything opened up.

So I did, and even before "last call" he came into the sightseer and said "Patrick, come in and eat!"
 

caravanman

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Seems rather uncaring that Amtrak would expect a train load of long distance coach seat passengers to be happy NOT being able to get a decent meal for 2 or 3 days.. and yes, I have been on trains where the food ran out. (bring on the violins.. or are they FIDDLES?)

Ed B)
 

sportbiker

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May 30, 2007
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Los Angeles
Last March on the westbound CZ, by the final day the diner was running low on entrees and desserts, and the sleeper was out of water and juice.

OTOH, by that time the attendants were wising-up and automatically placed two or three iced teas in front of me whenever I sat down. I guess they got tired of my constant requests for refills. Thank goodness they didn't run of of tea!!
 
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