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Dinner on eastbound Lake Shore?


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#1 Guest_igor_*

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 12:23 PM

I was thinking of riding the Lake Shore Limited from Cleveland to New York.

I assume breakfast isn't a problem if the train leaves Cleveland at 7AM, but I'm wondering about the hours for dinner. Is it served before the 7:35PM arrival?

With a full diner, I would have expected food service to end an hour before arrival, but the Lake Shore is using the simplified menu, so perhaps they can serve later?

What are the usual hours for meals on the eastbound Lake Shore?

#2 AlanB

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 12:56 PM

They only serve breakfast and lunch prior to arrival into Albany. No dinner is served after departure from Albany.
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#3 greatcats

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 04:23 PM

Thanks Alan. I will be on the Lakeshore in May and I will now know not to plan on dinner!
I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.

#4 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 06:16 PM

What happens in the event of the Lake Shore Limited justifying its old nickname, the Late Shore Limited? Like, if the train is pulling into NYP 3-5 hours late, do they serve dinner then? 12 hours late?

Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#5 Chris J.

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 01:54 PM

They only serve breakfast and lunch prior to arrival into Albany. No dinner is served after departure from Albany.


Is this the same in the other direction -ie. no food 'till Albany?

I'll be doing the Lake Shore from Boston to Chicago, so would I expect to get dinner after Albany and then breakfast before Chicago?
So far: Capitol Limited, Acela, Downeaster, Lake Shore Limited, Southwest Chief, San Joaquins, Coast Starlight (SAC-SEA)

#6 printman2000

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 02:24 PM

What happens in the event of the Lake Shore Limited justifying its old nickname, the Late Shore Limited? Like, if the train is pulling into NYP 3-5 hours late, do they serve dinner then? 12 hours late?


I have been on other late trains and they have served an extra meal if it is late enough.

#7 AlanB

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 11:37 PM

They only serve breakfast and lunch prior to arrival into Albany. No dinner is served after departure from Albany.


Is this the same in the other direction -ie. no food 'till Albany?

I'll be doing the Lake Shore from Boston to Chicago, so would I expect to get dinner after Albany and then breakfast before Chicago?


No, going west you will get dinner. In your case obviously after Albany, but those departing from NYP can get started before ALB if they so choose.
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#8 Guest_igor_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 05:25 PM

Is this the same in the other direction -ie. no food 'till Albany?


I rode west in December. The LSA took sleeper reservations for dinner upon departure, starting at 4:30. The latest she'd hand out for sleeper people was 6:30, at which point they opened it up for coach passengers. They seat you during the locomotive change at Albany, but we didn't get there until 6:30.
Dinner continues until 9:30.

If you're in a sleeper, and want to eat later, I don't think it's a problem. They won't give you a reservation, but if you show up later, they'll seat you, and you might risk not having the full range of entré choices.

I wouldn't call the meals on the LSL great, but it's adequate. Is the Simplified Diner Service going to come to the Lake Shore eventually?

#9 had8ley

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 06:23 PM

Is this the same in the other direction -ie. no food 'till Albany?


I rode west in December. The LSA took sleeper reservations for dinner upon departure, starting at 4:30. The latest she'd hand out for sleeper people was 6:30, at which point they opened it up for coach passengers. They seat you during the locomotive change at Albany, but we didn't get there until 6:30.
Dinner continues until 9:30.

If you're in a sleeper, and want to eat later, I don't think it's a problem. They won't give you a reservation, but if you show up later, they'll seat you, and you might risk not having the full range of entré choices.

I wouldn't call the meals on the LSL great, but it's adequate. Is the Simplified Diner Service going to come to the Lake Shore eventually?


Well you must have missed the new SDS menu by a few days. It was implemented system wide on December 12th save the Empire Builder and Auto Train. SDS has been around for almost two years now; LSL included. You might be referring to the diner-lite car which the LSL now carries and probably did on the day of your trip sans new menu. The food is absolutely great and I will be composing a travelogue for # 19 & 20 from NOL to ATL and return shortly. They serve ice cream again but at $2 for 4 ozs I can find better uses for my green backs. Things are certainly looking up food wise; we even have appetizers which seemed to have disappeared after Amtrak took over passenger service.

#10 AlanB

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 06:26 PM

I rode west in December. The LSA took sleeper reservations for dinner upon departure, starting at 4:30. The latest she'd hand out for sleeper people was 6:30, at which point they opened it up for coach passengers. They seat you during the locomotive change at Albany, but we didn't get there until 6:30.
Dinner continues until 9:30.

