Amtrak meal times on the California Zephyr (OSC - DEN and back)

Discussion in 'Guest Forum for Amtrak Questions' started by Aarem, Jul 14, 2019.

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  1. Jul 14, 2019 #1

    Aarem

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    Aarem

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    We are on the California Zephyr which departs OSC at 8:10 pm and arrives in DEN at 7:15 am. Is dinner included with the superliner roomette reservation at this hour? The ticket indicates that all meals are included.

    The return is from DEN at 7:10 pm and arrival at OSC at 7:40 am the following day. What meals are included? Thanks!
     
  2. Jul 14, 2019 #2

    zephyr17

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    You should. Breakfast service starts around 6am. You should be in time for last call at OSC, and you'll be fine in Denver, your SCA will get reservations for you before you board.

    Note that meal times are based on time, not location. If the train is late, dinner service may be over by the time you board.
     
  3. Jul 14, 2019 #3

    mlanoue

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    I think if the train is on time, they will send you straight to the diner. That should still be meal time, but if you are late, or if they happened to change the meal times, then perhaps not.

    You could also grab a quick breakfast before Denver, but you’d have to get there right away at 6:30 am. They stop for almost an hour at Denver, but I’m sure they will want you out of the room ASAP.
     
  4. Jul 14, 2019 #4

    Aarem

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    Thanks! Btw, the ticket says that they will text messages about delays in the train an hour before the train is due. I live 1:15 away so was wondering how I can increase the time?
     
  5. Jul 15, 2019 #5

    chakk

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    can't get more time by an Amtrak text, but you can always check train status on the website or call 1-800-USA-RAIL to find the expected time at Osceola any time after 2 PM on your day of departure.
     
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  6. Jul 15, 2019 #6

    Aarem

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    Thanks very much!
     
  7. Jul 15, 2019 #7

    bms

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    That's right, and don't wait for the announcement that the diner is open for breakfast. It'll be open well before the announcement, which won't come until 7 a.m.
     
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  8. Jul 15, 2019 #8

    Aarem

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    Thanks, but don't we need reservations to show up at the diner?
     
  9. Jul 15, 2019 #9

    Bob Dylan

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    Just Sometimes for Lunch and Mostly for Dinner on Western LD Teains.

    Breakfast tends to get Busy Later in the Cycle with a Waiting List on some Routes.
     
  10. Jul 15, 2019 #10

    zephyr17

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    Typically your SCA will have gotten you one if you are boarding during dinner service hours. Last call is often open, too.

    Good info on going to the diner before the announcement for breakfast. They don't announce when they open up because it is during quiet hours. Although on the last announcement the evening before they'll usually say what time the diner will start service the next morning.
     
  11. Jul 16, 2019 #11

    Aarem

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    Thanks! Btw, on the way out, we have room 024 in car 0540 and on the way back, we have room 003 in car 0632. Are these rooms any good. Of course, there is nothing we can do about it. Also, does the train have wifi?
     
  12. Jul 16, 2019 #12

    F900ElCapitan

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    540 is the transition sleeper up by the baggage car (the first Superliner car) and room 24 is right next to the stairs in the middle of the car. From reports this car will probably have more horn noise at night, but otherwise has less people traffic so is quieter that way. 632 will be the middle sleeper of the 3 and room 3 will be in the second row of roomettes, right behind the attendants room. Both should be nice rooms.

    WiFi? No.

    Have a great trip!!!!
     
  13. Jul 16, 2019 #13

    F900ElCapitan

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    F900ElCapitan

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    Btw, when are you traveling? I’ll be on #5 departing CHI on 9/11.
     
  14. Jul 16, 2019 #14

    PVD

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    WiFi no as a rule, but sometimes the SCA may carry a personal hotspot and provide service. There are likely areas with no cell service, which will mean no wi-fi, I don't remember them offhand.
     
  15. Jul 17, 2019 #15

    ehbowen

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    Forget right now about streaming entertainment, whether audio or video, while on board. This applies whether you use a cellular connection with tethering or if you luck out and your attendant sets up a hotspot (which will, of course, simply be a cellular connection with tethering...). For entertainment, download some music and movies beforehand...but also, don't forget about the majestic and ever-changing vistas outside your window!

