What Amtrak can learn from the Russians

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Seaboard92

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I'm sure this will offend a few people around here who like to think that America is at the top of the world but when it comes to the passenger train the Russians are running leaps and bounds around us.

Here is a great example.

I just booked a trip across the entire country on three trains (Moscow-Novosibirsk, Novosibirsk-Irkutsk, Irkutsk-Vladivostok) and it is amazing what passenger friendly options that they offer that I know we've all been desiring for years.

Some of the services that they are offering.

~Delivery of Food and Drinks to the Train
~Prepaid Dining Car Meals

So here is the add on screen on the booking engine.

Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 4.00.02 PM.png

Once you reach this screen you have 12 minutes to select what you would like and pay for the ticket with these services. Once you click on food for delivery it gives you this screen with the list of stations that it is available at. I'm taking a different train from Irkutsk to Vladivostok and I've seen Khabarovsk included there so I take it that it depends on the time the train reaches a station that has it.

Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 4.00.23 PM.png
Next is the option of restaurants that are available to you. The bad thing for foreign tourists this is where you loose the English translations. But considering some 95 percent of their passengers are Russians it's still a very usable service. The small print is what type of food they have available. Note the delivery charge for First Class is Zero. Now in Second and Third Class there is one but it is no more than a couple hundred rubbles.

Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 4.02.53 PM.png

Now here are two photos of what the food order screen looks like. Again no English Translations but for people like me who speak the language it's useful. And for foreigners you have 12 minutes to look and use google translate.


Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 4.02.34 PM.pngScreen Shot 2021-09-16 at 4.03.47 PM.png


We all know that Amtrak has several longer stops where this type of service wouldn't just do well but would likely thrive as uber eats and other delivery apps are well entrenched. RZD does have a note that does say that food might be cold or could miss the train due to the trains on time status. Now that being said RZD generally runs on time on the longest railroad in the world in some of the harshest climates. Something else Amtrak can't manage.

And as you can imagine I have bought into this a few times just because it was offered and I want to see how it works. They give the delivery man your car number and you meet him at the vestibule.

Pre Order Dining Car Menu

Screen Shot 2021-09-16 at 4.05.30 PM.png
You can preorder your dining car meals. Which for Amtrak would work with cutting down on shrink and making sure the car is fully staffed. Unfortunately the Russians don't really give you a choice on the menu. Here is the menu. They used all caps and I just copy and pasted this over.

Standard

DIET 1 (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): CHEESE CUTTING WITH NUTS AND HONEY, DRUZHBA Porridge WITH COURAGES, CREAM BUTTER, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY 2 DIET (TUE, THU., SAT.): CUTTING CUTTING , OMELETTE WITH HAM AND CHEESE, CREAM BUTTER, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY


Vegetarian

DIET 1 (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): CUCUMBER SALAD WITH SWEET PEPPER AND OILS, STEWED GOBLETS, JUICE, PASTRY 2 DIET (TUE, THU., FRUIT): SALAD SALAD WITH MERRY SALAD ONION, BUCKLET WITH MUSHROOMS AND ONION, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY


Child

DIET 1 (MON, WED, MON, SUN): CHEESE CUTTING WITH CHICKEN, CHEESE WITH JAM, CREAM BUTTER, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY 2 DIET (TUE, THU., SAT.): MEAT CUTTING WITH HERBS FRIENDSHIP "WITH KURAGA, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY


Lunch

Standard

DIET 1 (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): VEGETABLE SALAD WITH HAM, CHICKEN NOODLES SOUP, ESCALOP WITH BOILED POTATOES AND PICKLED CUCUMBERS, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY PRODUCT, SWEETS. W / C SAUSAGE AND CORNISHONS, ROYAL CABBAGE BORSCHT WITH CHICKEN AND SOUR CREAM, CHICKEN SCHNITZEL WITH BOILED RICE AND KETCHUP SAUCE, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY


Vegetarian

1 DIET (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): SALAD WITH CHILD BEANS, MONASTERY MUSHROOM SHCHI, PUPPYKASH WITH TOMATOES, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY 2 DIET (TUE, THU., REQUEST) CANNED VEGETABLES, CABBAGE BORSCH, RICE WITH CORN AND TOMATOES, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY


