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Silver Star: What to do for meals without Diner?


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#21 RPC

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 12:25 PM

Okay, I'll admit I haven't done this (yet), but it intrigues me: if riding through Tampa, get off in Lakeland, walk three blocks to any of a plethora of restaurants, walk back, and reboard the train going the other way. It looks like you'd have just over an hour and a half if the Star is holding to schedule. It's perfectly timed for lunch southbound and just a tad early for supper northbound. You could even save some $ if you switch between coach and sleeper...



#22 cpotisch

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 01:25 PM

Okay, I'll admit I haven't done this (yet), but it intrigues me: if riding through Tampa, get off in Lakeland, walk three blocks to any of a plethora of restaurants, walk back, and reboard the train going the other way. It looks like you'd have just over an hour and a half if the Star is holding to schedule. It's perfectly timed for lunch southbound and just a tad early for supper northbound. You could even save some $ if you switch between coach and sleeper...

There is the risk that no one has a ticket from Lakeland South and the train doesn't stop. Otherwise, it's a genuinely good idea.


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service

 

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#23 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 05:16 PM

I did it once from Philly to central Florida (Winter Park) and thought it would be awful. However, I started in Philly knowing that there would be plenty of food choices at 30th Street Station. I got a chef salad from Salad Works for my main meal, plus I had an orange and some snacks they gave me in my hotel when I told them I would be on a train without a dining car overnight and they looked at me in horror and starting filling a bag with food for me for my dinner. :)

 

Mystic River Dragon - you didn't tell us which hotel this was! I assure you, we want to know!

Hilton Garden Inn in Center City Philly. I remember having the breakfast buffet, and then asking the waiter if he minded if I took an orange with me because of being on a train overnight with no dining car, at which point he got a bag and put a yogurt and some other snacks in it. So it wasn't completely free (unless I had a breakfast coupon, and I can't remember), but it makes a good story! And I've known the waiter for years--that is my local getaway hotel when I need a break, and he is one of their veterans, and wonderful (very much like our favorite SCAs! :))



#24 Chey

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 05:46 PM

Hilton Garden Inn in Center City Philly. I remember having the breakfast buffet, and then asking the waiter if he minded if I took an orange with me because of being on a train overnight with no dining car, at which point he got a bag and put a yogurt and some other snacks in it. So it wasn't completely free (unless I had a breakfast coupon, and I can't remember), but it makes a good story! And I've known the waiter for years--that is my local getaway hotel when I need a break, and he is one of their veterans, and wonderful (very much like our favorite SCAs! :))


Thank you! I know I'm not the only one who has noted it now...

Hilton Garden Inns are one of my favorites anyway - what an awesome way to treat customers!

#25 dlagrua

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 06:16 PM

 

Going to/from Orlando, I only take the SM so I know I can get a decent meal.

Same here. Ever since they ditched the diner, I have refused to take the Star. I prefer it to the Meteor, but I just can't go 30 hours eating out of an AmCafe.

 

I share the sentiment but if I had to take the star, I would grab a meal before boarding, pack a cooler with some packets of Half and half/ instant Starbucks espresso, qt of milk, a few slices of bread, some Hummus and maybe some cereal.  If it were lunch or dinner then its some rich hot chowders that can be heated with a lower wattage immersion heater or and/or some Subway sandwiches. All this assumes that you are traveling in a sleeper but much of this can be done in coach.



#26 Lonestar648

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 02:02 AM

I had said I wouldn't take the SS so this week a situation arose that may require me to go to Tampa.  Do I take the SM to ORL and rent a car or take the SS to TPA and improvise my meals in my room. I just do not want to give revenue to the SS showing the suits that people will travel without a DC.



#27 OBS

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 06:34 AM

I had said I wouldn't take the SS so this week a situation arose that may require me to go to Tampa.  Do I take the SM to ORL and rent a car or take the SS to TPA and improvise my meals in my room. I just do not want to give revenue to the SS showing the suits that people will travel without a DC.

Or take the SM and the connecting bus service to TPA...



