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Elimination of diners on western Amtrak long distance trains?


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#41 cpotisch

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 09:51 AM

 

It's been years since Amtrak discontinued a route.

Might I ask what route has been discontinued most recently (other than Sunset Ltd NOLA-Orlando, which is considered suspended)?

 

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#42 Seaboard92

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 10:06 AM

Here is the message from Amtrak Media Relations. "We are evaluating the success of our new food offerings," Marc Magliari Amtrak media relations.

Personally if you ask me it sounds to me like they've made their mind up that the new crap is a massive success. And I'm sure it is to the balance sheet but not to the passengers. Let's face it to Anderson and Gardner we don't matter only the ink on the ledger does.
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#43 TiBike

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 11:57 AM

I've said it before: I'm looking forward to seeing the new food service on the Starlight. It will be nice to get a decent meal.


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#44 Dakota 400

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 03:12 PM

The Koch Brothers keep cropping up in some of the posts on this thread.  Please forgive my ignorance, but why?  What's their connection to Amtrak?



#45 stappend

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 03:21 PM

The Koch Brothers keep cropping up in some of the posts on this thread.  Please forgive my ignorance, but why?  What's their connection to Amtrak?

They generally fight all things Public transit.

 

https://www.nytimes....ic-transit.html


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#46 MikefromCrete

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 03:24 PM

The Koch Brothers keep cropping up in some of the posts on this thread.  Please forgive my ignorance, but why?  What's their connection to Amtrak?

 

The Koch Brothers, who use their billions to push their own personal conservative agenda, were recently featured in a New York Times article about their efforts to fight mass transit referenda across the nation, including the recent defeat of transit expansion in Nashville. They made a lot of their money off the automobile industry. While none of this is directly related to Amtrak, you can bet they'll be spending their fortunes to back candidates who aren't friendly to transit, including Amtrak. 


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#47 cpotisch

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 03:35 PM

Here is the message from Amtrak Media Relations. "We are evaluating the success of our new food offerings," Marc Magliari Amtrak media relations.

Of course. They just couldn't bear saying "We are evaluating the effects of our new food offerings" or something like that. It's not a big deal, but it just irks me given it seems like most people are not in favor of it. If this spreads to the two or three night trains, I literally won't be able to take them. I can possibly deal with "Contemporary dining" on a relatively short overnight run like the LSL or Capitol, but having one option for breakfast and one option for lunch/dinner over the course of six or more meals just is not doable for me. If the menu were identical to that of the CL and LSL, this is what I'd be eating if I took the eastbound Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle all the way.

  1. Meal 1 - Breakfast - Blueberry Muffin, Banana bread, fruit, Kashi/Kind bars
  2. Meal 2 - Lunch - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  3. Meal 3 - Dinner -  Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  4. Meal 4 - Breakfast - Blueberry Muffin, Banana bread, fruit, Kashi/Kind bars
  5. Meal 5 - Lunch - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  6. Meal 6 - Dinner - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  7. Meal 7 - Breakfast - Blueberry Muffin, Banana bread, fruit, Kashi/Kind bars
  8. Meal 8 - Lunch - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad

I don't want to eat that way for three or four days.


Edited by cpotisch, 16 July 2018 - 02:46 PM.

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#48 Seaboard92

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 03:41 PM

Well if you want good food you can hire us in the PV world. But we don't come cheap. Honestly I wonder if we could make enough money sticking a PV diner on the rear and selling meals at reasonable prices if we would get customers. We would definitely tick off Gardner and Anderson. I'm sure they would then institute some new "safety" rule to prevent it.

At least if you ride the corridor they will improve your menu.
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Amtrak Routes I've riden: Silver Star(NYP-ORL), Silver Meteor(KIS-NYP),Carolinian(CLT-NWK), Palmetto (FLO-NYP), Acela(WAS-NYP), NE Regional(WBG-RVR), Pacific Surfliner(SAN-OSD), Piedmont(CLT-SAL), Crescent(NYP-CLT), Cardinal (WAS-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Cascade (PDX-SEA)
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#49 PVD

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 03:53 PM

you're skipping the yogurt? It wasn't bad when I had it...



#50 GBNorman

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 04:37 PM

This is a reprint of material I submitted eighteen years ago to a site that long since folded, but might be of nostalgic interest to participants at this topic.

----------------------

I still remember fondly the array of "dinner in the diner" trips that could be taken from Chicago during pre-Amtrak and also early Amtrak "Pioneer Days". Such a trip involved a dinner hour departure, a ride "down" or "out" the line and then a same evening return to Chicago on the last train.

