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Silver Star Diner


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#1 Rail Freak

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 11:35 AM

Does anyone think the SS will ever have a Diner again?


A Rookie No More! But Still A Lot Of Track To Travel !!!
Silver Meteor #97(6) & #98 (4), Silver Star #91 (2), Capitol Limited #29 & #30(6), Empire Builder #7,#8,#27(2) &#28(4) Coast Starlight #11 (6) & #14(5), California Zephyr #5 (2) & #6 (5), Cascades #506, City of New Orleans #58, #59 (2), South West Chief #3 (4), Lake Shore Limited #49, Maple Leaf #63, San Joaquin #714, Pacific Surfliner #774, Texas Eagle #422 (2), Cardinal #50, Crescent #19, Sunset Limited #1. Approx. 60,169 miles & 41 states!

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#2 greatcats

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 11:40 AM

A definite maybe.
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.

#3 jis

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 11:40 AM

Does anyone think the SS will ever have a Diner again?

I think eventually it will after we have located the "head extraction from the butt" tool and applied it to Amtrak and its paymasters. It might be a little easier now that Mica has been relegated to the historical garbage dump ;)

#4 John Bobinyec

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 12:00 PM

There should be enough data comparing the Silver Star to the Silver Meteor by now to draw a conclusion about the merits of returning the diner to the Star.  Can anyone present a summary of the pluses and minuses, statistically, for the last year?

 

I would think that if the Star's data were compelling, then the diner would come off of the Meteor and if the Meteor's data were more favorable, then the Star would get its diner back.

 

jb


LDS Been On:

 

Old: Phoebe Snow (EL), Montrealer (AT), Laurentian (D&H)

RBBB: St. Petersburg - W. Palm Beach, Lakeland - Atlanta, Baltimore - NYC, Rochester, NY - Hartford, Albuquerque - Salt Lake City, Denver - Chicago

Modern: Ocean (VIA), Silver Star, Capitol Limited, Texas Eagle, Autotrain, Carolinian, Southwest Chief, California Zephyr, Lake Shore Limited

 


#5 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 12:23 PM

There should be enough data comparing the Silver Star to the Silver Meteor by now to draw a conclusion about the merits of returning the diner to the Star.  Can anyone present a summary of the pluses and minuses, statistically, for the last year?
 
I would think that if the Star's data were compelling, then the diner would come off of the Meteor and if the Meteor's data were more favorable, then the Star would get its diner back.
 
jb

I doubt the SM will lose it's diner even if the SS data is positive. That would cause some passengers to abandon the Florida trains entirely, as there would no longer be a train with a diner. In addition, it would not look good for Amtrak to have all of their brand new diners sitting around in a yard somewhere. I actually believe the "experiment" was just as much about if not more about equipment availability rather than experimenting. Therefore, I do believe the SS will get diners back at some point.
Trains travelled: Capitol Limited WAS-CHI, Cardinal CHI-WAS, Carolinian CLT-RGH, Coast Starlight SJC-LAX, Crescent BAL-ATL, Empire Builder MSP-CHI, Empire Service NYP-NFL+NYG-YNY, Lake Shore Limited BOS-ALB, Maple Leaf ALB-NYP, Northeast Regional FBG-RVR+WAS-BOS, Pacific Surfliner LAX-ANA, Pennsylvanian NYP-PGH, Piedmont RGH-DNC, Silver Meteor ORL-NYP, Silver Star FTL-WAS, 2016 Autumn Express NYP-HAR-NYP

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#6 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 12:53 PM

There should be enough data comparing the Silver Star to the Silver Meteor by now to draw a conclusion about the merits of returning the diner to the Star.  Can anyone present a summary of the pluses and minuses, statistically, for the last year?

 

I would think that if the Star's data were compelling, then the diner would come off of the Meteor and if the Meteor's data were more favorable, then the Star would get its diner back.

