Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby Tadman » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:17 am

hey White Castle is across the street in Detroit but you don't have a decent bathroom until chicago... yuck.
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Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:06 pm

If you read the news release from Amtrak, it would seem so for the Capitol Limited and the Lake Shore Limited. The service sounds like first class on a plane, complete with a complimentary wine, beer or mixed drink, and an amenity kit.

I hope I'm adding 2+2 and getting 5.


https://media.amtrak.com/2018/04/new-co ... ak-routes/
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby hi55us » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:06 pm

I'm sorry, first class on a plane is better than this. Sounds like what Delta offers in Comfort+ on Transcon Flights.

Long Haul First class (nee... "Delta 1") on Delta would offer this.

Much better than this
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby Arborwayfan » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:44 pm

Sure sounds like the end of chefs. So why all the new diners? For this, they could have put in 2 or 4 more tables per car. (Answer: they didnt have this plan when they ordered.)

I notice they only talk about sleeping-car passengers. Why not make the same meals available to coach passengers? Eliminating the staff, sad though it is, should bring down costs some, but there will still be the cost of delivery and someone on the train to hand them out. I suspect that bringing and handing out twice as many of these meals would take exactly the same number of delivery staff and probably same number of onboard staff. Set up website to sell these meals only in advance along with coach ticket, and see what happens. Seems worth the cost of writing a little software.
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby FatNoah » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:47 pm

Long Haul First class (nee... "Delta 1") on Delta would offer this.


I did a two-way trip in with Comfort+ one way and DeltaOne for the other. Strictly talking about the meals, Amtrak's offering does seem closer closer to "main cabin" than "premium cabin" fare. Comfort+ did not include the amenity kit, though. Regardless, lack of a proper sit-down meal in the sleeper makes it harder to sell Jr. and Mrs. FatNoah on sleeper trips, as that's actually their favorite part of the journey.
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby SimplySam » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:20 pm

So we wait decades for the Heritage Diners to be replaced and just as the new cars finally arrive Amtrak guts single level meal services. (First the Silver Starvation and now this.) Glad to see Amtrak has spent our tax dollars wisely. :( This is looking like a bigger boondoogle than the rebuilt trains that shall not be named in New York state. At least those were given a chance in service to fail.... If we have 25 diners and they are only used on 2 trains 15 are going to be parked before a passenger is served so much as a glass of water in them.
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby ExCon90 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:31 pm

Maybe they could sell them to VIA for conversion to coaches ...
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby SimplySam » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:01 pm

ExCon90 wrote:Maybe they could sell them to VIA for conversion to coaches ...


They don't have vestibules or passenger doors. I think coach or sleeper conversion would prohibative. VIA could use them as diners on The Canadian or Amtrak could modify them into lounge cars.
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:05 pm

SimplySam wrote:
ExCon90 wrote:Maybe they could sell them to VIA for conversion to coaches ...


They don't have vestibules or passenger doors. I think coach or sleeper conversion would prohibative. VIA could use them as diners on The Canadian or Amtrak could modify them into lounge cars.


It's sounding like that might be the case for some of them, according to what's starting to circulate.
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby bretton88 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:17 pm

It sure sounds like the diners are going to become private lounges for sleeper passengers, so in that way this is a win for sleeper customers. The amenity kit and the unlimited drinks are also a win for sleeper passengers. The big key is the food. If it's like the boxed lunches the Portland leg of the EB gets, this is a win. Looking at what they are trying to offer, it is better than Comfort+ on Delta, more like Delta Premium Select (the international premium economy). For all those worrying about going the way of the Silver Starvation, remember meals are still included in the sleeper cost, they are not on the Star. It's a tricky balancing act between a federal mandate to reduce F&B losses while treating the sleepers like first class.
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby Mackensen » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:14 pm

I have trips scheduled on the Capitol Limited for both May and July, so I'll be a good position to compare how the offerings stack up.
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby dumpster.penguin » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:20 pm

I hope this will be more labor-efficient than "Diner Lite", which kept a crew member as busy as assembling Ikea shelves on a recent Cardinal trip. It was a level of effort truly disproportionate to the mediocrity of the result. As the traveler, I felt silly in that "make-believe" dining experience.

And what better time for the experiment than summer, when folks are in the camping spirit anyway?

P.S. I suppose it's a "private lounge" because no waiter will shoo everyone out in time for the next seating. Coach passengers would put down stakes all day, same as they do with the cafe! Meanwhile, the "at your seat" option gives management leeway to run the LSL or Capitol Ltd without the diner, either if it malfunctions or to use it as a substitute on another train whose diner malfunctioned, instead of keeping dedicated substitutes on hand at the terminal cities.
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby Alco FA » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:29 pm

Reading this news release, I get the impression that hot food will no longer be offered. Is this correct?
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby David Benton » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:33 pm

I wonder if one of the aims is to make the dining car "cashless"? . Everything complimentary, additional drinks / snacks from the cafe? that would probably eliminate a fair bit of work too.
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Re: Are chefs on some trains going bye-bye?

Postby TomNelligan » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:03 pm

The editor of Railway Age has written an excellent commentary on this latest service downgrade:

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/in ... ke-amtrak/
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