If you're in a sleeper, and want to eat later, I don't think it's a problem. They won't give you a reservation, but if you show up later, they'll seat you, and you might risk not having the full range of entré choices.


Well that LSA was wrong, she must give out later reservations for sleeper pax if they request. She is required to seat sleeper pax during the normal meal times.

I wouldn't call the meals on the LSL great, but it's adequate. Is the Simplified Diner Service going to come to the Lake Shore eventually?


The LSL use to have Simplified Dining Service (SDS) prior to loosing the dining car. Now with the Diner-Lite car as part of the normal consist, it will never get back SDS until and unless Amtrak can find some dining cars, be they new ones or rebuilt ones.

That said, many of the same meals that are on the SDS menu do appear on the Diner-Lite menu, but anything that requires cooking on a grill is out, since to my knowledge Diner-Lite cars have no grill.
Alan,

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#11 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 08:39 PM

Is there any food service availible on the LSL when it leaves Chicago at 10, for coach passengers? Or should I make sure I am full before I board? Do they sell blankets anymore? If the lounge is open at departure, when does it close?

Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#12 AlanB

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 09:19 PM

Is there any food service availible on the LSL when it leaves Chicago at 10, for coach passengers? Or should I make sure I am full before I board? Do they sell blankets anymore? If the lounge is open at departure, when does it close?


The lounge is indeed open upon departure from Chicago, but even then you probably want to eat before you even board the train, as dinner at 10:00/10:30 is pretty late for most people. I'm not sure if the lounge closes at 11:00 or midnight, and of course there is the added twist of crossing the time zone shortly after leaving Chicago. Not sure about the blankets.

By the way, IIRC you're arriving via the Capitol the same day that you depart Chicago. Since you'll be in a sleeper to Chicago, you are entitled to use the Metropolitan lounge in Chicago. So you'll actually be able to board the train early around 8:00 to 8:30 most likely, even though you are in coach. The cafe won't be open, but you may want to factor that into your decision as to when to go get dinner in the station.

And of course you get to use the Club Acela Lounge in DC, and for that matter in NYP if you're boarding the regional there to connect to the Capitol.
Alan,

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#13 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 11:21 PM

Is there any food service availible on the LSL when it leaves Chicago at 10, for coach passengers? Or should I make sure I am full before I board? Do they sell blankets anymore? If the lounge is open at departure, when does it close?


The lounge is indeed open upon departure from Chicago, but even then you probably want to eat before you even board the train, as dinner at 10:00/10:30 is pretty late for most people. I'm not sure if the lounge closes at 11:00 or midnight, and of course there is the added twist of crossing the time zone shortly after leaving Chicago. Not sure about the blankets.

By the way, IIRC you're arriving via the Capitol the same day that you depart Chicago. Since you'll be in a sleeper to Chicago, you are entitled to use the Metropolitan lounge in Chicago. So you'll actually be able to board the train early around 8:00 to 8:30 most likely, even though you are in coach. The cafe won't be open, but you may want to factor that into your decision as to when to go get dinner in the station.

And of course you get to use the Club Acela Lounge in DC, and for that matter in NYP if you're boarding the regional there to connect to the Capitol.


People have said that. I would love to use the one in NYP, but I think its the only part of Penn I don't know inside out. Where is it? And how do I convince the lounge attendant of that?

Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#14 AlanB

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 11:28 PM

People have said that. I would love to use the one in NYP, but I think its the only part of Penn I don't know inside out. Where is it? And how do I convince the lounge attendant of that?


Your sleeper tickets qualify you as a First Class passenger on Amtrak. As a first class passenger you are entitled to utilize Amtrak's first class lounges in NY, DC, and Chicago. These lounges are a nice quiet refuge in the often-bustling train station. They have nice plush chairs, conference rooms, computer terminals, newspapers, TV's, free soft drinks, juices, coffee, tea and clean safe bathrooms. They also allow you to board your train before the rest of the masses.

The lounge in NY can be found to the far left of the NJ Transit ticket windows as you face them in the main Amtrak area. Walk past the West Gate for tracks 7 & 8 on the left side of the escalator and you will see a sign on the corner of the wall. There is a doorbell to the left of two gold doors. Ring the bell and wait for the click to open the door. Note: In NY there is no pre-boarding ahead of the regular passengers, but they usually do announce your train in the lounge before they announce it in the main station. This means if you don’t dilly-dally, you can generally be near the head of the line at the escalator.