Child

1 DIET (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): SALAD FROM SECOND-HAND CABBAGE AND BULGARIAN PEPPER, NOODLES SOUP WITH CHICKEN, PORK IN SWEET-SWEET SAUCE WITH PINEAPPE AND BOILED POTATOES, CONCENTRATE JUICE, FRUIT TUE, THU, SAT.): CHEESE SALAD WITH TOMATOES AND EGG, FRESH CABBAGE BORSCHT WITH CHICKEN AND SOUR CREAM, CHICKEN FILLET WITH BOILED RICE, JUICE, FRUIT, CONFECTIONERY


Dinner

Standard

1 DIET (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): VEGETABLE SALAD WITH APPLE PEPPER AND OILS, CHICKEN BREAST WITH VEGETABLES AND BOILED RICE, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY 2 DAYS, SOUCE, STUFF. , TOMATOES AND PEPPER, PORK FRICASE WITH BOILED POTATOES AND PICKLED CUCUMBER, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY


Vegetarian

DIET 1 (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): ASSORTED FRESH VEGETABLES, PASTA WITH STEAMED VEGETABLES, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY 2 DIET (TUE, THU., SAT.): VEGETABLE SALAD, HORSE JUICE, VEGETABLES


Child

DIET 1 (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): VEGETABLE SALAD, GENTLE CHICKEN FILLET WITH BOOKED PASTA AND TOMATOES, FRUIT, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY, FRUIT 2 DIET (TUE, THU., SAT.): VEGETABLES PEPPER AND OILS, HOMEMADE ROAST WITH PORK, FRUIT, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY,

So the options on this aren't great but it is still a start that Amtrak should look into doing.


A true first class product. On select trains specifically the Premium ones like the Red Arrow (Saint Petersburg-Moscow) they offer all sorts of toiletries and other niceties included in first class. One train the Grand Express even goes as far as having a car arranged to take you anywhere you want to go inside the city limits of your destination. Which really solves a problem Amtrak and the airlines have that last mile connection.

Now imagine if Amtrak offered this as a service to us. You could have amazing food opportunities that are all local and regional to the area you are in, less shrinkage, and a better solution for passengers especially on long trips.

We deserve better and we should get better. If the operator of the worlds longest inter-city train service can provide this on all of it's routes which far out number Amtrak's then we can do the same thing. It just takes the desire to do it.


Other thoughts. I actually found the booking process rather easy I really don't know why everyone goes to the travel agents that charge a large mark up for their services. I accomplished my reservations in little under an hour for quite a few trains.

For those interested in my routing.

9/20: AA CLT-DCA-JFK-ATH on a D1 Pass (I want that lie flat seat on the JFK-ATH leg)
9/21: SU ATH-SVO
9/21: RZD 002 the Red Arrow in VIP Deluxe Class 14,000 Rubbles
9/22: St Petersburg
9/23: Still Open
9/24: Moscow
9/24: RZD 068 to Novosibirsk (Train Runs Moscow- in Second Class
9/25: All Day Train
9/26: Arrive Novosibirsk
9/27: Don Quiote at the NOVAT Novosibirsk
9/28: Novosibirsk
9/29: RZD 012 to Irkutsk (Train runs Samara-Vladivostok)
9/30: Arrive Irkutsk
10/1-10/4: Lake Baikal with some former Russian exchange student friends of mine.
10/4: RZD 062 to Vladivostok in First Class. Train originates in Moscow.
10/5: All Day Train
10/6: All Day Train
10/7: Arrive Vladivostok
10/7: SU B777-300ER VVO-SVO, KLM 737-800 SVO-AMS, KLM 737 AMS-LHR
10/8: AA B777-200 LHR-BOS, then whatever we have flying to go to CLT and CAE.

I still have at least one RZD Leg to book which is a St. Petersburg-Moscow leg which I might just do on the Grand Express. Then a Steam trip on Lake Baikal.
 