Some of the rides I can recall were to Champaign on the Panama Ltd, return on the City of New Orleans. This of course was first-class parlor (pre 1967 downgrade), but the surcharge for riding such was absurdly low. The Panama's twin unit diner was a sight to behold, and I can still well remember the steak. As for the "City", the song is very descriptive.

Another trip was the MILW (UP) "City" train to Savanna, IL, then return on the BN "Afternoon Zephyr". Although this trip was possible right up to A-day (in fact it was my April,30 A-day eve trip), it was downgraded over the years. The "City of Everywhere" lost the dome diner during 1969- or'70 and the massive size of the train made for a crowded dining scene, but still it was the UP with the color photo menu's printed for each trip, and even their own UP stock red wine. The return on the Zephyr was also downgraded over time; the dome cars were scattered through the system, and food service (not that you needed any after that lovely UP dinner) was pretty spartan.

A popular dinner trip was the GM&O to Bloomington on the "Abe Lincoln" (or Pontiac if you were tense about the return connection). This trip was available into Amtrak and in fact was even an "upgrade" by Amtrak in that ex-CBQ stainless parlor and diner were on the pre-Amfleet/Horizion consist. I always thought the GM&O full service diner was good, but I don't think I would have wanted to look too closely around the kitchen (might be a few multipeeded deadheads aboard!).

And now for the best; "Super Chief" to Joliet, return on Rock Island commuter. That's right!, you could ride the Super Chicago-Joliet (pre-Amtrak), but I think even with first class rail, seat in roomette, and extra fare, it was only about $10 during the 60's. It was best to get seated right away, and let the crew know your intentions. Chgo-Joliet on the ATSF was not exactly a racetrack, and the dinner was not really that rushed.

Northward, there were not too many opportunities. C&NW intercity trains had largely become coach only, and on the MILW, once the "Afternoon" came off, no further ops there.

However, if all you wanted was dinner in the diner (as in "hold the train ride"), the Rock Island could take care of you. At La Salle St Station from shorly before and well into the Amtrak years, they had a stationary dining and lounge car. The operation was called Track One and used railroad-employed chefs, waiters, and stewards (I would rather guess those people were covered by labor protection agreements that were prevalent during the 60's & 70's).Menus were as offered aboard Rock Island diners.

In closing, there was also a "dinner in the diner" opportunity in the Washington area, that was well used by local fans. This was Washington-Alexandria on the Southern Crescent post Amtrak (circa 1976). During that time Southern did not join but agreed to cooperate with Amtrak. Their diner originated in Washington along with sevaral coaches and sleepers. You could board and be seated in the diner as soon as the equipment was spotted in the station. You usually were finished with dinner about the time you were crossing over the Potomac River.

---------------
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#51 Dakota 400

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 04:41 PM

 

Here is the message from Amtrak Media Relations. "We are evaluating the success of our new food offerings," Marc Magliari Amtrak media relations.

Of course. They just couldn't bear saying "We are evaluating the effects of our new food offerings" or something like that. It's not a big deal, but it just irks me given it seems like most people are not in favor of it. If this spreads to the two or three night trains, I literally won't be able to take them. I can possibly deal with "Contemporary dining" on a relatively short overnight run like the LSL or Capitol, but having one option for breakfast and one option for lunch/dinner over the course of six or more meals just is not doable for me. If the menu were identical to that of the CL and LSL, this is what I'd be eating if I took the eastbound Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle all the way.

  1. Meal 1 - Breakfast - Blueberry Muffin, Banana bread, fruit, Kashi/Kind bars
  2. Meal 2 - Lunch - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  3. Meal 3 - Dinner -  Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  4. Meal 4 - Breakfast - Blueberry Muffin, Banana bread, fruit, Kashi/Kind bars
  5. Meal 5 - Lunch - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  6. Meal 6 - Dinner - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  7. Meal 7 - Breakfast - Blueberry Muffin, Banana bread, fruit, Kashi/Kind bars
  8. Meal 8 - Lunch - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad

I don't want to eat that way for three or four days.

 

 

Me neither!  Flying domestic First Class would offer better menu choices than this!



#52 Dakota 400

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 04:43 PM

 

The Koch Brothers keep cropping up in some of the posts on this thread.  Please forgive my ignorance, but why?  What's their connection to Amtrak?

They generally fight all things Public transit.

 

https://www.nytimes....ic-transit.html

 

 

Thank you for posting this link.  This also helps to explain what I am seeing taking place at Trump's EPA.


