Depending on the passenger load, and when the train leaves WAS, your dinner may be earlier than 8 pm.
I usually want to be seated ASAP and have been given a 7:45 time in the past. I would check with your SCA if you want a time later than what has been given to you. I have ridden 97 from WAS more times than I can count, but I have never requested a later dinner reservation.Your message is a bit of a surprise to me. Since the train is not supposed to leave until 7:25 P. M. would I be seated in the Diner prior to the train's departure from Washington? I know that the "power" goes off while the locomotives are switched. I'd think that the Dining Car Chef would be unable to prepare a dinner during that time.
If an early dining time is "assigned" to me and I choose to appear in the Dining Car, maybe at 8:45 P. M., will that be a problem for me to be seated?