Viewliner II Part 2: Dining Car Production, Delivery, Speculation

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railiner

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When Pullman subcontracted the sleeping cars, did they also do the diners?
I may be wrong, but I don’t recall the Pullman Company operating any full dining cars. AFAIK, the only food service they operated, were some grill-sleeping cars, such as on the UP “Butte Special”, and some parlor cars offering light meal service...
 

MARC Rider

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Probably union contracts, this idea has been around for years, outsourcing the food.
Wait a sec. They already outsource the food. The only thing that's cooked on board are the steaks and a couple of breakfast items.

As far as "union contracts," assuming that's the real problem, all management needs to do is to tell the unions that they either play nice with the outsourcer or Amtrak will end all food service, and nobody will have jobs.

If Amtrak does outsource, they should probably avoid contracting with large foodservice corporations, as these have the same problem with bloated overhead that Amtrak has, and some of their product is not really all that good. In fact, they could set up independent catering companies, perhaps owned and managed by the former Amtrak foodservice workers. These could be companies designed to provide all involved with a living and provide a quality product that would attract passengers rather than companies designed to make investors and top executives rich.
 

PVD

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Not a realistic view of how contracts work. Much of the food service employment is on state supported trains or the NEC. Ending food service completely is not happening. Threatening something you can't do accomplishes nothing.
 

MARC Rider

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Not a realistic view of how contracts work. Much of the food service employment is on state supported trains or the NEC. Ending food service completely is not happening. Threatening something you can't do accomplishes nothing.
Presumably these contracts are not indefinite and come up for renewal, no?
These are business contracts, not the Constitution of the United States.
 

PVD

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Correct, but since the food service is not likely to go away, and the labor contracts are bargained under the provisions of the National Railway Labor Act, the work belonging to certain crafts is not going to change. Negotiation of contracts is not a unilateral process, and as to labor contracts, collective bargaining in good faith is law, although many companies do everything they can to shortchange the process. But under the NRLA there is a very distinct process.
 

Thirdrail7

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lordsigma

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Two of the diners listed as concept prototyping....could this be the start of the future single level food service cars?
 

KnightRail

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Two of the diners listed as concept prototyping....could this be the start of the future single level food service cars?
More like conversions from the current as delivered table service ‘diners’ to self service grab-n-go pay the attendant ‘market’ concepts.
It’s certainly possible that this concept could be used in the amfleet replacement food service cars, and is said to be how the new Acela cafes will be, more like a you-grab then-pay market. Should look a lot better than the current Amfleet cafe design where everything is hidden in a chiller and you can’t see any of the products.
 

lordsigma

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More like conversions from the current as delivered table service ‘diners’ to self service grab-n-go pay the attendant ‘market’ concepts.
It’s certainly possible that this concept could be used in the amfleet replacement food service cars, and is said to be how the new Acela cafes will be, more like a you-grab then-pay market. Should look a lot better than the current Amfleet cafe design where everything is hidden in a chiller and you can’t see any of the products.
It makes sense. Grab and go is a growing trend in food service. Perhaps they are eventually going to morph all the cafe cars into this format. The silver star receiving flex dining on May 1st is probably an opportunity to test this out if that’s the plan. If the goal for the single level LD trains is a single food service car this is probably a smart way to deliver it. This car could prepare grab n go items as well as the flexible dining meals for sleeper passengers and serve the flex dining meals in a “grab n go” setup.
 

jis

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This would suggest then that the Sleeper Lounge on single level LD trains is just a passing phase until we get to single food service delivery car perhaps?
 

cocojacoby

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This would suggest then that the Sleeper Lounge on single level LD trains is just a passing phase until we get to single food service delivery car perhaps?
After all the hype about the new exclusive Sleeper Lounges? Maybe the tables will still be for the sleeper passengers and there is going to be a pickup counter for coach passengers.
 

jis

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After all the hype about the new exclusive Sleeper Lounges? Maybe the tables will still be for the sleeper passengers and there is going to be a pickup counter for coach passengers.
Since that will be impossible to enforce in the absence of any staff other than the LSA I suspect that won't happen.
 

cocojacoby

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Since that will be impossible to enforce in the absence of any staff other than the LSA I suspect that won't happen.
They could simply put a door/gate in to stop steerage passengers from getting to "First Class" part of train.

I think that sounds horrible but it's equivalent to an airliner curtain I guess.
 

jis

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They could simply put a door/gate in to stop steerage passengers from getting to "First Class" part of train.

I think that sounds horrible but it's equivalent to an airliner curtain I guess.
Oh. I see what you are saying. There will just be a counter at the Coach end, and the tables end will be entirely at the Sleeper end with a door preventing access from the Coach end to the Sleeper end. Yes, that is possible.

But that would remove any lounge access of any sort for Coach passengers. A definite downgrade from the current situation. They could still keep an unstaffed Amdinette in the consist for the use of the Coach passengers as a lounge too. That would meet the staff headcount reduction goals while letting the Coach passengers have somewhere other than their seats to mingle in.
 

cocojacoby

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Yeah but I don't think they really care about providing lounge space for coach passengers anymore. They want revenue so adding another coach would be their plan I would think.

My fantasy idea is for Amtrak to get their hands on some Bombardier or Kawasaki bilevels and convert them into a food/lounge car for the entire train. Make the upper deck a full "dome" lounge and put a kitchen in the center of the lower level with table sections at each end . . . one for coach passengers and one for sleeper passengers.

I think that would be a better solution but then what are they going to do with the new VII diners?
 

Palmetto

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They could simply put a door/gate in to stop steerage passengers from getting to "First Class" part of train.

I think that sounds horrible but it's equivalent to an airliner curtain I guess.
You're right. It does sound horrible.
 
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Viewliner Dining Car Springfield was hitching a ride at the end of train 97 yesterday--anyone know what it was up to?

(97 had a dining car in the regular place--Madison, I think--so this was definitely an extra.)
 
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