 

jb

 

I don't think both trains have to be with diner or without diner, I think it's good to have a variety rather than not having either train have a diner or requiring  roomette passengers on both trains to have to pay for Amtrak steaks (whether that means no diner or the option to get cheaper roomettes). Assuming we actually get "enough" diners, I don't really see a reason not to use them.

 

Then again, my bigger fear is no Silver Star (or Silver Meteor) at all.


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short Limited (NYP-CHI)
Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL)
Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX)
California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY)
City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)

 

Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 

https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/

 


#7 John Bobinyec

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 01:18 PM

Well, if one is to have a diner and the other not, I would like to see them switch off for a while, since I'm on the SS route.

 

jb


LDS Been On:

 

Old: Phoebe Snow (EL), Montrealer (AT), Laurentian (D&H)

RBBB: St. Petersburg - W. Palm Beach, Lakeland - Atlanta, Baltimore - NYC, Rochester, NY - Hartford, Albuquerque - Salt Lake City, Denver - Chicago

Modern: Ocean (VIA), Silver Star, Capitol Limited, Texas Eagle, Autotrain, Carolinian, Southwest Chief, California Zephyr, Lake Shore Limited

 


#8 jis

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 01:57 PM

I think it is likely that the governing rules that apply to decision making on this matter will change leading to a different decision, depending also on how things unfold in Congress. It is hard to tell what might happen and any determination of rules that the Boardman regime used may already be outdated.



#9 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 02:09 PM

In terms of the diners, there wasn't really any "decisions" to make, they just were short on cars. The only questions were which trains would have diners, which would have diner lites, and which would have just a cafe car.


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short Limited (NYP-CHI)
Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL)
Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX)
California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY)
City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)

 

Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 

https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/

 


#10 jis

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 02:14 PM

In terms of the diners, there wasn't really any "decisions" to make, they just were short on cars. The only questions were which trains would have diners, which would have diner lites, and which would have just a cafe car.

People from within Amtrak have communicated to NARP and others that actually there was more to it than that, though, the Diner availability situation presented an opportunity to carry out the experiment. That is what makes the speculation about what will happen next less than so straightforward.



#11 Anderson

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 03:56 PM

 

In terms of the diners, there wasn't really any "decisions" to make, they just were short on cars. The only questions were which trains would have diners, which would have diner lites, and which would have just a cafe car.

People from within Amtrak have communicated to NARP and others that actually there was more to it than that, though, the Diner availability situation presented an opportunity to carry out the experiment. That is what makes the speculation about what will happen next less than so straightforward.

 

Basically I've heard that there was a lot of pressure from Congress to try this (and Amtrak seemed to hint that they wanted negative feedback, albeit not in so many words) due to the food service mandates.  That plus the messy equipment situation at the time (the long CAF equipment delay was a major problem; the Heritage diners were supposed to be out of service as of several years ago) arguably made the experiment necessary.

The other thing to remember is that whereas a lot of the Meteor's traffic is through-traffic to Florida, the Star has a lot of turnover (MIA-TPA, TPA-ORL, and RGH-north are all big markets for it) while anecdotally even before the change traffic would often be a bit thin between Jacksonville/Savannah and Raleigh.


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Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#12 MARC Rider

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 04:32 PM

To really do the experiment properly, you would want to run a Silver Star with a diner, but without meals included in the cheaper sleeper fares.



#13 Rail Freak

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 04:39 PM

Let's say, I'm coming eastbound on the CL (sleeper),connecting to the SS on my way to Florida & we miss the connection. If they put me in a sleeper on that evenings SM, will I be entitled to meals in the Diner?


Edited by Rail Freak, 21 June 2017 - 04:56 PM.

