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Word from Aboard the Capitol Ltd


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#1 dlagrua

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 05:30 PM

Just got back from our trip to Omaha. The Capitol Ltd was the first and last legs of our trip to and from CHI. While we received good service from Cliff, Marquese and the dining car staff; morale among the crew was low.  With the discontinuance of hot meal service, some FSA's and the chef will be reassigned but several employees advised that they will be given furloughs. Fifteen employees are affected by the dining car closures. It is a terrible situation when hard working employees that are just trying to feed their family are put out of work. Several of these folks (including those in the Acela Lounge) asked the rail passengers if they would send letters to customer service and Amtrak corporate in support of the workers. We intend to join the voice of reason by writing, emailing Amtrak and voicing our displeasure.  Our message will complement the onboard service people while informing that we will no longer ride the Capitol or Lake Shore Ltd without meal service.  I ask that all forum members do the same. If the push back is large enough maybe we can make a difference.


Edited by dlagrua, 29 May 2018 - 07:16 AM.

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#2 ParanoidAndroid

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 07:01 PM

Woo Cardinal! I will write if I can.

I have ridden Cascades #516 (SEA-STW), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-SLO), Southwest Chief #4 (LAX-CHI), Cardinal #50 (CHI-NYP), Northeast Regional #85 (NYP-WAS), Capitol Limited #30 (HFY-WAS), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-PDX), Coast Starlight #11 (SLO-LAX), and many Pacific Surfliners with Amtrak. I have observed, including the previous, California Zephyr #5 at SAC (lucky), what I guess to be Crescent #19 (at WAS) and Silver Meteor #97 (at WAS), Empire Builder #28 at PDX, and Sunset Limited #2/Texas Eagle #422 at LAX. I have also ridden the Hokutosei in Japan, Ueno - Sapporo (now discontinued).


#3 FrensicPic

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 07:10 PM

Just got back from our trip to Omaha. The Capitol Ltd was the first and last legs of our trip to and from CHI. While we received good service from Cliff, Marquese and the dining car staff; moral among the crew was low.  With the discontinuance of hot meal service, some FSA's and the chef will be reassigned but several employees advised that they will be given furloughs. Fifteen employees are affected by the dining car closures. It is a terrible situation when hard working employees that are just trying to feed their family are put out of work. Several of these folks (including those in the Acela Lounge) asked the rail passengers if they would send letters to customer service and Amtrak corporate in support of the workers. We intend to join the voice of reason by writing, emailing Amtrak and voicing our displeasure.  Our message will complement the onboard service people while informing that we will no longer ride the Capitol or Lake Shore Ltd without meal service.  I ask that all forum members do the same. If the push back is large enough maybe we can make a difference.

I'm drafting a letter now to my three congressional representatives. No only meals and the dining car situation but also long distance trains, discounts and PV/charter travel via Amtrak. 


Edited by FrensicPic, 27 May 2018 - 07:10 PM.

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John...

29,076 miles on the Coast Starlight, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle, Southwest Chief, Empire Builder, California Zephyr and Capitol Limited.

5540 miles booked for this fall on the Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, Illini/Saluki, Southwest Chief.

More miles on the Pacific Surfliner, Metrolink, White Pass and Yukon Route, Grand Canyon Railway, Napa Valley Wine Train, Fillmore and Western and private railcars with LARail.com

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#4 Thirdrail7

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 10:40 PM

I wonder if these are relatively new employees. If they are, this provision of the law wouldn't apply:

 

 

© Savings Clause.—Amtrak shall ensure that no Amtrak employee holding a position as of the date of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 is involuntarily separated because of—

(1) the development and implementation of the plan required under subsection (a); or

(2) any other action taken by Amtrak to implement this section.

 

 

I wonder how many furloughed employees are willing to move. If Amtrak offers other positions and you don't take advantage, I suppose this provision wouldn't apply.

