Auto Train Coach Food Being Removed 1/14/2020?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by lordsigma, Jul 15, 2019.

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  1. Jul 15, 2019 #1

    lordsigma

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    Started a new thread as this is somewhat of a different issue than the October "contemporary" announcement. It appears something is happening on January 14, 2020 with the Auto Train coach meals. On this page under Coach menu "Available until January 14, 2020" is listed https://www.amtrak.com/dining-car . Is coach dining disappearing altogether or being replaced with something else?
     
  2. Jul 15, 2019 #2

    Thirdrail7

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    They refresh the Auto train menu a few times a year. Winter seems about right for the refresh and by that time, they may decide if they are going to modify the Auto Train menu to something else.

    That whole menu page will need an overhaul soon.
     
  3. Jul 15, 2019 #3

    Bob Dylan

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    I'd look for more of the "Contemporary" (aka Boxed) Meals for the Autotrain since the Recent Announcement saying ALL Eastern Trains will go to this dumb Policy.:confused::(

    " Let them eat Cake!"
     
  4. Jul 15, 2019 #4

    lordsigma

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    From the response I just got from RPA it sounds like they are indeed cutting the coach meal service as of that date - it sounds like the Auto Trains’s sleeper diner is not included in “contemporary” and will remain the same.
     
  5. Jul 15, 2019 #5

    chrsjrcj

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    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  6. Jul 15, 2019 #6

    Michigan Mom

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    The press release makes it sound nice actually. Food trucks at departure time, or you can take your chances with the Cross-Country cafe (guessing, similar items to what you can purchase on short distance trains today). Continental breakfast which is probably similar to the current LSL/Cap offerings. I would not worry about starving on this train especially since they don't seem to delay as often as Train 30.
     
  7. Jul 15, 2019 #7

    lordsigma

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    Yes..hopefully the new dinner menu for sleeper is at least similar to what it is now (or an enhancement.) The new linens and towels sound like a nice addition as is complimentary wine. If the menu is an enhancement - could the "new Auto Train" be a trial run of what they have planned for the two night trains out west? Also for folks who have Select Executive, the free Priority offload is a REALLY nice feature.

    The food trucks are a great idea to try to attract millennials and younger generations in general to the AT......as a millennial myself it does sound appealing..another good idea would be to find a micro brewery to offer craft beer in addition to the food trucks...
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  8. Jul 15, 2019 #8

    chrsjrcj

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    Doesn’t the train normally board by 3? That is an early dinner, but I guess you can get a snack in the cafe to hold you over until breakfast. I wonder if the cafe will have overnight hours?

    I wonder how long the improved amenities will last like they had on the LSL and CL.

    And where will this extra sleeper capacity come from? A single level Capitol Limited or Southwest Chief?
     
  9. Jul 16, 2019 #9

    Thirdrail7

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    Unless they plan on cutting coach capacity, I have grave concerns about this. I'm imaging a seriously late Auto Train, Ping Ponging back and forth between terminals and not having enough food to serve the coach passengers. The current Auto train actually has two cafe cars. I wonder if they will still have two.
     
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  10. Jul 16, 2019 #10

    b243923

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    [​IMG]

    July 15, 2019 Amtrak Investing in the Auto Train Customer Experience


    media.amtrak.com

    2 mins read
    [​IMG]
    WASHINGTON – Auto Train during the next six months. This train offers daily, non-stop service from Lorton, Va. (near Washington, D.C.), and Sanford, Fla. (near Orlando). Customers can skip I-95 and travel with their vehicles, including cars, vans, SUVs, motorcycles, and even small boats or jet-skis.

    Customers in the Sleeping Car will notice enhancements such as upgraded towels and bed linens and other pleasantries in each room. The dining car will feature a new menu and the addition of complimentary wine to the dinner service. This complimentary dinner service will become an exclusive amenity to Sleeping Car customers beginning on Jan. 15, 2020.

    Amtrak will also expand the availability of every Sleeping Car accommodation — Roomette, Bedroom, Family Bedroom and Accessible Bedroom — to meet the demand for this class of service.

    Coach customers will continue to take advantage of low fares and can choose from new dining options with the debut of the Cross-Country Café. Beginning on Jan. 15, 2020, the new menu will offer more meals, snacks and beverages for sale. At that time, Coach class tickets will no longer include complimentary dinner service. Coach customers will receive a complimentary continental breakfast prior to arrival at the Amtrak stations in Lorton, Va., or Sanford, Fla.

    For all customers, food trucks will be on-site in Lorton, Va., and Sanford, Fla., to offer a variety of dining options before their journey begins.

    “These upgrades represent an investment in improving the travel experience on this one-of-a-kind train,” Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson said. “Our continued success depends on increasing customer satisfaction by upgrading sleeping accommodations, keeping Coach as an affordable option and providing more choice in food options in the station and onboard.”

    By the start of 2020, customers can take advantage of additional offers to travel on the Auto Train:

    • Share Fares will be available for travel with up to three companions. The discount will be up to 70% for a group of four and apply to select departures
    • The Oversized Vehicles fare will be available for minivans, full-size pick-up trucks and SUVs with three or more rows. This option will allow customers to pack more into their vehicle.
    • Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Executive members will receive a complimentary priority offload coupon as part of their tier member benefits.

    [paste:font size="4"]For More Information
    Kimberly Woods [/paste:font]
    • Amtrak Contact
    • MediaRelations@Amtrak.com
    • 202 906.3860
    About Amtrak®
    Amtrak offers a more comfortable and convenient travel experience with free Wi-Fi on most trains, plenty of leg room and no middle seat. With our state and commuter partners, we move people, the economy and the nation forward, carrying more than 30 million Amtrak customers for each of the past eight years. Amtrak operates more than 300 trains daily, connecting more than 500 destinations in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces, and reaches 400 additional destinations via connecting bus routes. Book travel, check train status, access your eTicket and more through the Amtrak app. Learn more at Amtrak.com.
     
