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#5 Group Meal Arrangements


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#1 cbqbill

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:43 AM

I am beginning to make arrangements for a family reunion group of 40 adults and children on #5 from Denver to Glenwood Springs in August 2018.  It's too early to make reservations but I want to hear from the forum about a meal arrangement for the entire group on this short trip.  Would it be possible to serve the group in the dining car between the breakfast and lunch seatings?  I expect a limited menu and short seating period.  I would provide a very generous tip for each member of the dining car crew. 



#2 PVD

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 11:58 AM

Amtrak has group travel discounts for groups over 20, and special charter stuff is handled on a case by case basis, I would suggest calling the group travel dept as a starting point.



#3 niemi24s

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 01:25 PM

PVD has given the best possible advise.  Please heed it.  IMHO, nothing else said here really matters.



#4 BCL

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 01:37 PM

It's 4 to a table.  I guess it's possible to ask early in the trip about arrangements, but I don't think anything is guaranteed.  Breakfast is always first come first served.



#5 ehbowen

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 01:48 PM

I am beginning to make arrangements for a family reunion group of 40 adults and children on #5 from Denver to Glenwood Springs in August 2018.  It's too early to make reservations but I want to hear from the forum about a meal arrangement for the entire group on this short trip.  Would it be possible to serve the group in the dining car between the breakfast and lunch seatings?  I expect a limited menu and short seating period.  I would provide a very generous tip for each member of the dining car crew. 


Amtrak has group travel discounts for groups over 20, and special charter stuff is handled on a case by case basis, I would suggest calling the group travel dept as a starting point.


I would call the group travel office right now. Even though it's too early for regular reservations, it may not be too early for group arrangements. Depending on your budget, they may be able to add an extra coach or additional dining car staff & provisions for your group. The sooner you start to set this up, the better.

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#6 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:30 PM

I agree to call Amtrak group travel because 40 people would require 10 tables which is rarely the number of tables being served at one time.  Also , August is peak travel time for the CZ so there will be a full complement of three sleeping cars with passengers expecting to eat lunch between Grandby and Glenwood Springs not considering the coach passengers.  There are five other meal times from Chicago to Emeryville so bringing on extra staff just to feed 40 passengers at one seating in addition to the other passengers is not financially feasible for Amtrak under the budget allowed by the US Congress.

 

Possibly if the group of passengers can be seated in one coach in an area together(each coach holds approximately 70 passengers), Amtrak might be able to arrange eat at your seat meal but the meal would probably have to be limited to one choice or possibly two.  Hot meals are currently being served at passenger coach seats on the Coast Starlight.  This would definitely have to be planned by calling Amtrak group travel and the SOONER THE BETTER.  Now is actually late to be planning such a large group for August.


Edited by Tennessee Traveler, 19 May 2017 - 02:37 PM.


#7 PVD

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:15 PM

Given enough time (and money) they can do some interesting things. NY Rangers playing at MSG right above NYP have had special private sections added to some NEC trains to go to Philly and possibly Washington, The Bruins have done it also.



#8 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:23 PM

If you don't mind I'd actually be curious to hear what you're able to report back to us based on your discussions with Amtrak.

We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier. 


#9 Triley

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:27 PM

Given enough time (and money) they can do some interesting things. NY Rangers playing at MSG right above NYP have had special private sections added to some NEC trains to go to Philly and possibly Washington, The Bruins have done it also.


There's also been the end Business Class car on the Acelas which have been chartered out, and some groups have even hosted a private consist (usually 1-2 coaches and a cafe).

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#10 PVD

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:52 PM

The tough part of this proposition is that its a very short trip during a busy time. I do hope it works, that is a beautiful stretch.



#11 RSG

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 12:41 AM

Now is actually late to be planning such a large group for August.

 

Too late for August 2017, but not late for August 2018, which is the OP's stated event date. Generally, 15 months out is just about the right time for advance planning of group travel & events (celebrity & bridezilla weddings aside). The clock really starts ticking at twelve months on down.


Edited by RSG, 20 May 2017 - 12:42 AM.


#12 RSG

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 01:02 AM

I agree with everyone that the group travel department is the place to start, and as stated, they will have the ability to make any reservations far in advance of any public availability.
 
I wouldn't be too optimistic about in-diner meal service; the short distance and the number of passengers would preclude a regular seating in most cases. However they may be able to arrange an at-seat meal service similar to that offered to coach passengers on some long distance trains. (This would be Amtrak's version of a box lunch: essentially a one-selection-fits-most option.)
 
Even if Amtrak is unable to accommodate the foodservice needs, another option would be to arrange for a traditional box lunch style meal through a catering company. Denver is a good locale for that, as there are many small and budding catering companies who specialize in smaller group functions.
 
I second the request to update the thread on what information is uncovered.

#13 Palmetto

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 06:22 AM

How about a brunch service at around 10:30?  Just about the middle of the trip.  Don't know if Amtrak would go for that or not.  

 

Or a delivery to the group at Fraser/Winter Park?  Granby might even be better; there's the Midtown Café right across the street from the station with a wide variety of breakfast/brunch/lunch items [they have a website] that might be able to cater in boxes. 



#14 niemi24s

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 04:39 PM

How about having a hearty breakfast before boarding in Denver and just tough it out until you get to Glenwood Springs 5 hours and 48 minutes later.  IMHO, trying to get 40 people fed just detracts from time better spent gawking at the scenery and the 35 tunnels along the way.

 

I'd devote pre-trip energy to arranging to get the windows cleaned really well before departing.  Nothing like bright sunlight on a dirty widow to ruin a good photo opportunity.  


Edited by niemi24s, 20 May 2017 - 09:56 PM.





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