Disappointed with meals

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Hans627, Aug 29, 2019.

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  1. Aug 29, 2019 #1

    Hans627

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    We are on the Capital Limited to CHI. The meal service last evening (and this morning) were extremely disappointing. It was more like a box lunch, albeit warmed. Prepackaged hard boiled eggs?

    What happened to meal service? My wife said had she known this was the meal service we would have flown instead of taken the train.

    What course of action can we take to express our displeasure? It may be the last overnight trip on a train we ever make.
     
  2. Aug 29, 2019 #2

    choochoodood

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    IMO, this is just another step in the process of eventually eliminating all long distance trains. I could fly to my vacation destinations much cheaper than taking Amtrak, but I choose the train for the total experience, which includes excellent meals in the dining car. If this happens on the western LD trains, I will definitely choose to fly.
     
  3. Aug 29, 2019 #3

    Hans627

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    We will be boarding the Southwest Chief this afternoon. Is the meal service different on that train?
     
  4. Aug 29, 2019 #4

    velotrain

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    Welcome to the new, improved Amtrak of the future.
     
  5. Aug 29, 2019 #5

    choochoodood

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    The western LD trains still have full dining car service.
     
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  6. Aug 29, 2019 #6

    tonys96

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    For now.
     
  7. Aug 29, 2019 #7

    jis

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    Eventually, either a majority in Congress will agree that Dining Cars are necessary as an integral part of a vibrant long distance system, and will appropriate funds for running them (or at least remove laws that state appropriated money cannot be used for running them), or they will go away, maybe in multiple steps. This really is not rocket science. So far Congress has not given a clear indication that they are on the "continue dining car service" side, and not for the lack of trying on part of several passenger rail advocacy groups and others through writing or talking to their representatives. Maybe they will in the next authorization and following appropriations, or maybe they won't. Who knows what motivates their decisions
     
  8. Aug 29, 2019 #8

    MikefromCrete

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    It's probably better to express your displeasure to your representatives and Senators. Writing to Amtrak won't change their plans to adhere to the law that says "no dining car losses." You can thank former congressman John Mica, R-Fla., for this mess.
     
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  9. Aug 29, 2019 #9

    lordsigma

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    Yes the dining service on the Chief is the traditional dining car service.
     
  10. Aug 29, 2019 #10

    andytiedye

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    At least you got a hot boxed meal. Last time we were on the Lakeshore, they ran out of those and only had cold ones left (It was February). They still had the posters up advertising the Lakeshore Limited showing a couple having a nice dinner with wine though.
     
  11. Aug 29, 2019 #11

    Acela150

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    Call Amtrak and ask for Customer Relations and also write your representatives.
     
  12. Aug 29, 2019 #12

    Palmland

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    Although I haven't had the pleasure of a boxed meal, it seems to me much of the disappointment with the current 'Fresh and Contemporary' is just the totally unappealing meal in a box approach. Anderson, of all people, should understand that the same food served on a disposable plate, even if pre-plated, is a lot more appealing (and less wasteful). This should be an easy fix.

    Maybe the issue is storage of unboxed meals on a diner since there is little room for those moveable racks that hold the food on a plane. But then, I would think even the new diners have more room than the tiny galley on a plane.
     
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  13. Aug 29, 2019 #13

    Dakota 400

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    I agree with your thoughts. Since Mr. Anderson is a former airline CEO, he ought to understand the difference between a plated meal as compared to a boxed meal. I have also thought that the new dining cars ought to have more storage room than what is found in the galley of a plane such as a 737. Even when 727s were flying, hot, plated meals could be served in Coach.
     
