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For those in roomettes: have dinner in your room or with others


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#21 ehbowen

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 01:15 PM

If that's the real issue why don't they simply say so? In my experience most food on Amtrak isn't anywhere near hot enough to burn skin. When assembled to go it's packaged and repackaged to the point that it's virtually impossible to spill it on yourself. The hottest liquid in the diner is probably the hot tea and they let almost anyone walk away with that. I'd have to be Mr. Bean levels of klutzy and curious to harm myself with AmChow.


I have to agree with DA here; I just came back from the diner following our SCA who was taking a room service lunch back to the accessible bedroom. Everything was packed in plastic and carried in a large paper bag with handles. The days of Pullman porters juggling a tray of china and silver between cars are long gone.
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#22 jis

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 02:00 PM

 

As far as not allowing you to order meals to go - They do not want you to be carrying plates of hot food ad liquids thru the moving train and between cars. Yes, maybe you have been on many trains and are used to it, but many passengers are not. (Whenever I get coffee or tea at the café, I drink it at a table there.) The SCA is much more used to moving around and carrying thing on a moving train than most passengers.


If that's the real issue why don't they simply say so? In my experience most food on Amtrak isn't anywhere near hot enough to burn skin. When assembled to go it's packaged and repackaged to the point that it's virtually impossible to spill it on yourself. The hottest liquid in the diner is probably the hot tea and they let almost anyone walk away with that. I'd have to be Mr. Bean levels of klutzy and curious to harm myself with AmChow.

 

Yeah, considering that they do not really give you plates of anything to carry away anyway, this is just making up excuses. From the lounge what I get is a wobbly cardboard box with a Hamburger and a Pizza - sizzling hot - precariously balanced on it. :)

 

I (and many others) routinely carry hot tea/coffee and entire meals on trains like the Silver Star (hot Pizza/Burger and such) from the Lounge Car to my seat or room, sometimes several cars away. Is Tea/Coffee from lounge somehow less prone to burning people than food from Diner?



#23 Lonestar648

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 04:01 PM

Maybe they don't want passengers waiting in the DC for their food clogging up the aisle for the servers and passengers wanting to be seated.

Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
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#24 Dakota 400

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 04:34 PM

"Dinner in the Diner" is one of the things that makes traveling by train so attractive to me.  Always, I dine in the Diner and am pleased to share my table with fellow travelers from all over the world.  The vast majority of time, my conversations with others have been interesting.  

 

I prefer a later dining time for dinner.  For Breakfast, it depends upon the itinerary.  Going East on the EB from Seattle, I want to be an early bird for breakfast so that I can get to the SSL for a good seat as the train travels through Glacier National Park.  That same thought applies for a lunch reservation time.



#25 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 04:43 PM

Maybe they don't want passengers waiting in the DC for their food clogging up the aisle for the servers and passengers wanting to be seated.


If that were the case they could simply seat them out of the way in a booth or ask them to wait in the SSL. No need to send passengers all the way back to the sleeper to go looking for the SCA.

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#26 Lonestar648

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 05:08 PM

Another thought, who boxes up the to go meals? The cook, servers, or SCA? I can not remember because I haven't really paid attention, but does the to go food come up the dumb waiter or up the stairs? Just trying to find something in the process that requires the SCA.

Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
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#27 jis

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 05:17 PM

Another thought, who boxes up the to go meals? The cook, servers, or SCA? I can not remember because I haven't really paid attention, but does the to go food come up the dumb waiter or up the stairs? Just trying to find something in the process that requires the SCA.

What about trains that have no dumb waiters or stairs? ;) The Diner Staff packs the bags and puts them out for the SCA to pick up on the single level trains. I don;t know what happens in Superliners since I seldom ride them.



#28 Rail Freak

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 05:18 PM

Once, I remember, a fella in the roomette across from me took off for the DC to get his dinner because he didn't want to tip the SCA! Later, he returned empty handed! They told him to get his SCA to get it, they were too busy & crowded! Makes sense to me!!!


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#29 jis

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 05:21 PM

Once, I remember, a fella in the roomette across from me took off for the DC to get his dinner because he didn't want to tip the SCA! Later, he returned empty handed! They told him to get his SCA to get it, they were too busy & crowded! Makes sense to me!!!

He does not *have* to tip the SCA just because he got dinner ;)

 

OTOH, I tip the SCA even if they do nothing other than just be pleasant and smile and say hello. Sometimes even they are surprised. :)


Edited by jis, 30 May 2017 - 05:22 PM.


#30 nshvlcat

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 07:38 PM

On my recent trip to Los Angeles on the SW Chief, I had all meals delivered to me in my roomette by the SCA.  I gave her a $2 tip each time.  In LA, I gave her an additional $20 for her excellent service as an SCA.  Her name was Cynthia and she was exceptional!

 

On the return trip to New Orleans via Sunset Ltd, I had all meals in the Dining Car. and always left a minimum $2 tip for the server.  I was fortunate to have another very exceptional SCA named Jay.  I tipped him $20 at the end of the trip.


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#31 zephyr17

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 08:49 PM

They'll often package up a dessert to go, though on request.


Edited by zephyr17, 31 May 2017 - 08:50 PM.

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#32 Triley

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 06:09 AM

Take as early a seating as you can, to avoid their running out of your favorite. I note that the crews ALWAYS have available to them the steak or other more desirable entrees, though.

