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Amtrak's New "Fresh Choices" Dining on CL & LSL


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#101 seat38a

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 07:24 PM

Well since I've been a member on this forum, here is a list of things that we've generally complained about on here regarding sleeper amenities.

 

  • Lounge lizards are a problem sleeper passengers need a lounge of their own
  • The wine and cheese have been cut
  • The juices are getting cut
  • The amenity kits on the CS have been cut
  • The dining car is being cut
  • Parlor Car

 

Well Amtrak is giving back in one form or another at the cost of the dining car:

  • Sleeping car lounge. Exclusively for sleeping car passengers (The dining car)
  • Wine, Beer or cocktail (Expanded minus the cheese)
  • Unlimited soft drinks (An improvement vs just juice IMOP)
  • Return of amenity kits

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#102 Thirdrail7

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 07:31 PM

 

Well since I've been a member on this forum, here is a list of things that we've generally complained about on here regarding sleeper amenities.

 

  • Lounge lizards are a problem sleeper passengers need a lounge of their own
  • The wine and cheese have been cut
  • The juices are getting cut
  • The amenity kits on the CS have been cut
  • The dining car is being cut
  • Parlor Car

 

Well Amtrak is giving back in one form or another at the cost of the dining car:

  • Sleeping car lounge. Exclusively for sleeping car passengers (The dining car)
  • Wine, Beer or cocktail (Expanded minus the cheese)
  • Unlimited soft drinks (An improvement vs just juice IMOP)
  • Return of amenity kits

 

 

 

Way to look at the bright side Seat38a. Some people will never be satisfied! :giggle:

 

Besides, you still technically have a dining car! However, the stoves are turned off! This should also put an end to the "food is just reheated and isn't freshly cooked" debate. It isn't even going to be reheated anymore!! :P


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They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#103 seat38a

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 07:35 PM

 

 

Well since I've been a member on this forum, here is a list of things that we've generally complained about on here regarding sleeper amenities.

 

  • Lounge lizards are a problem sleeper passengers need a lounge of their own
  • The wine and cheese have been cut
  • The juices are getting cut
  • The amenity kits on the CS have been cut
  • The dining car is being cut
  • Parlor Car

 

Well Amtrak is giving back in one form or another at the cost of the dining car:

  • Sleeping car lounge. Exclusively for sleeping car passengers (The dining car)
  • Wine, Beer or cocktail (Expanded minus the cheese)
  • Unlimited soft drinks (An improvement vs just juice IMOP)
  • Return of amenity kits

 

 

 

Way to look at the bright side Seat38a. Some people will never be satisfied! :giggle:

 

Besides, you still technically have a dining car! However, the stoves are turned off! This should also put an end to the "food is just reheated and isn't freshly cooked" debate. It isn't even going to be reheated anymore!! :P

 

And I should add that if this is expanded to the North-South trains, the return of the Parlor Car in a way  ;)



#104 Dakota 400

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 07:39 PM

Using the Dining Car as a Sleeping Car Lounge as a "Lounge"?  How much of a comfortable "lounge" have you found sitting in a Dining Car seating "booth"?

 

This seating arrangement is surely not what i have experienced when trains had a dedicated Lounge Car.  Even when PRR had a combo Section-Lounge Car on their overnight Columbus-Chicago Ohioan or Buckeye (if my memory is correct in what those trains were called).


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#105 Lonestar648

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 07:51 PM

The CCC can easily be the Lounge Car for Sleeping Car passengers on the CL, CONO, and TE.  The new VII diners will be converted to Lounges for the Sleeping Cars. This leaves the LD trains in the West which have much longer runs and will be more challenging and definitely the last to be converted.



#106 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:17 PM

Using the Dining Car as a Sleeping Car Lounge as a "Lounge"?  How much of a comfortable "lounge" have you found sitting in a Dining Car seating "booth"?
 
This seating arrangement is surely not what i have experienced when trains had a dedicated Lounge Car.  Even when PRR had a combo Section-Lounge Car on their overnight Columbus-Chicago Ohioan or Buckeye (if my memory is correct in what those trains were called).


Well about half of the upper level and all of the lower level SSL is diner is booth seating, 1/3 of the Parlour cars were booth seating, and all of the current cafe cars are booth seating.

As for back in the day, all of the historic lounges I've seen are either single chairs facing the center of the car, or table booth seating with the rare exception of single swivel chairs like the PPC had.

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#107 Ryan

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:21 PM

I think the SSL is still on the CL, they will just run the Diner as the Sleeper Lounge.  On the LSL the VII Diner will be the Sleeper Lounge.  The Cafe/Lounge will remain.


Yes. From way back on page 2...
 