MARC Rider

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This looks really good. Of course, we'll want to hear what the service was really like after you return from your trip. :)

It does sound better than Paul Theroux's description of the food in the 2007 repeat of his 1973 trip on the Trans-Siberian.
 

denmarks

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Messages
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Location
Chico, CA
If our trains did not share freight lines food delivery might work. No restaurant would want to take part if trains did not arrive at a set time. What if a train is hours late? When do you bring the reheated food to the train?
 

George Harris

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now in California
When it comes to quality of rail passenger service, I am incline to believe that much of the world is well ahead of the US. (And that applies to intercity and urban bus services as well.)

One you fix timeliness, then quite a few of these other things can be done. Without timeliness, most of these services are not practical. Amtrak's cluelessness on many issues is most frustrating. I see no reason to be apologetic for them not fixing the things they can fix, such as cleanliness, reliability of equipment, food service, and difficulties in obtaining schedule information. As to issues with the freight railroads, if Amtrak can't be 99.99% sure the equipment will function without failure on their part, why should we expect the freight railroads to care about keeping the train on time?

I lived quite a few years in Taiwan, which has a very good island wide train service and has four classes of trains. All trains except 4th class were reserved seats. While the top classes were usually newer equipment, the main differential was number of stops and overall speed. Since it has been near 15 years since I left, don't know if the 4th class ones, which were non-AC all stops locals are still there or as frequent. All others, walk up to the ticket window with a train number or time and destination and you would get a ticket with a car number and seat number. They would, and apparently still, sell a number of standee tickets for a train after all seats were sold. Generally trains would be on time or very close to it. By the way, NO ID WAS REQUIRED. No one had to prove who they were in order to ride a train. If you had the ticket in hand, that was all that was needed, and the ticket had no name on it. If I could show a ticket with train number, car number, and seat number, it did no matter who I was. (By the way, should you miss your train, you could use your ticket to get on another train of the same class, but you would likely be standing up for part or all of your trip.) See no reason that ID should be needed here for walk-ups. For picking up a reservation simply to prove that the ticket is going to who paid for it, yes. But otherwise NO. For sleeping car space, maybe, but not for coach.
 

Steve4031

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Chicago
How is the time keeping on Russian railroads. I’m assuming better than Amtrak because the same company owns the freight trains, passenger trains and tracks.
 

me_little_me

Engineer
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Messages
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How is the time keeping on Russian railroads. I’m assuming better than Amtrak because the same company owns the freight trains, passenger trains and tracks.
They're used to the concept from the Soviet era that you are on time or their next trip will be on time at the gulag.

Hey, Amtrak executives, have you made a trip to northern Canada recently? Want to go for a 3 year visit? You'll get in some good outdoor work!
 

Triley

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Somewhere between VAC and EUG
By the way, NO ID WAS REQUIRED. No one had to prove who they were in order to ride a train. If you had the ticket in hand, that was all that was needed, and the ticket had no name on it. If I could show a ticket with train number, car number, and seat number, it did no matter who I was. See no reason that ID should be needed here for walk-ups. For picking up a reservation simply to prove that the ticket is going to who paid for it, yes. But otherwise NO. For sleeping car space, maybe, but not for coach.
This is a TSA requirement... Technically you need an ID to travel Greyhound as well...

That whole 9/11 thing, and the no fly/no ride list as well.
 

MARC Rider

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What's the political dynamics regarding funding for Russian Railways? I gather that RZD is state-owned, though run as a company, not a government ministry. While Russia might not be all that much of a democracy, the government wouldn't be spending money on it if there weren't serious public support for the service. We do know in the United States, that passenger rail is almost totally off the radar as a transport option for the vast majority of people, except maybe in the northeast, and in that region, they are more likely to think of commuter rail and intercity corridor service rather than long-distance service. I gather things are a bit different in Russia, but that might change if airline service becomes more frequent and cheaper and if roads improve. (I understand that there's now a highway that crosses Siberia.)
 

Seaboard92

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South Carolina
I am impressed that your regional airline is letting you take all of that time off as a relatively new employee.
That part was the easiest part except for one day. They let me move my reserve days around so I can cluster them 6 on and 1 off between them. So I stack them at one end of the month or the other to create these trips. So September was 1-6, 8-13, and 15-20. I then took two personal days. In October I'm going to do the opposite and stack my 6/1 on the rear end of the month. What I do with the off time doesn't concern them. Even my manager is like "You really go to some cool places." As long as I'm back on the 9th I'm good. That is why I'm leaving Russia on the 7th as once I hit regular Europe many more options open up to me to get home other than just the six times weekly ICN, and daily NRT flight to DFW.