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  14. Aug 30, 2019 #14

    MARC Rider

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    1) Being a former airline CEO, Mr. Anderson might be thinking, "Hell, we stopped serving any meals at all on domestic flights, people still fly on our airline, and we still make money. If these damned train passengers want to eat, they can bring own their own food, just like we made our airline passengers do." :)

    2) The absolute worst meal I've ever had on an Amtrak long-distance train was not in the maligned Cardinal Diner-Lite, it was on the supposedly full-service Southwest Chief. It was advertised as some kind of braised beef something or other. It was a tough beef cubes, probably the wrong cut for braising, and there wasn't any gravy anyway, so it was also dry. I think it was accompanied by some kind of couscous, that was overcooked and dry, too. A shame, because I've had some tasty braised beef dishes in the dining cars, including on the Cardinal. You really need to separate the issue of how the food is presented from the actual quality of the food. As for the boxed meals, I can't comment yet, as I haven't ridden the affected trains since they've changed the meal service. But I am planning to ride the Capitol when I go out to the Gathering, so I will soon get my chance to sample, and possibly complain. :)
     
  15. Aug 30, 2019 #15

    Skyline

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    This month, I rode VIA's Ocean Montreal>Halifax, and a week later Halifax>Montreal. They serve hundreds of pax each meal, and the food is better than what passes on Amtrak these days. Or most airlines! They have an ample wait staff in one large dining car. That car has a small galley in the middle that AFAIK serves mainly a dishwashing function. Actual food is plated in adjacent lounge cars at either end with the bar/kitchen for each facing the dining car (one lounge serves coach, the other sleepers, but also handles the diner food very efficiently). The food is actually catered, and the system just works.

    Why can't the suits take a few trips on the Ocean, see how they do it, and emulate?
     
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  16. Aug 30, 2019 #16

    crescent-zephyr

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    What is the staffing in the VIA Lounge car that plates the food and the VIA Diner that serves the food?
     
  17. Aug 30, 2019 #17

    Dakota 400

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    Your experience was the same as mine. The Chef on the Southwest Chef overcooked everything that I ordered whether it was Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner.
     
  18. Aug 30, 2019 #18

    Maverickstation

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    I agree the Ocean model works well, the food is excellent, and it is served by a full wait staff. The food is reheated and plated on board as well.
     
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  19. Aug 30, 2019 #19

    Lonestar648

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    I think the real issue is how can management show Congress the public doesn’t want LD trains, that they really want Day Corridor service, turning to the airlines for longer service. So by eliminating the Dining Cars in the East, Amtrak Management is cutting costs, hoping for a change in ridership numbers. If, the numbers hold, management has then showed Congress there is no need for Dining Cars on ANY train. I see this as a Lose, Lose either way for passenger rail. I have written several letters, and emails to my Rep and Senators, getting nothing back except generic gibberish.
     
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  20. Aug 30, 2019 #20

    crescent-zephyr

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    The capitol was doing fine with 2 servers, 1 cook and a lone LSA handling both dining car and lounge car money out of the CCC car.

    Do you think the pre-plated meals on the Ocean are better than the chef cooked food on Amtrak?
     
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  21. Aug 30, 2019 #21

    Maverickstation

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    First the ocean meals are NOT pre plated, and yes the catered meals they serve are to me better than what is offered on Amtrak’s trains with traditional dining cars. Then again a good amount of the fare offered in Amtrak’s diners is pre made by sous vide.
     
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  22. Aug 30, 2019 #22

    crescent-zephyr

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    Gotcha. I haven’t ridden the Ocean yet (sadly) so I can’t compare.

    Are they warmed in a convection oven on the ocean? Like an airline meal?
     
  23. Aug 30, 2019 #23

    Devil's Advocate

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    Sous vide is juicy and tender; not dry and overcooked like Amtrak dining car meals.
     
  24. Aug 31, 2019 #24

    crescent-zephyr

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    Best meals I’ve ever had on any train were the Lamb and Mahi Mahi from the 2008 era of Amtrak Dining cars. Beat out the Canadian, Iowa Pacific, and various dinner trains I’ve been on. (Although if you included the salads and side dishes as part of the judgement the Canadian would probably win over-all best meal).
     
  25. Aug 31, 2019 #25

    lordsigma

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    I had a recent silver meteor ride with a great chef who did the steak just right. A shame the meteor is getting cut this chef knows what they are doing.
     
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