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dlagrua

Word from Aboard the Capitol Ltd

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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

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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

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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.

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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! 😥

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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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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

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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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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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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.

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

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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.

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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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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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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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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?

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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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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

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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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...

AFAIK, no branch of government or agency makes a profit but somehow Amtrak is looked at differently?

...

 

Several of the federal electric power agencies such as TVA and BPA are "profitable," in that they internally generate the revenue necessary for all operations and capital programs without need for general treasury subsidy.

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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.

I thought the Eagle had a full menu, but used the CCC instead of a dining car? I could be making that up, most of the time I'm west of Chicago I'm flying, so I can't speak out of experience.

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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?

 

But is having a dining car with wait staff essential to public transportation? I don't think it is, and thus it should be justified by the revenue it brings in.

 

Food service is necessary for long distance trains, and sleepers can probably justify having higher-end meal service of some sort while still keeping the per-mile subsidy at or below that of a coach passenger. But that doesn't require a sit-down meal service with wait staff; that could be meals delivered directly to rooms, counter service in a sleeper lounge car, or some other means of providing meals that's found to be effective. Amtrak isn't commanded to be a jobs creator for wait staff or chefs, though, and thus food service needs to either be essential to the journey (which the cafe car fulfills) or brings in enough additional revenue to offset its cost. Right now I struggle to see the diners doing so, especially if meal service without wait staff can bring in similar revenue.

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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.

The TE has full service meal prep. Food is prepared the exact same way as on the Builder, Zephyr, etc.

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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.

I thought the Eagle had a full menu, but used the CCC instead of a dining car?

 

You are 100% correct.

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