This looks really good. Of course, we'll want to hear what the service was really like after you return from your trip. :)

It does sound better than Paul Theroux's description of the food in the 2007 repeat of his 1973 trip on the Trans-Siberian.
I'll try to do better about filing this trip report. My trip report for Alaska is still being written several months post trip. Mostly because I've been so busy. The funny thing is 90 percent of this trip was planned in the last two days. And the period from 9/27-10/4 I'm not even planing at all. That is all Kseniya and Victoria doing that. I'm hands off. I literally just said let me ride the steam train at Baikal while we are there. That was my only input. I'm already a last minute trip planner, the airline has made me more of one hence flying to Athens to reach Russia.

Amtrak could definitely learn some things. Impressive


My favorite aircraft (and engine!) 😍😍😍
I have the same type of plane ATH-SVO as well.

How is the time keeping on Russian railroads. I’m assuming better than Amtrak because the same company owns the freight trains, passenger trains and tracks.
The Trans Siberian route from Moscow to Vladivostok today.

Train 62M (The former Rossiya) at it's latest between Chita and Vladivostok was 47 minutes late today. It still arrived on time at 7:07 Local in Vladivostok
Train 002EH The Rossiya is 50 minutes at its latest and is currently one minute late and estimated to arrive ontime into Vladivostok.

Russian Railways are fairly active with a large swarth of passenger trains, and freight trains running at all hours. They are also long trains the Rossiya runs a max of 20 cars.

What's the political dynamics regarding funding for Russian Railways? I gather that RZD is state-owned, though run as a company, not a government ministry. While Russia might not be all that much of a democracy, the government wouldn't be spending money on it if there weren't serious public support for the service. We do know in the United States, that passenger rail is almost totally off the radar as a transport option for the vast majority of people, except maybe in the northeast, and in that region, they are more likely to think of commuter rail and intercity corridor service rather than long-distance service. I gather things are a bit different in Russia, but that might change if airline service becomes more frequent and cheaper and if roads improve. (I understand that there's now a highway that crosses Siberia.)
It is well supported rider wise especially the further east one goes. And most of the young people actively say they love the trains. Imagine that in the USA. It is no wonder I have a lot of Russian friends from college. Aeroflot runs fairly frequent across Russia so does S7 which is headquartered in Novosibirsk. The friends I'm traveling to Baikal with both work in the Aeroflot family, one is an FO on the B777, and the other is a FA on the ULCC Aeroflot owns.

Now the vast majority of people in Russia are similar to the USA living on the urban core of Moscow-St. Petersburg. Hence that is the most competitive over night market in the entire world. More of a two lane road riddled with potholes but yes it is technically on the level of a US Highway across most of the Dakotas.
 

Seaboard92

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Another thing they offer at least on what I would dub their corridor you can order souvenirs in advance of the train. So my first ticket ended up costing me an additional 3,000 Rubbles because I just had to have a bunch of souvenirs for myself. Namely a steam engine flash drive, railcar keychains, two stuffed Lion "Conductors", and some other stuff I didn't really need to have but had a weak moment. Also known as put it on a steam engine with a world railroad logo I'll probably buy whatever you are selling.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
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On my 2010 Moscow<>Tomsk trip there was traditional dining car service but the trainside vendors did a good business at the division points. This takes trainside to a new level. I did all the booking myself and appreciated being able to chose my sleeping car and compartment on line.

One carryover from the days when American expertise was prized: eastbound trains are even-numbered and dispatching is excellent. (Introduced by Colonel Stevens and his team of American rail experts in WWI.) And unless things have changed, freight trains are no longer than the sidings.

I'll look forward to trip reports. One question: is there any of the "Milwaukee Road" DC electrification left on your trip? The conversion to AC was well underway when I was there.
 

