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Cardinal out of Chicago


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#1 Guest_BoftheSeas_*

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 08:26 AM

Couple of quick questions regarding the Cardinal departing Chicago (booked in a roomette):

- how early can you board the train?

- will the dining car serve dinner that evening?

 

Thanks!



#2 Bob Dylan

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 08:40 AM

Since you're in a Sleeper, you'll be in the Lounge while waiting to board.

Generally the Call for boarding is 45 minutes before Departure time. I suggest you use a Redcap which are located outside the door of the Lounge. Let the desk attendant know you want one when you check in to the Lounge.

As for meals, remember the Card uses a Diner Light with Convection Oven heated Limited Menu. The same person fulfills the role of LSA,Waitperson,"Chef" and Buser.

Go for an early rez as you'll be eating Dinner once you cross into Indiana which is on Eastern Time but the Diner will be still operating on Central Time.

The Diner occupies half of the Lounge Car so is small. Try not to get the Table without a Window,it's not a pleasant expierence!

Also avoid the "Omelete" and the "French Toast Sticks" @ Breakfast, they're terrible!😣 The Lunch is usually very good if you order the Sandwich which is prepared from mostly Fresh ingredients.😙
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#3 JayPea

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 10:15 AM

I wholeheartedly agree with Bob Dylan about the omelette. I'm usually not a huge critic of Amtrak dining car food but the omelette is awful. The one time I rode the Cardinal, last year, I had one that was cold and rubbery. Kind of like trying to eat an inner tube that sat out all winter. I did have an Italian sandwich for lunch and it was very good.
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#4 Guest_BoftheSeas_*

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 11:49 AM

Thanks for the help...and breakfast advice.  I'll avoid the omelette and french toast!



#5 oregon pioneer

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 12:40 PM

I thought that dinner on the cardinal was quite good. The choices were limited to two, though, so you had to be happy with a generic chicken or beef dish. It took a long time to get served, but we were a happy bunch -- ordered wine, and had a good conversation with much laughter. Who cares if dinner lasts two hours when you don't need to go anywhere, and the company is good?


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I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.


#6 dogbert617

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Posted Yesterday, 03:22 AM

I thought that dinner on the cardinal was quite good. The choices were limited to two, though, so you had to be happy with a generic chicken or beef dish. It took a long time to get served, but we were a happy bunch -- ordered wine, and had a good conversation with much laughter. Who cares if dinner lasts two hours when you don't need to go anywhere, and the company is good?

That's good to know, since it's one of those trains that used to have a full service Heritage diner, and no longer does(along with the Silver Star, and 1-2 others?). Maybe I will survive okay having a meal on that train, if I do go through with my plan to ride the Cardinal east from Chicago someday. People often do complain about the food and service on the long distance trains that no longer have the full service diners, but I suspect I'll be fine despite this issue.



#7 Ryan

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Posted Yesterday, 04:27 AM

The Cardinal hasn’t had a full service diner in at least 10 years. I’m not sure that it ever did in the post-Superliner era.
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#8 PVD

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Posted Yesterday, 07:53 AM

The LSL doesn't have a full diner for a different reason, and hopefully will get a full diner back in the not to distant? future. The other LD train without a full service diner is the CONO, but that is Superliner not single level train so a Heritage Diner was not in play.



#9 Lonestar648

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Posted Yesterday, 10:24 AM

Didn't they take the Dining Car off the Star about the same time they took the Chef off the CONO?  Supposedly an experiment, with the Star sleeper passengers paying for food and no DC.  CONO got limited selection at the same fares.


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#10 PVD

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Posted Yesterday, 01:58 PM

CONO used to be full service with a chef, but that has nothing to do with "Heritage diners"



#11 Bob Dylan

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Posted Yesterday, 02:45 PM

The CONO uses a CCC as a Diner and as,was said the Chef was removed so the LSA acts as Chef ( Heat and Eat) and LSA and along with 1 Server slings the Limited Menu.

Not quiet as bad as the Diner Lite on the Card but Not Good either!😣 ( The Panama Ltd. used to have "The Kings Feast" on tjis Route and even Amtrak used to serve Excellent Regional Chow including Bourbon Pecan Pie for desert, still my Alll Time Fave!😙)
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#12 anuenue

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Posted Yesterday, 10:14 PM

Is this the current menu?  It has a code on the back cover that says AMT CARD 0517, so I'm guessing it's from May of this year.

 

https://www.amtrak.c...Menu-0517,0.pdf

 

Any suggestions to try or avoid on the lunch and dinner menus?


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#13 Acela150

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Posted Today, 01:29 AM

Last time I was on the Card about 5 years ago, the dinner was good, the breakfast wasn't bad either. And the burger I had at lunch was what it was. I don't really remember what it was like 10 years ago when I rode the Card, but I'm sure it wasn't bad. But honestly to me the LSA makes it for me. :) You get a good one, they make it enjoyable. 


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