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#53 bratkinson

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 08:34 PM

 

Here is the message from Amtrak Media Relations. "We are evaluating the success of our new food offerings," Marc Magliari Amtrak media relations.

Of course. They just couldn't bear saying "We are evaluating the effects of our new food offerings" or something like that. It's not a big deal, but it just irks me given it seems like most people are not in favor of it. If this spreads to the two or three night trains, I literally won't be able to take them. I can possibly deal with "Contemporary dining" on a relatively short overnight run like the LSL or Capitol, but having one option for breakfast and one option for lunch/dinner over the course of six or more meals just is not doable for me. If the menu were identical to that of the CL and LSL, this is what I'd be eating if I took the eastbound Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle all the way.

  1. Meal 1 - Breakfast - Blueberry Muffin, Banana bread, fruit, Kashi/Kind bars
  2. Meal 2 - Lunch - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  3. Meal 3 - Dinner -  Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  4. Meal 4 - Breakfast - Blueberry Muffin, Banana bread, fruit, Kashi/Kind bars
  5. Meal 5 - Lunch - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  6. Meal 6 - Dinner - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  7. Meal 7 - Breakfast - Blueberry Muffin, Banana bread, fruit, Kashi/Kind bars
  8. Meal 8 - Lunch - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad

I don't want to eat that way for three or four days.

 

And don't forget the poor schmuck coming from the east coast having two or three of the same meals as well!  Maybe I could make some money offering MREs (military Meal Ready to Eat) selling them door-to-door in the sleepers...



#54 gmushial

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 10:05 PM

Maybe what I did on the last CZ trip might become a norm, especially in a world of cell phones: but at Grand Junction, the day before, arranged with restaurants for meals (lunches), and a food delivery service...  and had Mexican waiting for me on the platform going one way; and Chinese going the other way....  and I suspect such is possible for any station that there is an open platform and a more than 1 minute stop. ...  I suspect there is a business model to be had here, a la, Fred Harvey of yesteryear - just instead of feeding a train in 20 mins, to take orders before coming into a station, onloading them at the station and distributing them after underway again...  if you've ridden the Indian rails, this is the norm - and works quite well.


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#55 railiner

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 12:05 AM

This is a reprint of material I submitted eighteen years ago to a site that long since folded, but might be of nostalgic interest to participants at this topic.

----------------------

I still remember fondly the array of "dinner in the diner" trips that could be taken from Chicago during pre-Amtrak and also early Amtrak "Pioneer Days". Such a trip involved a dinner hour departure, a ride "down" or "out" the line and then a same evening return to Chicago on the last train.

Some of the rides I can recall were to Champaign on the Panama Ltd, return on the City of New Orleans. This of course was first-class parlor (pre 1967 downgrade), but the surcharge for riding such was absurdly low. The Panama's twin unit diner was a sight to behold, and I can still well remember the steak. As for the "City", the song is very descriptive.

Another trip was the MILW (UP) "City" train to Savanna, IL, then return on the BN "Afternoon Zephyr". Although this trip was possible right up to A-day (in fact it was my April,30 A-day eve trip), it was downgraded over the years. The "City of Everywhere" lost the dome diner during 1969- or'70 and the massive size of the train made for a crowded dining scene, but still it was the UP with the color photo menu's printed for each trip, and even their own UP stock red wine. The return on the Zephyr was also downgraded over time; the dome cars were scattered through the system, and food service (not that you needed any after that lovely UP dinner) was pretty spartan.

A popular dinner trip was the GM&O to Bloomington on the "Abe Lincoln" (or Pontiac if you were tense about the return connection). This trip was available into Amtrak and in fact was even an "upgrade" by Amtrak in that ex-CBQ stainless parlor and diner were on the pre-Amfleet/Horizion consist. I always thought the GM&O full service diner was good, but I don't think I would have wanted to look too closely around the kitchen (might be a few multipeeded deadheads aboard!).

And now for the best; "Super Chief" to Joliet, return on Rock Island commuter. That's right!, you could ride the Super Chicago-Joliet (pre-Amtrak), but I think even with first class rail, seat in roomette, and extra fare, it was only about $10 during the 60's. It was best to get seated right away, and let the crew know your intentions. Chgo-Joliet on the ATSF was not exactly a racetrack, and the dinner was not really that rushed.

Northward, there were not too many opportunities. C&NW intercity trains had largely become coach only, and on the MILW, once the "Afternoon" came off, no further ops there.