#28 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 07:31 AM

I had said I wouldn't take the SS so this week a situation arose that may require me to go to Tampa.  Do I take the SM to ORL and rent a car or take the SS to TPA and improvise my meals in my room. I just do not want to give revenue to the SS showing the suits that people will travel without a DC.

 

Wow. You'd really go to that length and spend that much money on a rental car (not to mention the extra money you'd spend on the Amtrak steaks) to prove a point? 

 

 

 

 

Or take the SM and the connecting bus service to TPA...

 

 

Two hour bus ride or Amtrak cafe food? 


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#29 jis

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 09:20 AM

Truth be told, even in my daily life off the train my dinner often consists of something similar to a pizza or some hot dogs or a burger or other sandwich and fries/chips. So no big deal doing one dinner and a lunch using Amtrak Cafe Chow for me. I do understand however that others are richer and rightfully insist on a higher standard of food every day of their life, or they have legitimate medical reasons for such.

 

Consequently I have never had any trouble using the SS if the schedule and route suites better for my needs. But as they say, each to his or her own.


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#30 cpotisch

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 09:58 AM

 

I had said I wouldn't take the SS so this week a situation arose that may require me to go to Tampa.  Do I take the SM to ORL and rent a car or take the SS to TPA and improvise my meals in my room. I just do not want to give revenue to the SS showing the suits that people will travel without a DC.

 

Wow. You'd really go to that length and spend that much money on a rental car (not to mention the extra money you'd spend on the Amtrak steaks) to prove a point? 

How is he spending money on Amtrak steaks if meals are included? And he's not avoiding the Star just to prove a point - some people want actual food when they're stuck on a train for 25+ hours.


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#31 GBNorman

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 10:00 AM


...Do I take the SM to ORL and rent a car or take the SS to TPA and improvise my meals in my room.

 
Wow. You'd really go to that length and spend that much money on a rental car (not to mention the extra money you'd spend on the Amtrak steaks) to prove a point?
Volks, how say we cut Mr. Lonestar some slack.

For all anyone knows, Mr. Lonestar has need for an auto to "get around" at final destination. Perhaps "two seats" instead of three (Meteor, bus, auto) is simply more convenient.

Also, last time I checked, Orlando is the only station in Florida with an on-premises outlet (Hertz) - none of this "on call" stuff.

Now so far as "Steak over Snack Bar b**f", that's a personal choice.

#32 Skyline

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 10:01 AM

My grape juice is more popularly called Cab Sauv. 


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#33 JRR

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:45 PM

Or my wife’s Chardonnay! (I stick with melting the ice with a good bourbon!


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#34 jis

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:51 PM

I go for the Muscato if I can find it. usually easier to find a Chard or a Cab Sauv.



#35 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 02:13 PM

 

 

I had said I wouldn't take the SS so this week a situation arose that may require me to go to Tampa.  Do I take the SM to ORL and rent a car or take the SS to TPA and improvise my meals in my room. I just do not want to give revenue to the SS showing the suits that people will travel without a DC.

 

Wow. You'd really go to that length and spend that much money on a rental car (not to mention the extra money you'd spend on the Amtrak steaks) to prove a point? 

How is he spending money on Amtrak steaks if meals are included? And he's not avoiding the Star just to prove a point - some people want actual food when they're stuck on a train for 25+ hours.

 

 

Fare is more expensive. 

 

I love the way people think café car food isn't "actual food".


Trains Traveled: Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA), Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Lake Shore 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), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
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#36 Lonestar648

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 02:42 PM

After discussing with my cousin who lives in Orlando, the plan is the SM, rental car ORL (would need one in Tampa anyway), spend night with them and drive to Tampa area in morning. Just waiting for client to confirm needing me on site. Actually, this saves me a couple hotel nights.

My concern with Sleeper passengers taking the SS is that Amtrak will think the DC could be eliminated across the board, the people will still pay and ride. As we see with other things, once eliminated, it is gone! I just enjoy, most of the time, the Dining Car experience. Yes, I have had plenty of cafe food during my years on Amtrak, that is all the TR had, which I rode many times, same with the Kentucky Cardinal, though that was not even cafe. Those two trains never had a Diner to begin with.