Interesting. I had not noticed that previously but I'll keep an eye out next time.

 

They shouldn't act that way, but they want to get the car cleaned and prepped for the following morning. Some attendants are on board for up to 6 days at a time, working up to 18 hours a day. I see where they're coming from, but they should still be more polite about it. Anyway, you could also head to the dining car and order a meal to go, if you would prefer to have it in your room, but don't want to bother your attendant.

At first I wondered who you were claiming was working eighteen hours a day six days in a row. Then I remembered you previously made a similar claim about yourself. Except that so far as I could tell you weren't ordered or even begged to do so. Instead you chose to do it yourself. In fact you seemed to treat it as some sort of game. If you're snapping at customers from eighteen hours of fatigue, which you willingly brought upon yourself, then whose fault is it really? As for sleeper customers asking dining staff to prepare their meals to go, in my experience the dining staff will decline. They will instead tell you to go ask your SCA to get it. Precisely why they refuse I cannot say. Perhaps it is some sort of union issue involving division of labor.

Why are you dragging what I've worked in to it? The only one treating something as a game I see is yourself... The lounge car (as you know) is open from 6am-12am, and the LSA has three breaks. So if the Cafe is open for 18 hours, aside from breaks, they're actually awake for closer to 20 hours, because they do need time to you know, shower and relax before bed, and get dressed and get the car set up in the morning. And that is how the job is, but you already know that.

If you are...mistaken and thought I said 18 hours per day for 6 days straight, I suggest you re-read what said, and take notes where I said up to 18 hours per day.

Two can play your game Chris. ;)

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#33 the_traveler

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 02:05 PM

I believe that the SCA writes and drops the meal tickets, and then bags the food to go. I think I've seen the SCA go down the stairs in Superliners, but most certainly bag up the meal at the serving station - including grabbing the cans of soda and the desert.

Edited by the_traveler, 02 June 2017 - 02:07 PM.

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#34 Everydaymatters

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 04:51 PM

I always go to the diner for all of the reasons already stated.  However, on my last trip on the CZ I did have most meals in my room.  The SCA was right there for every meal asking if I was ready to order, and the two times I had breakfast in the diner, he came looking for me.  I thought that was kind of comical.  But the times he brought the meals, there were always extras.  Two glasses of iced tea, two cups of coffee, more of this or that.


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#35 LookingGlassTie

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 06:41 PM

I've never booked a roomette before but if I ever do, I would have meals in the diner.  I figure that I would have ample time alone in my room.   



#36 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 09:37 PM

The lounge car (as you know) is open from 6am-12am, and the LSA has three breaks. So if the Cafe is open for 18 hours, aside from breaks, they're actually awake for closer to 20 hours, because they do need time to you know, shower and relax before bed, and get dressed and get the car set up in the morning. And that is how the job is, but you already know that.


Are you stating that Amtrak's standard employee scheduling system assigns one single person to run the snack bar as part of a massive eighteen hour shift (excepting meals and bathroom breaks) from 6AM to 12AM for several days in a row?

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 02 June 2017 - 09:38 PM.

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#37 CCC1007

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 11:01 PM

The lounge car (as you know) is open from 6am-12am, and the LSA has three breaks. So if the Cafe is open for 18 hours, aside from breaks, they're actually awake for closer to 20 hours, because they do need time to you know, shower and relax before bed, and get dressed and get the car set up in the morning. And that is how the job is, but you already know that.

Are you stating that Amtrak's standard employee scheduling system assigns one single person to run the snack bar as part of a massive eighteen hour shift (excepting meals and bathroom breaks) from 6AM to 12AM for several days in a row?
That is what I understand, DA

#38 Triley

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 11:36 PM

The lounge car (as you know) is open from 6am-12am, and the LSA has three breaks. So if the Cafe is open for 18 hours, aside from breaks, they're actually awake for closer to 20 hours, because they do need time to you know, shower and relax before bed, and get dressed and get the car set up in the morning. And that is how the job is, but you already know that.

Are you stating that Amtrak's standard employee scheduling system assigns one single person to run the snack bar as part of a massive eighteen hour shift (excepting meals and bathroom breaks) from 6AM to 12AM for several days in a row?

Yes. With few exceptions if you go out as the LSA/Lounge or LSA/Diner, or any other job position, that is yours and yours alone for the duration of the entire trip. The only notable exception is the Auto Train, where they work something different in each direction.

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#39 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 06:35 AM

I'd be uncomfortable sitting directly across and/or right next to complete strangers. If I was in a group that could fill the table it would be different. I'm pretty sure the only meal I ever ate in the diner car was breakfast and the car isn't anywhere near full that time of day.

 

I'm not even comfortable with sitting next to a complete stranger in coach. I'm OK with the SSL since you are right in front of the window though although I'd certainly like some elbow room too if I could. If it weren't for the SSL I'd go completely nuts.


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#40 Lonestar648

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 03:37 PM

On the trains I have traveled recently, I know that the Cafe opens at approximately 6:00 - 6:30AM with the same person who closes the cafe at night.  They do take about an hour break for meals during the slower times.  The Dining Car staff is the same from start to end.  Now the 421/422 Sleeper does change SCA in San Antonio.  Way back, Amtrak experimented with a crew change in Pittsburgh for the "Three Rivers" that ran CHI - NYP.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 197,000




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