A Rookie No More! But Still A Lot Of Track To Travel !!!
Silver Meteor #97(6) & #98 (4), Silver Star #91 (2), Capitol Limited #29 & #30(6), Empire Builder #7,#8,#27(2) &#28(4) Coast Starlight #11 (6) & #14(5), California Zephyr #5 (2) & #6 (5), Cascades #506, City of New Orleans #58, #59 (2), South West Chief #3 (4), Lake Shore Limited #49, Maple Leaf #63, San Joaquin #714, Pacific Surfliner #774, Texas Eagle #422 (2), Cardinal #50, Crescent #19, Sunset Limited #1. Approx. 60,169 miles & 41 states!

HAVE FUN


#14 jis

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 05:00 PM

One never knows what might happen. It is possible that Amtrak will tenderly ask for the difference in fare and if they can't collect it or they refund the sleeper part of the SS fare and put you in Coach :P Or they might just let you ride Sleeper on Sm and eat away. The more fundamental issue might be availability of Sleeper space in SM. It usually runs heavier in Sleeper than SS even though it has one additional car.



#15 Railroad Bill

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 07:00 PM

Because of a chance of a missed connection from the CL, we have almost always opted to take the Meteor so that we were guaranteed a sleeper to Fla.  We thought about trying the diner-less Star this winter just to see whether we liked it or not.
But since we enjoy corking around DC for museums, etc, the extra time and wait for the SM is not a problem.


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, 2013 Autumn Express Tour PHL, Silver Star, Sunset Limited -Acela Express-  2015 Autumn Express ALB  - Empire Service    

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Via Rail Corridor Trains Cobourg-Ottawa-Montreal,(round trip)  The Ocean (round trip)--   2,250 miles


#16 Rail Freak

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 08:27 PM

Because of a chance of a missed connection from the CL, we have almost always opted to take the Meteor so that we were guaranteed a sleeper to Fla.  We thought about trying the diner-less Star this winter just to see whether we liked it or not.
But since we enjoy corking around DC for museums, etc, the extra time and wait for the SM is not a problem.

Yeah, I feel the same. Plus, if I miss the SS , it's not a given to get a sleeper on the SM!!! I cant do coach over night!!!


A Rookie No More! But Still A Lot Of Track To Travel !!!
Silver Meteor #97(6) & #98 (4), Silver Star #91 (2), Capitol Limited #29 & #30(6), Empire Builder #7,#8,#27(2) &#28(4) Coast Starlight #11 (6) & #14(5), California Zephyr #5 (2) & #6 (5), Cascades #506, City of New Orleans #58, #59 (2), South West Chief #3 (4), Lake Shore Limited #49, Maple Leaf #63, San Joaquin #714, Pacific Surfliner #774, Texas Eagle #422 (2), Cardinal #50, Crescent #19, Sunset Limited #1. Approx. 60,169 miles & 41 states!

HAVE FUN


#17 dlagrua

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 05:16 PM

We will never take a long distance trip on a train without a diner. The diner is not only for a sit down meal but provides a break from sitting in your room or in a coach chair. Its has the effect of shortening the trip. If a diner is ever returned to the Silver Star, I hope that the food quality is better than the fodder that they serve on the Cardinal and CONO routes.  All the folks that we sat with on our last CZ trip gave thumbs down to the food on those routes.. Actually we believe that the food is passable IF you ask the cook/table server what is good and what isn't? He/she eats that food too so they should know.



#18 dogbert617

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 11:04 PM

We will never take a long distance trip on a train without a diner. The diner is not only for a sit down meal but provides a break from sitting in your room or in a coach chair. Its has the effect of shortening the trip. If a diner is ever returned to the Silver Star, I hope that the food quality is better than the fodder that they serve on the Cardinal and CONO routes.  All the folks that we sat with on our last CZ trip gave thumbs down to the food on those routes.. Actually we believe that the food is passable IF you ask the cook/table server what is good and what isn't? He/she eats that food too so they should know.