    On a 2016 California Zephyr trip we had no Wi-Fi, but there were enough locales with cellular coverage that I had no trouble keeping up with my email and posting the occasional updates to social media. Regarding the latter, though...think long and hard about posting something to the effect of, "I'm on a train in the middle of nowhere right now, and I won't be home for a week!" Especially if you're posting under your real name....
     
  16. Jul 17, 2019 #16

    Aarem

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    Thanks, yes indeed. No, I am not into posting on social media or post on trips to the restroom or what my options . My question was more for work. I am surprised that Amtrak still does not have WiFI.
     
  17. Jul 17, 2019 #17

    PVD

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    The western LD routes tend to traverse many areas where totally reliable wi-fi would be either very difficult or very expensive to provide, and the number of people who "carry their own" at least in the form of a smartphone is much greater now.
     
  18. Jul 18, 2019 #18

    ehbowen

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    If by "work" you're talking about word processing a document or creating a spreadsheet and being able to upload them a few times a day while checking messages and emails, as long as you have a cell phone with tethering enabled you'll be okay. Pretty much every town with a station has cellular data coverage these days. But if you're doing online research which demands continuous web browsing, I'm afraid that you're going to be disappointed. It can be quite a ways between those towns while you're traversing deserts and mountains.
     
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  19. Jul 18, 2019 #19

    dogbert617

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    As I remember, breakfast and lunch don't require reservations, and dinner is the only meal where it's required to get a reservation before eating in the diner. So RIGHT AFTER you board, I'd have someone in your group try to secure a dinner reservation. Since 8:10pm is not far from the exact time, when the dining car staff will make a PA announcement on the train for a 'last call' for dinner reservations.

    I will note that sometimes breakfast and lunch switch over to being reservation only, IF the dining car fills to capacity. If that occurs, the dining car staff will announce that on the PA system. And of course after someone in your group puts in a reservation, they will *announce when your reservation is ready.

    *- doesn't apply before 7am, when the dining car first open. and as quiet hours for all Amtrak long distance trains, are between 10pm and 7am. The dining car first opens for breakfast sometime between 6am to 6:30am (forget when exactly it occurs), so I'd go up to the dining car to ask one of those employees, or try to catch on the last dinner PA announcement the night before when the diner will reopen for breakfast the next morning. If you can't immediately figure out when breakfast starts, I'd ask an Amtrak employee. Though usually the sleeping car attendant, will know this answer(when breakfast starts) for sure.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  20. Jul 19, 2019 #20

    ehbowen

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    I've never seen breakfast by reservation, although a wait list is common when things get busy. Lunch by reservation happens infrequently on the busier trains.
     
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  21. Jul 22, 2019 #21

    Aarem

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    Btw, today, the train (#5 Zephyr) was 11 hours and 50 minutes late arriving into Denver! Really? Is this usual/expected?
     
  22. Jul 22, 2019 #22

    chakk

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    Not usual, but the midwest has been very stormy this year with lots of rivers over their banks, flooding out portions of the route; sometimes closing regular routes for days at a time.
     
  23. Jul 22, 2019 #23

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    Also the P-42s are crapping out regularly in the Extreme Heat, and after having been run to death without proper Maintenence!

    Still too many LD Trains running with One Engine ,and even those with Two are often having to be rescued by Freight Engines!!
     
  24. Jul 23, 2019 #24

    dogbert617

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    I do wonder, how often does it occur when an SCA has had a wi-fi personal hotspot that others could pick up the signal of within that car? I have a weird feeling this doesn't happen often, but who knows. Allegedly I remember hearing reports(I think from this board) that the now retired Pacific Parlour Cars on Coast Starlight had wi-fi within them, till they were retired.
     
  25. Jul 23, 2019 #25

    ehbowen

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    The "Wi-Fi" on the Parlour Cars was simply an ordinary cell phone, with a hotspot enabled and the password posted for passengers. Most such mobile hotspots are limited to eight simultaneous connections; more than that sharing the bandwidth of a single cell phone and you might as well forget about it.
     
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