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Chefs being removed off Capitol Limited


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#21 chrsjrcj

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 06:43 PM

Any eta for the removal? The Cap has been on my near term bucket list because its the only Chicago to East Coast train with a full service diner.

Seeing this trend is exactly why I booked a trip on the Sunset Limited next month.

Edited by chrsjrcj, 29 March 2018 - 06:44 PM.


#22 GBNorman

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 06:46 PM

Lest we forget that the Simplified Dining Service (which translated to "fanese" as Diner-Lite) proposed during the Bush 45 administration in response to a Micascope charade, was to convert all Diners and Lounges to Food Service cars. The rebuilt cars would be able to offer all F&B items. They would be assigned to trains based on travel demand. During slack periods, one such car would suffice; peak periods would be assigned two.

Abolishing the Chef position on 29-30, Capitol Limited, is a continuation of same previously affecting 58-59, City of New Orleans, and leading towards implementing such system wide.

Oh well, at least I have my memories of extensive travel during the 60's on the "great trains". I'm sorry that the youngsters around here missed out.
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#23 cpotisch

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 07:09 PM

Is the ‘chef removal’ confirmed from Amtrak?


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#24 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 07:25 PM

 

 

 

I 100% believe you that the CL was using a CCC the times you’ve taken it, I’m just trying to figure out if that’s always the case.

 

 

It's been standard practice to use the CCC as a full diner on the Capitol for many many years. Like 10? I've ridden the Capitol many times in that span and it's always been the CCC. (I even rode in the famous aisle facing booths! the horror! actually... I kinda like them... don't tell anyone or I'll be banned). 

 

As I said.. the last time I rode the Capitol... and per his post above the last time Seaboard rode, the CCC car was being used as both the diner and the cafe' - meaning the only staffed food service car was the CCC car. Coach Passengers would walk through the un-staffed SSL and enter the cafe side of the CCC car. This eliminated an LSA, since 1 LSA could handle both the Cafe, and the Dinning car sales.  

 

When I saw this in person, the waiter and waitress were excellent and everything worked very well.  


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#25 IndyLions

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 09:21 PM

If this is the direction they are going - why did they bother to order dining cars? What a waste. They should have ordered vending machine cars if that was their intention. Then when the vending machine cars were delayed 5 years we wouldn’t be disappointed


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#26 cpotisch

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 09:53 PM

If this is the direction they are going - why did they bother to order dining cars? What a waste. They should have ordered vending machine cars if that was their intention. Then when the vending machine cars were delayed 5 years we wouldn’t be disappointed


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The new Viewliner II diners are single-level and can't be used on the Capitol Limited. That said, there has been talk of a possible conversion to single-level cars on the CL, in which case V-IIs would probably be added and used as diner-lites.


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#27 Lonestar648

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 10:22 PM

The CL has certainly changed for the worse over the years.  I remember the DC being full for dinner with three seatings or more.  Both Sleeping Car sold out and Coaches well populated.  During the 1990's and early 2000's, I traveled more weeks than not on the Cap CHI/WAS.  Sad seeing service degrading as a regular passenger, but I also feel for those who made their living on the CL for decades.


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#28 Larry H.

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 10:54 PM

As the saying goes, "Its no way to run a railroad".. Is the new CEO who likes to cut money behind this?  Running off passengers is not an improvement in my book.  For quite a while the Diners was one of the few reasons to take the train, now they have ruined that as well. 



#29 Seaboard92

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 01:12 AM

Honestly both times I've been on the Cap as a passenger and the one time I've been on the LSL as a passenger the diner has not really done brisk business at breakfast. And generally I go at eight am or so.

Now dinner wise the cap seams to have decent patronage but remember it's only half the car. So it doesn't take a lot to make it appear to be full. While the last time I was on the Lake Shore I had a table to myself and there were plenty of empty tables at dinner.

The diner with the best performance I've experienced was the Coast Starlight. Even the abbreviated dinner into LAX was well patronized. All meals in both the PPC and diner were full.
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#30 Maverickstation

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 05:18 AM

Regardless of the type of car used, both the TE and CL have (up to this point) the regular National Dining Car Menu, and a chef on board.

 

If the CL looses it's chef, the menu could wind up like the CONO, which would be the worst case or the Lake Shore which would be the best case

in this scenario, the Cardinal being the middle of this pack.

 

The timing for this would make sense since the Spring menu changes are due.

 

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#31 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 07:03 AM

Is the ‘chef removal’ confirmed from Amtrak?


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How would they "confirm" this. I highly doubt Amtrak would put out a press release that they are removing chefs from trains. Maybe a third party would come out with the details. Amtrak did indirectly announce the dining car was removed from the SS when they advertised of lower priced roomettes.