Gemuser

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Sydney, Australia
QUOTE="Steve4031, post: 918726, member: 29"]
How is the time keeping on Russian railroads. I’m assuming better than Amtrak because the same company owns the freight trains, passenger trains and tracks.
[/QUOTE]
My one experience was in 2010 from Moscow to Irkutsk, two nights, Irkutsk - Vladivostok. The train left Moscow on time, arrived Irkutsk about 30 - 40 minutes late due to it being diverted due to the wildfires ringing Moscow at the time. The next train (No 8) arrived Irkutsk on time, left on time and arrived Vladivostok about 10 minutes early.

It also helps that it is double track, electrified for the WHOLE 8,288 kilometres and I assume CTC (the signals looked it, but there was no guessing the signs, unlike a lot of western Europe). It was quite eerie east of Siberia in the Far Eastern Federal District [FEFD] to stop in the middle of NO WHERE (I'm an Aussie and we know nowhere, this was more nowhere than even we know!). This was a scheduled 20 minute stop so everybody left the train, I walked to the front of the 18 carriage train to see the massive two section articulated electric loco, what a monster. There was nothing beyond the station in any direction, this was the one day time stop with no local hawkers on the platforms.
The longest freight train I saw was about 210 large tank cars (I could have miscounted somewhere), it came over one ridge down into the valley & up the other side, while we were going in the opposite direction.

Another thing to remember is that according to several Russians I spoke [some via translator] it is much easier to repair railway track from winter damage than roads, so railway are much more important that road especially in eastern Siberia & FEFD.
 

20th Century Rider

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Amtrak could definitely learn some things. Impressive


My favorite aircraft (and engine!) 😍😍😍
Yes! Buttt! Amtrak fixed that problem with flex meals! The Flex Meal Factory turn's em out by the thousands in an hour for pennies on the dollar so computer programming is not necessary... and Amtrak makes lots'a $$$! Of course the advantage to the customer is that they flip the flex food it in the trash and can easily diet away those pounds. Hmmm! perhaps now Amtrak can raise sleeper prices higher 'cause dieting is included in the fare!

And Amtrak gives 'select members' 2 factor authentication privileges:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Now that I woke up from that really bad 'Amtrak dream' and read [above] about the user friendly way to order meals on Russian trains I wonder too why we are sooooo backward with our rail system... and the overall cost to ride on Russian sleepers is far less than on Amtrak's ridiculously priced :confused::confused::confused:fares!
 

v v

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Of the 2 Russian trains we used both were ontime.

Kiev to Moscow during February and Moscow to Vladivostok early March. The second at almost 7 days of rail travel through all of Siberia in mid winter was most impressive.

An amusing comparison was Swiss rail a couple of weeks ago from Geneve to Zurich, it left 3 minutes late! but did arrive on time.
 
Last edited:

toddinde

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I'm sure this will offend a few people around here who like to think that America is at the top of the world but when it comes to the passenger train the Russians are running leaps and bounds around us.

Here is a great example.

I just booked a trip across the entire country on three trains (Moscow-Novosibirsk, Novosibirsk-Irkutsk, Irkutsk-Vladivostok) and it is amazing what passenger friendly options that they offer that I know we've all been desiring for years.

Some of the services that they are offering.

~Delivery of Food and Drinks to the Train
~Prepaid Dining Car Meals

So here is the add on screen on the booking engine.

View attachment 24440

Once you reach this screen you have 12 minutes to select what you would like and pay for the ticket with these services. Once you click on food for delivery it gives you this screen with the list of stations that it is available at. I'm taking a different train from Irkutsk to Vladivostok and I've seen Khabarovsk included there so I take it that it depends on the time the train reaches a station that has it.

View attachment 24441
Next is the option of restaurants that are available to you. The bad thing for foreign tourists this is where you loose the English translations. But considering some 95 percent of their passengers are Russians it's still a very usable service. The small print is what type of food they have available. Note the delivery charge for First Class is Zero. Now in Second and Third Class there is one but it is no more than a couple hundred rubbles.

View attachment 24442

Now here are two photos of what the food order screen looks like. Again no English Translations but for people like me who speak the language it's useful. And for foreigners you have 12 minutes to look and use google translate.