 

New consists:
29/30 Capital Limited:
Diesels - P42s
Baggage - 61000 series
TransDorm - 39000 series
Sleepers - 32000 series
*Sleeper Lounge
*Sightseer Lounge - 33000 series
Coaches - 31000/34000 series

48/49 Lake Shore Limited:
Diesels - P42s/P32
Baggage(BOS) - 61000 series
Sleeper(BOS) - 62000 series
*Cafe/Business(BOS) - 48100 series
Coaches(BOS) - 25000 series
Coaches - 25000 series
*Sleeper Lounge - 68000 series [New CAF diner operating as a sleeper lounge, something that has been foreshadowed here for some time now]
Sleepers - 62000 series
Baggage - 61000 series

(*) staffed with one Lead Service Attendant(LSA)


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#108 Skyline

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:26 PM

If Amtrak can convince the travelling public this is an "upgrade," how much longer before the trial runs of SP-style automat service premiere?


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#109 Gulfwind2

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:35 PM

"The anticipated cost savings are an annualized $3 million reduction in operating costs on these two routes. Some of which, will be reinvested in the product."

Haven't we all heard some Mumbo-jumbo like this before?
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"My heart is warm with friends I make, and better friends I'll not be knowing; Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going."- Edna St Vincent Millay; "What's the deal with airline food?"- Jerry Seinfeld
Want to solve the problem of passenger trains not having the infrastructure they need?  STEP 1. Let the Class I's pay into a USDOT-managed trust fund through 6.5% of their own revenues in order to construct a right-of-way parallel to the existing Class I right-of-way that can take Amtrak trains off the freight railroad's trackage in busy corridors; STEP 2. Wait 10 years once enough funds are gathered; STEP 3. Then watch. Investors are happy, passenger trains no longer have to fight freight for priority, speeds of 125mph + are now possible with no risk of freight collision, freight railroads have higher track capacity than before without having to conduct a single environmental impact study, and AU forums have far less to complain about.
 

#110 cpotisch

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:44 PM

"The anticipated cost savings are an annualized $3 million reduction in operating costs on these two routes. Some of which, will be reinvested in the product."
Haven't we all heard some Mumbo-jumbo like this before?

Indeed we have, and I hate it.

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#111 Gulfwind2

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:50 PM

Soooooo, are there any more questions about the chef being removed from the CL? ^_^
 
That being said, this boils down to a few things. I mentioned it in the past and that is adaptation. People have already adapted, saying it could be worse. Indeed because the Star is getting NOTHING!  When Amtrak declares this experiment a success, I'm sure you'll see other trains rolling out the same type of operation, particularly trains that only travel one overnight period. 
 
That being said, I do note one other thing which is extremely subjective. The Star got away with their experiment because they lowered the price of the accommodation. I haven't head anything about them lowering the costs of the sleepers on these trains and that impacts something the is controlled individually:
 
The perception of "value."
 
That is something I'm not sure this regime gets. There are plenty of options for Amtrak riders. Is this worth it? What is "the value" for your dollar? A cold meal? I made this statement before and it is worth clarifying:
 
 

 

I can understand them consolidating the 2 meals and even allowing Sleeper pax only one turn; you would have to be a real Chow Hound to take on Breakfast and then 2-3 hours later pile in Lunch, especially with all the great eating options in DC. 

 
This is what annoys me about all of these "experiments." If I'm paying for a sleeper that includes meals, I want the meals. ALL of them. I'll eat until I explode. First I want eggs and then I want a steak for lunch!! I paid for it.
 
 
FEEEEEEED ME, SEYMOUR!!!
 
audrey2.gif
 
 
 
I'm sorry but If I've fallen from bacon/ french toast/scrambled eggs to a cold, continental breakfast and from a steak grilled somewhere near my liking to a cold tenderloin or turkey sandwich, that hardly seems worth the extra costs.
 
Now, you'll say it beats riding coach but hell, for this I may as well just get on the damn plane. After all, the fees are closing in and the prices may be lower. One thing is certain, the plane will likely be quicker.
 
If the journey isn't far, I may as well get in my car and roll for it myself.
 
I almost prefer the Star's set up. At least they're honest and the "value" (or my perception of such) is there.
 
However, this is a Congressional mandate. It has been one for years. Until it changes, you have someone that is making a go of it instead of waiting it out or ignoring it. If ridership  and revenue drops, they can use this to say the food is a loss leader. If ridership and revenue stays the same (or close), the savings may help in the eyes of Congress and it is money that can be turned into other things.
 
He is actually opening more positions in the company but with more emphasis on other departments.
 
Time will tell what each person thinks of this. I have the feeling that the initial uproar will end and people will adapt.
 
Besides, if ridership drops, the equipment will just move to another service. This may be the only support you'll need for your new, mini long distance consist. ^_^
 
Amtrak 2.0 plods on!

God I can't put into words how much I identify with the sentiment in this comment.
Sleeping car passengers are generally not involuntary riders (i.e. the old Grandmaw taking the Builder to visit her doctor), and they are also people who have money to afford travel upgrades to the tune of up to thousands of dollars.

