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Will full service dining ever return to the Western trains?

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Sidney

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
66
Very inconsistent. Only reason full service dining is on the Auto Train is because it is the only profitable long distance route Amtrak has. I understand that is only for sleeping car passengers. So,if you spend over $1000 for a one way trip you can have your steak. I knew that September date wouldn't happen. Again Amtrak PLEASE include sandwiches and cafe car food as an option for the Western trains!!!
 

Sauve850

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Messages
548
Location
West Palm Beach, Florida
Unbelievable. This is the death knoll for full service dining. Good God,if they are going to keep extending this substandard food service please include sandwiches and cafe car food as choices. Gee,why did I even think there was an inkling of hope that full service dining would return in September?
Not sure why you are surprised given the magnitude and the financial crisis of this pandemic. Think next September, maybe.
 

20th Century Rider

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
706
Location
Oregon Coast
Dear Forum Colleagues,

There has been significant concern regarded the downgraded food service on all overnight trains. As we were all waiting to see what would happen at the end of August when Amtrak had indicated that full service dining would once again resume Sept 1... an announcement was made that flex dining will be extended until December 15. Among all the hopeful optimism and frustrated concerns we are confronted with a food service that has brought unimaginable distain... with it's minimalist quantity, quality, and displeasure to those who travel days and nights in first class sleeper services, with new and higher fares... expecting and hopeful that at least for restoration of dining services. Flex dining is extraordinarily poor, unhealthy, heated in melting plastics bringing a carcinogenic threat, and unsatisfying... this, amidst cutbacks in frequency is truly discouraging to so many of us on this forum. It appears that Amtrak is doing everything it can to discourage ridership. What do you think and are you planning any further Amtrak LD travel???

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Albi

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
26
[...] Amtrak had indicated that full service dining would once again resume Sept 1... an announcement was made that flex dining will be extended until December 15. [...] It appears that Amtrak is doing everything it can to discourage ridership. What do you think and are you planning any further Amtrak LD travel???
I was actually planning another circle trip for autumn, hoping the dining would be reinstalled by October.

After my week long trip in May I had complained about the lack of service and the terrible food quality, and I was given $300 in vouchers to make up for it.

Obviously I can't do that again, because they will now say I knew what I was getting into, so there won't be any second voucher coming my way if I book for October.

I will simply wait, my vouchers are good until June next year. Maybe they will realize their mistake and bring traditional dining back. (I know how stupid this sounds, I know!)
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,795
Location
Delaware
Dear Forum Colleagues,

There has been significant concern regarded the downgraded food service on all overnight trains. As we were all waiting to see what would happen at the end of August when Amtrak had indicated that full service dining would once again resume Sept 1... an announcement was made that flex dining will be extended until December 15. Among all the hopeful optimism and frustrated concerns we are confronted with a food service that has brought unimaginable distain... with it's minimalist quantity, quality, and displeasure to those who travel days and nights in first class sleeper services, with new and higher fares... expecting and hopeful that at least for restoration of dining services. Flex dining is extraordinarily poor, unhealthy, heated in melting plastics bringing a carcinogenic threat, and unsatisfying... this, amidst cutbacks in frequency is truly discouraging to so many of us on this forum. It appears that Amtrak is doing everything it can to discourage ridership. What do you think and are you planning any further Amtrak LD travel???

View attachment 18388
There's a deadly virus that has taken over the country causing a lot of changes to what we're used to.
I am in the planning stages for a LD trip. I'm more concerned about the virus than I am about the dining car.
 

Steve4031

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
5,819
Location
Chicago
I’m trying a round trip on the Empire Builder. The only meal I like is the pasta with meatballs. I can tolerate the breakfast. I’m going to try get food delivered at Minot and/or Havre for lunch snacking etc. if that doesn’t work I’ll eat macaroni and cheese for lunch or a cheeseburger from the lounge car.

I think things will improve once the republicans are out.
 

Ferroequinologist

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
148
Feeling your pain... and the disappointment of so many on this forum who have been so patient and hopeful that this dark cloud would just go away... better this 'feed' be given to the pigs in the barn. Such small processed food product meals are not fresh and not healthy... and in no way satisfying... and to serve the same repetitious monotonous stuff every day over and over again on these three day two night cross country runs throughout the system is just nasty to the customer. Albeit in concert with reduced service. Personally my enthusiasm to pay higher prices and get so much less is... ka'put! Very very sad. 🤢 :oops::mad:

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Garbage
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
932
please remind me again why auto-train has kept and gets to keep traditional dining.
I'd guess a few reasons. The Auto Train is a popular product they don't want to mess with for one. Another (I'd suspect) is that at busy times there are a lot more mouths to feed at those meal servings - it would be much harder for one LSA to handle food service for everyone efficiently on this particular train. The Auto Train meals while not flex dining are a bit more institutional and standardized and allow less customization and have less choices than the traditional dining that was offered on the western trains. Not surprised about the December extension. While I do not think it is impossible for traditional dining to someday return on some routes (never is a long time and I'm usually not one to use it), I would surmise the earliest possible return (if it ever does) would be peak summer season next year (if we have a little better handle on the pandemic and people are traveling again.) While I hope it returns for my June cross country excursion next year, I do not see it returning so long as the virus is raging and suppressing all travel demand.
 