 

At any rate, furloughs and the railroad go hand in hand. It is tough but if you're willing/able to move or take another position, it makes things easier.  I personally believe OBS employees should start seriously considering other positions.  Lately,  the "experiments"  have not been reversed and become normal operating procedure.  As such, this may get worse before it gets better.


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


#5 Bob Dylan

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 10:43 PM

Yep, and you can see the day coming when there will be No more Qualified Chefs or FSAs when the old timers with Senority put in their papers and go on Railroad Retirement! 😥
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#6 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 06:55 AM

Just got back from our trip to Omaha. The Capitol Ltd was the first and last legs of our trip to and from CHI. While we received good service from Cliff, Marquese and the dining car staff; moral among the crew was low.  With the discontinuance of hot meal service, some FSA's and the chef will be reassigned but several employees advised that they will be given furloughs. Fifteen employees are affected by the dining car closures. It is a terrible situation when hard working employees that are just trying to feed their family are put out of work. Several of these folks (including those in the Acela Lounge) asked the rail passengers if they would send letters to customer service and Amtrak corporate in support of the workers. We intend to join the voice of reason by writing, emailing Amtrak and voicing our displeasure.  Our message will complement the onboard service people while informing that we will no longer ride the Capitol or Lake Shore Ltd without meal service.  I ask that all forum members do the same. If the push back is large enough maybe we can make a difference.

 

You can express displeasure all you want but a boycott to me not only will not work it will only make things worse and possible could lead to the LSL and CL being canceled. You might not care but I certainly would be angry if that happened. It's bad enough without the Broadway but imagine getting from the East Coast to Chicago without these trains too.


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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)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/


#7 frequentflyer

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 09:59 AM

Serious question- Isn't whats happening to the CL and LSL the same that was done to the Silver Star? 



#8 cpotisch

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 10:01 AM

 

Just got back from our trip to Omaha. The Capitol Ltd was the first and last legs of our trip to and from CHI. While we received good service from Cliff, Marquese and the dining car staff; moral among the crew was low.  With the discontinuance of hot meal service, some FSA's and the chef will be reassigned but several employees advised that they will be given furloughs. Fifteen employees are affected by the dining car closures. It is a terrible situation when hard working employees that are just trying to feed their family are put out of work. Several of these folks (including those in the Acela Lounge) asked the rail passengers if they would send letters to customer service and Amtrak corporate in support of the workers. We intend to join the voice of reason by writing, emailing Amtrak and voicing our displeasure.  Our message will complement the onboard service people while informing that we will no longer ride the Capitol or Lake Shore Ltd without meal service.  I ask that all forum members do the same. If the push back is large enough maybe we can make a difference.

 
You can express displeasure all you want but a boycott to me not only will not work it will only make things worse and possible could lead to the LSL and CL being canceled. You might not care but I certainly would be angry if that happened. It's bad enough without the Broadway but imagine getting from the East Coast to Chicago without these trains too.

I HIGHLY doubt that a boycot is going to get those two trains cancelled. In order to get the CL and LSL cancelled, ridership would have to drop so severely and over such a long period that management would see it as unsalvageable. I think it’s vastly more likely that Anderson would see that this change had an adverse effect to ridership, and might figure out that contemporary dining was not a good idea. I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but it sure seems more realistic than a train off.

And the current situation isn’t “bad enough as it is”. There are three trains operating between the East Coast and Chicago - one of which runs direct to your home town, and the other two are an easy connection away. And for someone who’s apparently really concerned about route cancellations between the East Coast and Chicago, you sure seem to want to kill the Cardinal.


Edited by cpotisch, 28 May 2018 - 04:57 PM.

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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
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster


#9 cpotisch

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 10:46 AM

Serious question- Isn't whats happening to the CL and LSL the same that was done to the Silver Star? 

For coach passengers, the answer is pretty much yes.


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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
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster


#10 Ryan

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 10:46 AM

Serious question- Isn't whats happening to the CL and LSL the same that was done to the Silver Star? 