Just out of curiosity, I was wondering how downgraded the food was on the Star, CONO, and Cardinal? It is similar to the cafe cars, but with a few options that are a tad better than typical cafe car fare? Too bad to hear about this, since I was thinking at some point about riding the Cardinal and CONO to try riding those trains for the first time. I guess I should bring a few snacks/food of my own that doesn't require refrigeration(i.e. granola bars), to survive how mediocre the food is on Cardinal and CONO?



#19 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 05:27 AM

 

We will never take a long distance trip on a train without a diner. The diner is not only for a sit down meal but provides a break from sitting in your room or in a coach chair. Its has the effect of shortening the trip. If a diner is ever returned to the Silver Star, I hope that the food quality is better than the fodder that they serve on the Cardinal and CONO routes.  All the folks that we sat with on our last CZ trip gave thumbs down to the food on those routes.. Actually we believe that the food is passable IF you ask the cook/table server what is good and what isn't? He/she eats that food too so they should know.

Just out of curiosity, I was wondering how downgraded the food was on the Star, CONO, and Cardinal? It is similar to the cafe cars, but with a few options that are a tad better than typical cafe car fare? Too bad to hear about this, since I was thinking at some point about riding the Cardinal and CONO to try riding those trains for the first time. I guess I should bring a few snacks/food of my own that doesn't require refrigeration(i.e. granola bars), to survive how mediocre the food is on Cardinal and CONO?

Everyone has different opinions & about the food on trains, just like for everything in life. Some hate it, some like it & some are ok with it.

You can find the menus for each train on Amtrak's website.


Edited by AmtrakBlue, 24 June 2017 - 08:54 AM.

2011: Jun: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // Nov: WIL=>WAS=>CHI=>PRO (NER=>CL=>CZ)
2012: Apr: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // May(NTD): WIL=>PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>PAO=>PHL (Keystone) // Aug: WIL=>WAS (NER) / BWI=>WIL (NER) // Oct(Gathering): PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>HAR=>PHL (Keystone) / SEPTA, NJT, PATCO, River Line, Princeton Dinky
2013: May(NTD): WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct (Gathering): WIL=>CHI (Card) / CHI=>MKE=>GLN=>CHI() / CHI=>JOL=>CHI () / CHI=>WIL(CL=>NER) / CTA, Metra. SEPTA (WIL=>NRK) // Nov:  PHL=>PHL (Autumn Express) 
2014: May(NTD):  WIL=>PHL=>WIL(NER) // May:  WIL=>BOS=>WIL(NER) day trip

2014: Oct(Gathering): WIL=>NYP=>TOL(pd-NER=>LSL) / TOL=>CHI=>LAX=>EMY(pts-LSL=>SWC=>CS) / EMY=>CHI=>TOL (pts-CZ-CL) / TOL=>WAS=>WIL(pd-CL=>NER)
2015: May: CHI=>CIN(pd-Card) / CIN=>WIL(pts Card)
2015;  Oct(Gathering):  WIL=>WAS(Acela) / ALX=>WAS(NER) / WAS=>BAL(Acela) / WAS=>WIL(NER)

2016: Mar: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct:  WIL=>NYP=>NYP=>WIL (Autumn Express) 


#20 Maverickstation

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 08:15 AM

As for the Silver Star getting a full diner back, I would not count on it despite the arrival of the Viewliner Diners.

For decades Amtrak has played around with dining service on the Florida trains including one time that full meal service was only offered south of Washington,and another

where they offered "buffet style" service.

 

As for the Cardinal and the CONO, they have the most limited offering with the CONO southbound the most limited of all.

 

There are some options that Amtrak should consider from the VIA rail playbook.

 

The Ocean uses catered food, but it is reheated, plated, and presented on-board, in a traditional diner, with full a wait staff (see pictures below).

 

The Canadian, the only non-tourist  train in North America with a full cooked on board menu, adds a coach class diner during the summer peak only, during the bulk

of the year coach class uses the cafe car which has some entree choices, similar to what was added to to the Silver Star cafe menu.

    

As for which train will have a full diner restored, my money is on the Lake Shore.

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