However, if all you wanted was dinner in the diner (as in "hold the train ride"), the Rock Island could take care of you. At La Salle St Station from shorly before and well into the Amtrak years, they had a stationary dining and lounge car. The operation was called Track One and used railroad-employed chefs, waiters, and stewards (I would rather guess those people were covered by labor protection agreements that were prevalent during the 60's & 70's).Menus were as offered aboard Rock Island diners.

In closing, there was also a "dinner in the diner" opportunity in the Washington area, that was well used by local fans. This was Washington-Alexandria on the Southern Crescent post Amtrak (circa 1976). During that time Southern did not join but agreed to cooperate with Amtrak. Their diner originated in Washington along with sevaral coaches and sleepers. You could board and be seated in the diner as soon as the equipment was spotted in the station. You usually were finished with dinner about the time you were crossing over the Potomac River.

---------------

Love that post, thanks for reprinting it.   I used to do the same.  Mostly on The Broadway Limited.    But I vividly remember the Rock's Track One restaurant on...track one.  It had a diner and lounge car.  You could go in just for drinks, or have drinks until your table was ready.   True to railroad operation in every way, including having to write your order on the check... :cool:


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#56 Seaboard92

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 12:44 AM

An interesting thing to see would be a book chronicling railroad diner service over the years. It would be interesting to see how it gradually improved and its eventual decline.
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Amtrak Routes I've riden: Silver Star(NYP-ORL), Silver Meteor(KIS-NYP),Carolinian(CLT-NWK), Palmetto (FLO-NYP), Acela(WAS-NYP), NE Regional(WBG-RVR), Pacific Surfliner(SAN-OSD), Piedmont(CLT-SAL), Crescent(NYP-CLT), Cardinal (WAS-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Cascade (PDX-SEA)
Steam Engines I've worked behind: Norfolk & Western No. 611; Nickel Plate Road No. 765; Southern Pacific No. 4449
 

#57 railiner

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 01:35 AM

You can find some on the subject by 'googling'

I have an autographed copy of "Dining on Rails" by Richard Luckin, in my collection.  That book is about the china used, very little to do with the service, other than some ads, etc.  I contributed an ad from the PRR...


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#58 Palmetto

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 06:36 AM

Well if you want good food you can hire us in the PV world. But we don't come cheap. Honestly I wonder if we could make enough money sticking a PV diner on the rear and selling meals at reasonable prices if we would get customers. We would definitely tick off Gardner and Anderson. I'm sure they would then institute some new "safety" rule to prevent it.

At least if you ride the corridor they will improve your menu.

Don't think you'll make any money.  Dining cars have been a losing proposition always.  


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#59 cirdan

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 07:31 AM

 

Here is the message from Amtrak Media Relations. "We are evaluating the success of our new food offerings," Marc Magliari Amtrak media relations.

Of course. They just couldn't bear saying "We are evaluating the effects of our new food offerings" or something like that. It's not a big deal, but it just irks me given it seems like most people are not in favor of it. If this spreads to the two or three night trains, I literally won't be able to take them. I can possibly deal with "Contemporary dining" on a relatively short overnight run like the LSL or Capitol, but having one option for breakfast and one option for lunch/dinner over the course of six or more meals just is not doable for me. If the menu were identical to that of the CL and LSL, this is what I'd be eating if I took the eastbound Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle all the way.

  1. Meal 1 - Breakfast - Blueberry Muffin, Banana bread, fruit, Kashi/Kind bars
  2. Meal 2 - Lunch - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  3. Meal 3 - Dinner -  Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  4. Meal 4 - Breakfast - Blueberry Muffin, Banana bread, fruit, Kashi/Kind bars
  5. Meal 5 - Lunch - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  6. Meal 6 - Dinner - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad
  7. Meal 7 - Breakfast - Blueberry Muffin, Banana bread, fruit, Kashi/Kind bars
  8. Meal 8 - Lunch - Vegan wrap, quinoa edamame salad

I don't want to eat that way for three or four days.

 

 

You are forgetting that vegan wraps will be sold out by the end of day one and blueberry muffins the next morning.

 

It'll be candy bars and peanuts from them on.


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#60 gmushial

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 09:03 AM

Something in the business world known as lost leaders, ie, you lose money on item A, but by getting the customer into the store, you do sell them B and C...  the repuggie complaint about losing money on the dinning cars is a red herring - just an excuse to eliminate Amtrak and force more people onto planes, noting that the airline companies are significant donors to their pockets: classic selling out the country for personal gain.


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