No. The Star has the dining car removed, along with the meals included in the sleeping car fare. The only food service available on the train is the for-pay cafe car.

The Cap and the LSL still have a dining car (now used as a lounge for Sleeper Passengers), and still includes meals as a part of the Sleeper fare. Those meals have been transitioned from hot meals with restaurant-style table service into some form of boxed meal that we haven’t seen yet delivered in an unknown way (but not tableside).
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#11 cpotisch

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 10:51 AM

 

Serious question- Isn't whats happening to the CL and LSL the same that was done to the Silver Star? 


No. The Star has the dining car removed, along with the meals included in the sleeping car fare. The only food service available on the train is the for-pay cafe car.

The Cap and the LSL still have a dining car (now used as a lounge for Sleeper Passengers), and still includes meals as a part of the Sleeper fare. Those meals have been transitioned from hot meals with restaurant-style table service into some form of boxed meal that we haven’t seen yet delivered in an unknown way (but not tableside).

 

My point is that for sleeper passengers, the change is completely different on the CL and LSL than that of the Star. But for coach passengers, it works out to be pretty much the same. Amtrak's claiming that they're going to sell leftover boxed meals to coach passengers, but honestly I kind of doubt it. Coach and Business pax will be eating out of the Cafe.


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
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster


#12 Ryan

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 11:40 AM

OK? Your point wasn't unclear. It just didn't answer the question that was asked.
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#13 Thirdrail7

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 01:28 PM

It is also different since the prices of the rooms on the Star dropped when they cancelled the meals. Even though the meals do not appear to be comparable to what was previously offered, the prices on the CL and LSL remained the same...at least.


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


#14 spinnaker

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 04:43 PM

 

Just got back from our trip to Omaha. The Capitol Ltd was the first and last legs of our trip to and from CHI. While we received good service from Cliff, Marquese and the dining car staff; moral among the crew was low.  With the discontinuance of hot meal service, some FSA's and the chef will be reassigned but several employees advised that they will be given furloughs. Fifteen employees are affected by the dining car closures. It is a terrible situation when hard working employees that are just trying to feed their family are put out of work. Several of these folks (including those in the Acela Lounge) asked the rail passengers if they would send letters to customer service and Amtrak corporate in support of the workers. We intend to join the voice of reason by writing, emailing Amtrak and voicing our displeasure.  Our message will complement the onboard service people while informing that we will no longer ride the Capitol or Lake Shore Ltd without meal service.  I ask that all forum members do the same. If the push back is large enough maybe we can make a difference.

I'm drafting a letter now to my three congressional representatives. No only meals and the dining car situation but also long distance trains, discounts and PV/charter travel via Amtrak. 

 

 

 

While I am 110% behind the workers I don't think that your representatives are the answer.   hat we are talking about there is getting the taxpayer so subsidize their salary.  There needs to be another solution and perhaps the only one is elimination of services.   

 

If Amtrak was looking at replacing workers with cheaper labor then I would say yes contact your representatives.  But that is not what is happening. 


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#15 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 05:08 PM

It is also different since the prices of the rooms on the Star dropped when they cancelled the meals. Even though the meals do not appear to be comparable to what was previously offered, the prices on the CL and LSL remained the same...at least.


They are adding the free soft drinks including "premium" drinks like LaCroix water, bottled juices (way better than the boxed juice previously offered), Starbucks cold brew. And they are adding the 1 free alcohol drink.

I'm not saying that's an even trade with losing hot food, but it is something.


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Amtrak: - Coast Starlight*, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin*, Cascades*, Empire Builder*, California Zephyr*, Southwest Chief*, City of New Orleans*, River Cities, Illinois Zephyr*, Wolverine, Cardinal, Capitol Limited*, Lake Shore Limited, Downeaster, Acela Express*, Crescent*, Carolinian*, Silver Star*, Silver Meteor*, Maple Leaf* Texas Eagle.