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  11. Jul 16, 2019 #11

    lordsigma

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    The announcement on Amtrak’s advisories page also touts a new $89 coach fare (which is occasionally showing up if I do a search.) although the press release on the $89 fare makes it sound like it’s just a limited time sale. But with these changes maybe these types of sales will become common. The biggest problem I see for me is I don’t know what to make of this oversized vehicle language. Are they going to allow larger vehicles than they do now or is this a new thing to charge everyone with bigger vehicles more money - as I have a pickup truck. If they are charging a higher fare for all minivans, SUVs, and pickups then it would make sense to charge a fare lower than the current one for smaller vehicles if they are trying to incentivize people not to bring the biggest vehicles.
     
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  12. Jul 16, 2019 #12

    dogbert617

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    I agree with you, that I have grave concerns what this change after mid-January 2020 will mean to Auto Train. If it's like the Cross Country Cafe menu used on CONO and Texas Eagle, maybe it won't be totally bad. OTOH if this change means contemporary dining and that coach passengers on Auto Train only will be able to eat food out of the cafe car, then ugh this sounds like a very bad idea to implement.
     
  13. Jul 16, 2019 #13

    jiml

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    It's too bad the Auto Train is limited to passengers with vehicles. I know this defeats the purpose, but how great would it be to park your car in a huge parking lot and board a non-stop train to warmer weather? It would just like flying to Florida without the hassles of security lines, flight cancellations due to weather, etc. Heck, I have friends near Lorton that would let me park in their driveway and take me to the station.
     
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  14. Jul 16, 2019 #14

    JustOnce

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    I think the autoracks are the capacity limiter. There might be unsold bed spaces and coach seats even when the 33 (I think that's the max unless they deadhead one) racks are filled.
     
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  15. Jul 16, 2019 #15

    Rasputin

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    The joke continues. Comrades, anything that the current Amtrak management touts as an improvement is usually nothing more than newspeak.
     
  16. Jul 16, 2019 #16

    dogbert617

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    You'd think, that Amtrak would allow passengers including ones without cars, to ride the Auto Train! Too bad, that isn't the case.
     
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  17. Jul 16, 2019 #17

    lordsigma

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    You can ride the auto train without a car - you'd just need to get dropped off by a friend or cab or rideshare service as there isn't a long term parking lot.
     
  18. Jul 16, 2019 #18

    PVD

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    An AutoTrain reservation requires a vehicle. Obviously one vehicle can be "the vehicle" for a bunch of people traveling together, but passenger only travel is not supposed to be bookable.
    from the AT schedule:
    Requirements • Only passengers with four-tire, two-axle vehicles or motorcycles may travel on Auto Train. •
     
  19. Jul 16, 2019 #19

    desertflyer

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    Tired, played out food trucks aren't going to attract "millenials" (mind you millenials are now 23-38 years old). Decent onboard offerings might. Getting rid of the car requirement and better connecting the Auto Train into the Amtrak network would definitely do more to sell seats.
     
  20. Jul 16, 2019 #20

    Amtrakfflyer

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    That’s a good point, allowing a limited amount of carless passengers would open the door to another group of customers and revenue. Nonstop overnight train travel from the NE to FL would appeal to more than snowbirds.
     
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  21. Jul 16, 2019 #21

    priller

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    Uh ... But you will be paying the $200+ charge for the vehicle, that is in addition to the passenger ticket. The system will not let you book a ticket without adding a vehicle.

    "Problem with Vehicle Selection: To book a reservation on the Auto Train you must bring a vehicle. Please select one of these options below and resubmit.
    [Error ID: 595S]"

    EDIT: Actually ... when you checkin inside the terminal, they ask you to present the folder with the car number provided to you at the gate. So, no avoiding the requirement.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
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  22. Jul 16, 2019 #22

    Rasputin

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    I realize that food trucks can put out some very good food but this is the first time I have ever seen a corporation describe the availability of food trucks as an enhancement.
     
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  23. Jul 16, 2019 #23

    JustOnce

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    I know of a few microbreweries that beg to differ.
     
  24. Jul 16, 2019 #24

    jiml

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    Marriott tried this (and still advertise it as a "feature") at some of its hotels that used to include a light supper. It was a cutback, not an enhancement, and it didn't take customers long to adjust. The only thing the hotels provided after the change was seating; everything else was on customers' dime. Most of the individual hotels have reversed the change on the local level.
     
  25. Jul 16, 2019 #25

    Qapla

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    While I can appreciate the non-stop virtue of the AT ... I think a "limited-stop" would not take away the quickness of the train as compared to normal scheduled trains.

    As it is now, someone from the Jacksonville area must drive well over 2 hours south to board a train that is going to take them back north to the station in Jacksonville. (It is my understanding the train stops in Jax to receive fuel, water and minimal servicing) In reality, the drive to the depot in Sanford from Jax can take quite a while since traffic can be problematic.

    It seems to me that a car loading facility could be established in Jacksonville, especially since the area by the station already receives cars by rail, allowing people in the north part of the state to load in Jax instead of having to drive south just to go north - the pre-loaded car could be appended to the train coming from Sanford or removed for the train coming from Lorton.

    This would make using the AT much more attractive to those in the panhandle area.

    But then, I think there should be auto-trains heading to other destinations ... like Chicago and the West Coast.
     

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