#37 cpotisch

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 03:41 PM

 

 

 

I had said I wouldn't take the SS so this week a situation arose that may require me to go to Tampa.  Do I take the SM to ORL and rent a car or take the SS to TPA and improvise my meals in my room. I just do not want to give revenue to the SS showing the suits that people will travel without a DC.

 

Wow. You'd really go to that length and spend that much money on a rental car (not to mention the extra money you'd spend on the Amtrak steaks) to prove a point? 

How is he spending money on Amtrak steaks if meals are included? And he's not avoiding the Star just to prove a point - some people want actual food when they're stuck on a train for 25+ hours.

 

 

Fare is more expensive. 

 

I love the way people think café car food isn't "actual food".

 

Technically the cafe is serving actual food. But the offerings are hardly worthy of being called 'full meals'. For me, taking the Star would be a 31 hour ride (I go almost end to end). I don't want to be eating microwave pizza ad cup noodles, for that long. I would probably have to bring a bunch of snacks in a cooler, and have some meals delivered to the train.

 

And for the record, for two people going Delray Beach to NYP in a roomette, the Star totals out at $60 cheaper than the Meteor - $460 vs $520. That's really not a big difference for that much of a trip. And Lonestar is right, if management sees that the Star has good ridership and revenue, it will just reinforce the idea that these kinds of cuts are profitable. I certainly don't want to be stuck on the CZ for 52 hours without a dining car.


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service

 

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#38 jis

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 03:59 PM

Management has already pretty much decided that the Star experiment is at least not a failure if not an outright success. That horse has bolted the barn quite a while back. Most people who ride the Star really don;t care much this way or that. Would having a Diner be better? Absolutely. Is its absence a showstopper. Not for most people.

 

As for why anyone in their right mind would ride the Star from Delray Beach to New York even with a Diner? I have no clue! ;)


Edited by jis, 13 April 2018 - 04:01 PM.


#39 Anthony V

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 04:35 PM

After discussing with my cousin who lives in Orlando, the plan is the SM, rental car ORL (would need one in Tampa anyway), spend night with them and drive to Tampa area in morning. Just waiting for client to confirm needing me on site. Actually, this saves me a couple hotel nights.

My concern with Sleeper passengers taking the SS is that Amtrak will think the DC could be eliminated across the board, the people will still pay and ride. As we see with other things, once eliminated, it is gone! I just enjoy, most of the time, the Dining Car experience. Yes, I have had plenty of cafe food during my years on Amtrak, that is all the TR had, which I rode many times, same with the Kentucky Cardinal, though that was not even cafe. Those two trains never had a Diner to begin with.

I don't see Amtrak eliminating the diner on any of the other long distance trains because that would, for the most part, leave rail passengers with no alternative in the markets those trains serve. They did it with the Silver Star because they knew that those who still want a diner can take the Silver Meteor instead, as the two trains follow mostly the same route. Amtrak wanted to offer passengers two different ways of paying for meals on the Silver Service trains. This way, you can either have meals included in the sleeper fare on the SM, or you can pay for your meals as you go on the SS.



#40 niemi24s

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 05:24 PM

. . .for two people going Delray Beach to NYP in a roomette, the Star totals out at $60 cheaper than the Meteor - $460 vs $520. That's really not a big difference for that much of a trip.

This comparison oversimplifies the cost difference by comparing, I think, the same or similar bucket levels.  Because the coach fares for the SS and SM are the same, fare differences are due solely to sleeper differences.  And, as seen below, full route fare differences for a Roomette could be as little as $72 or as much as $415.  For Bedrooms, the differences range from $293 to $889.  And the sleeper upcharges to DLB are same as those to MIA.

 

Attached File  6 Nov 17 Fare Bucketsc.jpg   35.7KB   17 downloads

 

There's no reason to expect sleepers on the two different trains to be at the same bucket level on any given day.

 

I think it's even remotely possible for a Roomette on the SM to be $8 less than on the SS!  


Edited by niemi24s, 13 April 2018 - 05:33 PM.





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