 

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#16 City of Miami

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 07:01 PM

I have seen enough slugabouts lolling in the diner and rude or thoughtless behavior that I'm not finding any sympathy here, not to mention rampant theft which seems to be a big part of Amtrak f/b losses. Looks like karma to me aka you made your bed now...etc.
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#17 dogbert617

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 02:31 AM

 

Serious question- Isn't whats happening to the CL and LSL the same that was done to the Silver Star? 


No. The Star has the dining car removed, along with the meals included in the sleeping car fare. The only food service available on the train is the for-pay cafe car.

The Cap and the LSL still have a dining car (now used as a lounge for Sleeper Passengers), and still includes meals as a part of the Sleeper fare. Those meals have been transitioned from hot meals with restaurant-style table service into some form of boxed meal that we haven’t seen yet delivered in an unknown way (but not tableside).

 

Thanks for posting a good summary of what the meal changes will be, as far as dining service goes on the Cap and Lake Shore. It's sad to hear this bit of news, and I worry this will spread to more long distance trains in the future. How many long distance trains still have traditional hot meals in their dining car, besides(I'm almost 100% sure on these 2) Empire Builder and also the Silver Meteor?



#18 Ryan

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 03:50 AM

Aside from the already mentioned Cap, LSL and Star, the TE and Cardinal have chefless “heat and eat” style food.

Everything else still have “normal” meals.
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#19 tricia

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 06:22 AM

 

 

Just got back from our trip to Omaha. The Capitol Ltd was the first and last legs of our trip to and from CHI. While we received good service from Cliff, Marquese and the dining car staff; moral among the crew was low.  With the discontinuance of hot meal service, some FSA's and the chef will be reassigned but several employees advised that they will be given furloughs. Fifteen employees are affected by the dining car closures. It is a terrible situation when hard working employees that are just trying to feed their family are put out of work. Several of these folks (including those in the Acela Lounge) asked the rail passengers if they would send letters to customer service and Amtrak corporate in support of the workers. We intend to join the voice of reason by writing, emailing Amtrak and voicing our displeasure.  Our message will complement the onboard service people while informing that we will no longer ride the Capitol or Lake Shore Ltd without meal service.  I ask that all forum members do the same. If the push back is large enough maybe we can make a difference.

I'm drafting a letter now to my three congressional representatives. No only meals and the dining car situation but also long distance trains, discounts and PV/charter travel via Amtrak. 

 

 

 

While I am 110% behind the workers I don't think that your representatives are the answer.   hat we are talking about there is getting the taxpayer so subsidize their salary.  There needs to be another solution and perhaps the only one is elimination of services.   

 

If Amtrak was looking at replacing workers with cheaper labor then I would say yes contact your representatives.  But that is not what is happening. 

 

 

But that probably IS what's happening--outsourcing food preparation to off-train non-Amtrak workers who are almost certainly paid less than Amtrak staff, who are unusually well-paid among food-service workers. Most food service workers are paid a sub-living wage, with few benefits.

 

That said, I'm also at least partially in agreement with City of Miami here: a good many Amtrak food-service staff I've seen have been surly, rude, and/or unwilling to do more than a bare minimum of work. 

 

I'm very much in favor of paying ALL workers a living wage, and also expect good work in return for it.


Edited by tricia, 29 May 2018 - 06:31 AM.

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#20 dlagrua

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 07:14 AM

From what I understand, Amtrak employs both Union and non-Union employees. The meal service changes may have something to do with getting rid of the higher paid union people. This was mentioned to me by an FSA but I do not know if this info is correct. The management at Amtrak doesn't want to acknowledge that public transportation was put in place by government to serve the American people. AFAIK, no branch of government or agency makes a profit but somehow Amtrak is looked at differently? If you examine the "loss" that Amtrak has and deduct all of the workers income taxes (both onboard and support) that loss is probably very minimal.






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