In NY you'll need to show both your regional tickets, as well as your Capitol Limited tickets showing the sleeper. You shouldn't have any problems in NY, most of the agents there know the rules and won't hassle you. And the rules say that you are entitled to use any Amtrak lounge in the system on a day where you are traveling in First Class.

In DC the Club Acela Lounge is located behind the information kiosk, which is in the center of the waiting areas between gates D & E. There are two large wooden doors there, ring the bell to the right of the door and the attendant will let you in. Show your Capitol tickets and you’re in. They will escort you to your train when it’s time.

In Chicago the lounge is called the "Metropolitan Lounge". It is located on the lower level of Union Station, which is also the track level. If you are standing in front of the Amtrak ticket windows, then the Amtrak waiting area is to your left. When you enter the main Amtrak waiting area through a sliding glass door, just walk forward and slightly to the left. There should be another sliding glass door along with a sign, unless they've changed the entrance in the last few months. Again, just show your tickets and relax.

They'll also give you a card that contains the time that you need to return to the lounge by, in order to board the train and not miss it. If you do leave the lounge, take this card with you as it is also your pass for reentering the lounge. Just wave it at the attendants as you walk in and one will usually look up and acknowledge you and the card. Note the Chicago lounge can be very busy and it sometimes can be hard to get a seat, but you still get the free stuff and priority boarding.

Note: They will make you leave your carry-on bags in the luggage room inside the lounge, you cannot take them to your seat due to the crowded nature of the lounge. There is a redcap manning this room who will give you a claim check for your bags, such that you can claim them shortly before you board the train. One nice advantage of this is the fact that you can park your carryon bags here, while you wander around Chicago and do lunch, assuming that your trains arrive on time.
Alan,

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#15 PRR 60

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 07:52 AM

...Your sleeper tickets qualify you as a First Class passenger on Amtrak.

One minor correction. While Club Acela and Metropolitan lounge access is still a perk for sleeping car passengers, Amtrak no long considers sleeping car passengers as "First Class" passengers. About a year or two ago Amtrak subtly changed the class name for sleeping car passengers to "Sleeper Service". The reason was to eliminate any assumption that sleeping car passengers are entitled to unlimited food and beverage service. The only "First Class" service on Amtrak today is Acela First Class.

#16 AlanB

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 08:06 AM

...Your sleeper tickets qualify you as a First Class passenger on Amtrak.


One minor correction. While Club Acela and Metropolitan lounge access is still a perk for sleeping car passengers, Amtrak no long considers sleeping car passengers as "First Class" passengers. About a year or two ago Amtrak subtly changed the class name for sleeping car passengers to "Sleeper Service". The reason was to eliminate any assumption that sleeping car passengers are entitled to unlimited food and beverage service. The only "First Class" service on Amtrak today is Acela First Class.


Thanks Bill, I'll have to go update my saved paragraphs. :)
Alan,

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#17 Railroad Bill

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 03:53 PM

Just a note concerning the Metro Lounge in Chicago. Although we always place our luggage in the storage room, it has not been required to do so on four trips we have made into Chicago in the last few months. Several people have taken their bags with them to their seats and placed them behind the chairs and mostly out of the way. No one at the desk said anything to them. (May have assumed that their train was forthcoming). We usually try to grab ours half hour before the boarding call to avoid the rush. (Also, it would seem customary to tip the Red Cap who is manning the checked bags area but I notice that few do. Cheapos!!) :P

Amtrak Trains Ridden So Far:
Lake Shore Ltd, Capitol Ltd, Pennsylvanian, NE Corridors, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Hoosier, SW Chief, Surfliners, California Capitol Corridors, Coast Starlight, Cascades. Texas Eagle, San Joaquins, Missouri River Runner,Cardinal, Downeaster, Silver Meteor, Keystones, Auto Train, Adirondack, Lincoln Service, Illinois Zephyr, Carl Sandburg, Texas Eagle Detour Rt, Autumn Excursion Tour PHL, Silver Star,  -- 61,860  Amtrak miles & counting


#18 printman2000

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 03:55 PM

As far as checking baggage, is there a problem checking a backpack with a laptop in it? Do they recommend not doing that?

#19 AlanB

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 04:15 PM

As far as checking baggage, is there a problem checking a backpack with a laptop in it? Do they recommend not doing that?


They recommend not checking a laptop.
Alan,

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#20 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 11:49 PM

Your comment about where the Club Acela is is... misleading. There are two NJtransit ticket windows near Track 7 & 8, and they are in two totally different sections of the concourse. I checked today when I went with my G/F on a (fruitless) snow hunt on the MNR.

Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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