It seems no one in their right mind will pay through the nose to ride the sleepers on a diner-less train, whose sleeping car equipment is liable to be held together with duct tape, when a number of airlines offer a first class product which runs roughly the same cost as Amtrak sleeper fares on the eastern half of country & has superior service, superior food offerings, and the advantage of the speed of jet travel.


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"My heart is warm with friends I make, and better friends I'll not be knowing; Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going."- Edna St Vincent Millay; "What's the deal with airline food?"- Jerry Seinfeld
Want to solve the problem of passenger trains not having the infrastructure they need?  STEP 1. Let the Class I's pay into a USDOT-managed trust fund through 6.5% of their own revenues in order to construct a right-of-way parallel to the existing Class I right-of-way that can take Amtrak trains off the freight railroad's trackage in busy corridors; STEP 2. Wait 10 years once enough funds are gathered; STEP 3. Then watch. Investors are happy, passenger trains no longer have to fight freight for priority, speeds of 125mph + are now possible with no risk of freight collision, freight railroads have higher track capacity than before without having to conduct a single environmental impact study, and AU forums have far less to complain about.
 

#112 cpotisch

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:56 PM

Here's the thing. Hot meals, juice, bottled water, etc. were what made me love take Amtrak long distance. Flying is much, much, faster. A car or bus is much, much cheaper. It was that Amtrak was just much, much nicer. But with all these cuts to service and amenities, it gets difficult to justify the train at all. At a certain point, you might as well take a bus, if that's the level of service you'd be getting anyway.
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#113 seat38a

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 09:10 PM


But now they have 3 million for use towards repair of the rattles in the sleeper   ;)


Edited by pennyk, 19 April 2018 - 10:00 PM.
remove numerous nesting quotes

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#114 cpotisch

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 09:18 PM



I bet there are plenty of members on AU that would take reduced rattles over better meals any day of the week. ;)


Edited by pennyk, 19 April 2018 - 09:58 PM.
remove numerous nesting quotes

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#115 TiBike

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 09:48 PM

If the new meals are anything like the pictures from Portland, Oregon early in this thread, sign me up. Those look like reasonably healthy meals, and you won't have to sit with a bunch of strangers to get one.


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#116 Seaboard92

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 10:30 PM

Amtrak's spinsters aka the Marketing Department clearly need an award for being able to turn a clear downgrade of service (especially towards coach passengers) into an exciting, "fresh new development. That is an incredible level of spinning that even I haven't obtained yet. And I thought my degree helped me out a lot
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#117 seat38a

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 10:48 PM

Amtrak's spinsters aka the Marketing Department clearly need an award for being able to turn a clear downgrade of service (especially towards coach passengers) into an exciting, "fresh new development. That is an incredible level of spinning that even I haven't obtained yet. And I thought my degree helped me out a lot

How is it a downgrade for coach passengers? Say if the dining cars currently stocks enough food for sleeper passengers + 20-30% extra stock for coach passengers. What is the difference between that and stocking 20 - 30% more boxed meals? As mentioned in an earlier post, its common on trains like the CS where Coach passengers can't be seated during certain meals because the sleeping cars are fully booked.

 

You and some may think its a downgrade but others have clearly stated that they like it or will hold judgement until they can experience it. Its for sure were loosing something but Amtrak is giving us something else in return including keeping the dining car for exclusive use of sleeper passengers.


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#118 Lonestar648

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 10:49 PM

The three million is money Amtrak doesn't have to ask for.  The Sleepers generate a lot of revenue so Marketing had to find a way that would not sound negative to these riders.  



#119 Thirdrail7

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 10:51 PM

Amtrak's spinsters aka the Marketing Department clearly need an award for being able to turn a clear downgrade of service (especially towards coach passengers) into an exciting, "fresh new development. That is an incredible level of spinning that even I haven't obtained yet. And I thought my degree helped me out a lot

 

It will probably work. Remember the talk in the "new equipment" thread. They are attempting to appeal to the younger riders, like Millennials. Locomotive hauled trains with sit down meals are a thing of the past. This isn't your grandma's train. We're just a hop skip and a jump to your city with new, fresh food ideas.

 

He's not thinking towards the "end to end" rider.


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They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#120 Seaboard92

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 10:53 PM

Amtrak's spinsters aka the Marketing Department clearly need an award for being able to turn a clear downgrade of service (especially towards coach passengers) into an exciting, "fresh new development. That is an incredible level of spinning that even I haven't obtained yet. And I thought my degree helped me out a lot

 
It will probably work. Remember the talk in the "new equipment" thread. They are attempting to appeal to the younger riders, like Millennials. Locomotive hauled trains with sit down meals are a thing of the past. This isn't your grandma's train. We're just a hop skip and a jump to your city with new, fresh food ideas.
 
He's not thinking towards the "end to end" rider.

Oh I agree whole heartedly it works. Honestly it's pretty Ingenious. I'm not a fan of stuff like that but it works. Even though you can't spin removing the student discount to reach that market. Interesting times we live in. Hopefully something will change in the coming weeks on one of many fronts.
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