 

As the saying goes, "Its no way to run a railroad".. Is the new CEO who likes to cut money behind this?  Running off passengers is not an improvement in my book.  For quite a while the Diners was one of the few reasons to take the train, now they have ruined that as well. 

 

Are they running off passengers? Has ridership on the Silver Star taken a nosedive?

 

https://www.railpass...les/3458/16.pdf

 

The train lost maybe 5-6% in FY2016 but rose back up in FY2017. Less than 10% of SS (35,624 of 373,372) passengers on that train was a sleeper car passenger to begin with (and that is on a train when the sleepers are the cheapest since they are without meals included). On the CL, it is closer to 20% (44,984 of 231,214). 

 

It may surprise you but not everyone thinks Amtrak LD trains are restaurants. If they money saved can be used to start some more routes I think this is a worthy sacrifice. There's your jobs back.


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#32 dlagrua

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 07:57 AM

If chefs and a full dining service are eliminated system wide; we will bail and do our vacations as road trips. The decidon to put an airline executive in charge of Amtrak is a bad one. Airlines had the heat and serve food because they are short trips. On an overnight you need a good meal.

Edited by dlagrua, 30 March 2018 - 07:59 AM.


#33 PVD

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 08:16 AM

The fallacy of that statement is that there are some very long airplane flights and they are quite capable of serving good food. As I have said before, they can do it if they want to. At this point, they don't.


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#34 Lonestar648

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 08:26 AM

Do the airlines care if the coach passengers eat on all day flights from the East coast to Hawaii.  No.  Compare this to a Pittsburgh/LGA flight in the 60's when they served a full meal in less than an hour.  So from an airline mentality, why would Amtrak provide meal service, except "first class" re-heat and serve.



#35 spinnaker

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 08:40 AM

The CL has certainly changed for the worse over the years.

 

 

Hey they finally added RORO bike service at all of the stops.    So there have been some improvements.  Don't know why it took so long for that one.    If the CL left Pittsburgh at a decent hour I bet they would get more riders from those riding the GAP..    Arrival in Pittsburgh from the east is not too awful bad  but not sure if I would want to ride through the city at that time of night if I didn't live here.



#36 jis

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 09:14 AM

Do the airlines care if the coach passengers eat on all day flights from the East coast to Hawaii.  No.  Compare this to a Pittsburgh/LGA flight in the 60's when they served a full meal in less than an hour.  So from an airline mentality, why would Amtrak provide meal service, except "first class" re-heat and serve.

The airlines that fly to Hawaii do make food available to Coach Class passengers either complementary or for purchase, Amtrak makes food available for Coach passengers only to purchase. So what is the difference? I think you are barking up the wrong tree on this one. ;)



#37 PRR 60

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 09:46 AM

I'm getting the sense that when Mr. Anderson asks why something is done in a certain way, the stock answer, "that's the way we do it here." does not fly.  In this case, he probably looked at Amtrak long distance food deleivery using a chef and servers, compared it to DL first class meals prepared and served by a flight attendant, and gasped.  


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#38 railiner

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 11:10 AM

Besides basic nourishment, having a full service dining car on transcontinental trains also in a way provides "entertainment value" for some.  Something to break up the tedium of a long journey for many, is the walk to the diner, reading the menu and ordering, and having several courses served to you.  Then a stop in the lounge or return to ones space.   And repeated several times, with different items ordered each time.

 

So if diner's are removed, and self-serve food counters remain, that will take away a lot of the pleasure of train travel for many....


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#39 Lonestar648

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 11:11 AM

A report a few years ago on the cost of food service for Domestic First Class showed the average Dinner cost the airlines over $100 per passenger.  The airline catering companies still charge those same rates or even higher.  A flight with 16 first class seats pays out over $1600 for meals up front.  In Coach meals for purchase, i have not seen a report of the cost verses revenue.  I do know that when a full meal was served the airlines paid approximately $35 per passenger.  So cutting meals saved each flight $3500 or more depending on the number of passengers.  The number of flight attendants is based on safety standards based on the number of passengers so eliminating food service did not save anything in wages.  So if Anderson is looking at Amtrak with airline glasses, he sees the Dining Car as unnecessary.  Just have the SCA bring the heat and serve meal to each room at meal time.  Let the Coach passengers purchase Cafe items from the Lounge, therefore the DC can be eliminated totally.



#40 PVD

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 11:42 AM

Never seen a cost number that high, even with alcohol factored in. Some airlines exceed the mandated minimums on cabin crew on some long haul routes with a higher percentage of first and bc passengers, decreased service might save on labor costs, but would be a huge competitive disadvantage in securing the high yield passengers.  One passenger at FC is way more than the FA costs.....






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