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Ferroequinologist

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
148
Dear Forum Colleagues,

There has been significant concern regarded the downgraded food service on all overnight trains. As we were all waiting to see what would happen at the end of August when Amtrak had indicated that full service dining would once again resume Sept 1... an announcement was made that flex dining will be extended until December 15. Among all the hopeful optimism and frustrated concerns we are confronted with a food service that has brought unimaginable distain... with it's minimalist quantity, quality, and displeasure to those who travel days and nights in first class sleeper services, with new and higher fares... expecting and hopeful that at least for restoration of dining services. Flex dining is extraordinarily poor, unhealthy, heated in melting plastics bringing a carcinogenic threat, and unsatisfying... this, amidst cutbacks in frequency is truly discouraging to so many of us on this forum. It appears that Amtrak is doing everything it can to discourage ridership. What do you think and are you planning any further Amtrak LD travel???

View attachment 18388


View attachment 18389
I want to use up my Rewards points and then I'll be finished with Amtrak LD travel. The food is discouraging but I'm also worried about inadequate AC which has been reported here.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,330
Location
Austin Texas
Dear Forum Colleagues,

There has been significant concern regarded the downgraded food service on all overnight trains. As we were all waiting to see what would happen at the end of August when Amtrak had indicated that full service dining would once again resume Sept 1... an announcement was made that flex dining will be extended until December 15. Among all the hopeful optimism and frustrated concerns we are confronted with a food service that has brought unimaginable distain... with it's minimalist quantity, quality, and displeasure to those who travel days and nights in first class sleeper services, with new and higher fares... expecting and hopeful that at least for restoration of dining services. Flex dining is extraordinarily poor, unhealthy, heated in melting plastics bringing a carcinogenic threat, and unsatisfying... this, amidst cutbacks in frequency is truly discouraging to so many of us on this forum. It appears that Amtrak is doing everything it can to discourage ridership. What do you think and are you planning any further Amtrak LD travel???

View attachment 18388


View attachment 18389
No Trips for me ( except in my Car and by foot) until a Proven Vaccine is in use and the Stats are down to the level of other Countries like Taiwan, New Zealand etc. 😷
 
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FrensicPic

Conductor
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
3,031
Location
LAX
EXTENDED!
Service Change
Traditional dining service has been temporarily suspended on all routes with the exception of the Auto Train. Through December 15, 2020, Sleeping Car customers will be offered flexible dining service; Coach customers will be offered Café service.

 

fdaley

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
72
Like several others here, I won't be traveling until the coronavirus is way more under control than it is now. And at our current lousy rate of progress, I really have no idea when that will be. It might take another nationwide stay-at-home effort, but I don't see that happening before the election. Whenever the virus is tamed, I'd like to travel on the western trains again if real dining service is restored; otherwise, I won't be aboard. So while I'm disappointed to hear that "flex-food" is continuing for now, realistically I wouldn't be considering a train trip before Dec. 15 anyway, and it could be another year or more. My fear is that Amtrak management won't ever get around to restoring dining service. But the fact that they're still specifying a target date (albeit a later one) is at least a hopeful sign.
 
Joined
Sep 30, 2019
Messages
9
Flex meals extended through December 15! If you like em you're in luck. YUCK!!!!

Service Change
Traditional dining service has been temporarily suspended on all routes with the exception of the Auto Train. Through December 15, 2020, Sleeping Car customers will be offered flexible dining service; Coach customers will be offered Café service.
Amtrak should just be honest and say, "We don't want you to ride in our sleepers anymore. THIS is how we're going to make sure that you never do again."
 

scrollmaster

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 20, 2018
Messages
167
Location
Monroe, Louisiana
You are so right that service, especially dining car, has tanked as low as the utter crap being served for food at the ridiculous price we pay for it. We live in northeast Louisiana and wife and I literally loved traveling Amtrak bedrooms and would spend 3-4 weeks at a time using LD trains riding around the US or to Canada to spend time at destinations along the way. Time in the dining car sharing decent meals with fellow travellers was one of the most enjoyable highlights of LD train travel. I have months ago put away my Amtrak World cards as I am already bloated with points from no trips this year and also may cancel scheduled trip next April paid with points to Canada to ride Via's The Canadian but watching and hoping something positive will emerge out of Amtrak... not holding my breath.
 

chrsjrcj

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
826
Location
West Palm Beach, FL
At least Amtrak gives a date for the return of traditional dining, even if it does keep getting pushed back. I'd be less optimistic if they went the Sunset Limited "service has been suspended, and future service has not been determined" route.
 

Barb Stout

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
485
I want to use up my Rewards points and then I'll be finished with Amtrak LD travel. The food is discouraging but I'm also worried about inadequate AC which has been reported here.
I read the various posts about inadequate AC. My experience on the SW Chief in May and August in the actual southwest was the opposite. During the first trip in May, I discovered that it is quite comfortable in summer clothes during the day, but at night, it turned into an icebox. So I was prepared with layers of clothes for the August trip, but I was still too cold during the night. The solar gain down here is extremely powerful.
 

Larry H.

OBS Chief
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
960
It seems like Amtrak has found a way to discourage passengers on long distance trains which in turn will give them an excuse to try to eliminate them. I for one have been very unhappy with the food for quite some time, even before the new boxed meals some of the meals were less than well prepared. And like others I am sad to say I will probably not ride either till something is found to make it safe again. Your life isn't worth the food you get, nor the beat up sleeping cars.
 
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