View attachment 24443View attachment 24444


We all know that Amtrak has several longer stops where this type of service wouldn't just do well but would likely thrive as uber eats and other delivery apps are well entrenched. RZD does have a note that does say that food might be cold or could miss the train due to the trains on time status. Now that being said RZD generally runs on time on the longest railroad in the world in some of the harshest climates. Something else Amtrak can't manage.

And as you can imagine I have bought into this a few times just because it was offered and I want to see how it works. They give the delivery man your car number and you meet him at the vestibule.

Pre Order Dining Car Menu

View attachment 24445
You can preorder your dining car meals. Which for Amtrak would work with cutting down on shrink and making sure the car is fully staffed. Unfortunately the Russians don't really give you a choice on the menu. Here is the menu. They used all caps and I just copy and pasted this over.

Standard

DIET 1 (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): CHEESE CUTTING WITH NUTS AND HONEY, DRUZHBA Porridge WITH COURAGES, CREAM BUTTER, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY 2 DIET (TUE, THU., SAT.): CUTTING CUTTING , OMELETTE WITH HAM AND CHEESE, CREAM BUTTER, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY


Vegetarian

DIET 1 (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): CUCUMBER SALAD WITH SWEET PEPPER AND OILS, STEWED GOBLETS, JUICE, PASTRY 2 DIET (TUE, THU., FRUIT): SALAD SALAD WITH MERRY SALAD ONION, BUCKLET WITH MUSHROOMS AND ONION, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY


Child

DIET 1 (MON, WED, MON, SUN): CHEESE CUTTING WITH CHICKEN, CHEESE WITH JAM, CREAM BUTTER, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY 2 DIET (TUE, THU., SAT.): MEAT CUTTING WITH HERBS FRIENDSHIP "WITH KURAGA, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY


Lunch

Standard

DIET 1 (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): VEGETABLE SALAD WITH HAM, CHICKEN NOODLES SOUP, ESCALOP WITH BOILED POTATOES AND PICKLED CUCUMBERS, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY PRODUCT, SWEETS. W / C SAUSAGE AND CORNISHONS, ROYAL CABBAGE BORSCHT WITH CHICKEN AND SOUR CREAM, CHICKEN SCHNITZEL WITH BOILED RICE AND KETCHUP SAUCE, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY


Vegetarian

1 DIET (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): SALAD WITH CHILD BEANS, MONASTERY MUSHROOM SHCHI, PUPPYKASH WITH TOMATOES, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY 2 DIET (TUE, THU., REQUEST) CANNED VEGETABLES, CABBAGE BORSCH, RICE WITH CORN AND TOMATOES, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY


Child

1 DIET (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): SALAD FROM SECOND-HAND CABBAGE AND BULGARIAN PEPPER, NOODLES SOUP WITH CHICKEN, PORK IN SWEET-SWEET SAUCE WITH PINEAPPE AND BOILED POTATOES, CONCENTRATE JUICE, FRUIT TUE, THU, SAT.): CHEESE SALAD WITH TOMATOES AND EGG, FRESH CABBAGE BORSCHT WITH CHICKEN AND SOUR CREAM, CHICKEN FILLET WITH BOILED RICE, JUICE, FRUIT, CONFECTIONERY


Dinner

Standard

1 DIET (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): VEGETABLE SALAD WITH APPLE PEPPER AND OILS, CHICKEN BREAST WITH VEGETABLES AND BOILED RICE, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY 2 DAYS, SOUCE, STUFF. , TOMATOES AND PEPPER, PORK FRICASE WITH BOILED POTATOES AND PICKLED CUCUMBER, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY


Vegetarian

DIET 1 (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): ASSORTED FRESH VEGETABLES, PASTA WITH STEAMED VEGETABLES, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY 2 DIET (TUE, THU., SAT.): VEGETABLE SALAD, HORSE JUICE, VEGETABLES


Child

DIET 1 (MON, Wed, Mon, Sun): VEGETABLE SALAD, GENTLE CHICKEN FILLET WITH BOOKED PASTA AND TOMATOES, FRUIT, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY, FRUIT 2 DIET (TUE, THU., SAT.): VEGETABLES PEPPER AND OILS, HOMEMADE ROAST WITH PORK, FRUIT, JUICE, CONFECTIONERY,

So the options on this aren't great but it is still a start that Amtrak should look into doing.


A true first class product. On select trains specifically the Premium ones like the Red Arrow (Saint Petersburg-Moscow) they offer all sorts of toiletries and other niceties included in first class. One train the Grand Express even goes as far as having a car arranged to take you anywhere you want to go inside the city limits of your destination. Which really solves a problem Amtrak and the airlines have that last mile connection.

Now imagine if Amtrak offered this as a service to us. You could have amazing food opportunities that are all local and regional to the area you are in, less shrinkage, and a better solution for passengers especially on long trips.

We deserve better and we should get better. If the operator of the worlds longest inter-city train service can provide this on all of it's routes which far out number Amtrak's then we can do the same thing. It just takes the desire to do it.


Other thoughts. I actually found the booking process rather easy I really don't know why everyone goes to the travel agents that charge a large mark up for their services. I accomplished my reservations in little under an hour for quite a few trains.

For those interested in my routing.

9/20: AA CLT-DCA-JFK-ATH on a D1 Pass (I want that lie flat seat on the JFK-ATH leg)
9/21: SU ATH-SVO
9/21: RZD 002 the Red Arrow in VIP Deluxe Class 14,000 Rubbles
9/22: St Petersburg
9/23: Still Open
9/24: Moscow
9/24: RZD 068 to Novosibirsk (Train Runs Moscow- in Second Class
9/25: All Day Train
9/26: Arrive Novosibirsk
9/27: Don Quiote at the NOVAT Novosibirsk
9/28: Novosibirsk
9/29: RZD 012 to Irkutsk (Train runs Samara-Vladivostok)
9/30: Arrive Irkutsk
10/1-10/4: Lake Baikal with some former Russian exchange student friends of mine.
10/4: RZD 062 to Vladivostok in First Class. Train originates in Moscow.
10/5: All Day Train
10/6: All Day Train
10/7: Arrive Vladivostok
10/7: SU B777-300ER VVO-SVO, KLM 737-800 SVO-AMS, KLM 737 AMS-LHR
10/8: AA B777-200 LHR-BOS, then whatever we have flying to go to CLT and CAE.

I still have at least one RZD Leg to book which is a St. Petersburg-Moscow leg which I might just do on the Grand Express. Then a Steam trip on Lake Baikal.
Those who never travel overseas accept America’s mediocre transportation system. Many don’t realize that Mexican busses are vastly superior to Greyhound. Air and rail travel are vastly superior in Europe. Our highways are lavished with almost unlimited government funding but many of them are inadequate and congested. Russia explodes the myth that many Americans believe about long distance trains; that the US doesn’t have the population density to support rail. Rail passenger service throughout the US is the most effective way to connect the country.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,908
Location
Oregon Coast
Those who never travel overseas accept America’s mediocre transportation system. Many don’t realize that Mexican busses are vastly superior to Greyhound. Air and rail travel are vastly superior in Europe. Our highways are lavished with almost unlimited government funding but many of them are inadequate and congested. Russia explodes the myth that many Americans believe about long distance trains; that the US doesn’t have the population density to support rail. Rail passenger service throughout the US is the most effective way to connect the country.
And with environmental efficiency !!!!!
 
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Chris I

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
115
Location
Portland, OR
I emailed Amtrak a week ago about Roomette assignments for an upcoming trip and still haven't received a response. The fact that I couldn't select the rooms we wanted when booking is incredibly frustrating.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,908
Location
Oregon Coast
I emailed Amtrak a week ago about Roomette assignments for an upcoming trip and still haven't received a response. The fact that I couldn't select the rooms we wanted when booking is incredibly frustrating.
Sounds like yet another downgrade in reservation service due to primitive computerized system. But I wonder how far into the future is your upcoming trip? Perhaps there's a problem with sleeper car configurations or number of such cars to be included on a particular date. But I do agree with you... no excuse for this. Call back and make sure you have specific preferences in the record. Then again... some of the res agents don't know and don't care; you may have to call back several times.
 
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