Disillusionment with Amtrak sleeper perks

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by RickIronton, Sep 1, 2016.

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  1. Sep 1, 2016 #1

    RickIronton

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    RickIronton

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    The City of New Orleans from New Orleans to Chicago disillusioned me on more long distance train travel.

    Even though the sleeping car attendant (Rion) was excellent, the dining car menu should have been titled "TV Dinner Menu".

    It was a farce. The choices could easily have been added to the cafe car menu since they were all microwaveable items on one small plastic plate.

    I use the Amtrak Mastercard but I'm converting to card that will give perks on general travel.

    Sadly, Amtrak is loosing a dedicated traveler due to the reduction of amenities for long distance travel.

    And, yes, I have contacted customer service.
     
  2. Sep 1, 2016 #2

    Tennessee Traveler

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    Amenities in the dining car of the City of New Orleans have been diminished for over a year now as they removed the chef. Since I am a native Louisianian who lives in Nashville with "zero" Amtrak service, for the last three years I have been using New Orleans as my origin or destination for Amtrak trips using the CONO mostly. Because of the reduction in service on the CONO, I have stopped using that train for my future trips. Instead, I am flying to Chicago for my October and January trips I use to begin in New Orleans to connect to the California Zephyr. In April, I will travel on the Crescent to DC connecting to Capitol Limited to Chicago and then the CZ to Emeryville. I will return to DC on the CZ and CL and staying in DC before flying home to Nashville on Southwest.
     
  3. Sep 2, 2016 #3

    George K

    George K

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    I did the same thing after my most recent trip on CONO. I got a nice reply in "corpspeak" that said nothing, other than acknowledging the fact that they got my letter.

    Sadly, I think our complaints, though heard, will have little impact on what Amtrak actually does.
     
  4. Sep 2, 2016 #4

    MikefromCrete

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    MikefromCrete

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    As long as Cong. Mica remains an influential person in transportation matters, these cutbacks will continue. The Washington Post recently reported that Mica may be in trouble in his election bid this year. Orlando area residents who are AU members, you know what you have to do.
     
  5. Sep 2, 2016 #5

    StriderGDM

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    I would also definitely recommend writing Amtrak and let them know they're probably losing a customer.

    I've said again and again, that the experience is a big part of why I prefer the sleeper over flying. Take away the experience (degrade the food, etc.) and that all changes.
     
  6. Sep 2, 2016 #6

    zephyr17

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    Here's hoping for the defeat on Rep. Mica in his newly reapportioned district.
     
  7. Sep 2, 2016 #7

    crabby_appleton1950

    crabby_appleton1950

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    I agree 110% about the meal. After having read numerous reviews here raving about the food on Amtrak, I was seriously disappointed to find the food served to me in my roomette (round trip ABQ-LAX 2015) comparable to an inexpensive "TV dinner".

    Adding 'insult to injury' the SCA basically tossed the white plastic shopping bag containing the meal into my lap as she walked down the hall, and didn't return to pick it up for three hours.

    The couple in the roomette across from me got the same disappointing service and quality of food.

    Thank goodness the meal was included in the cost of my roomette. Imagine paying big bucks for that?
     
  8. Sep 2, 2016 #8

    enoreeman

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    The last time I traveled First Class was 2002 on the CZ, the SCA had soft drinks, juice, water and coffee for the passengers, it looks like today you get bottled water and that is all. The meals were much better looking than what the current menu looks like. Also they had a signature dessert that i do not see on the current menu. But in today's world of pay more, get less for everything what can you expect. Everything has gotten smaller packaging for more money, Amtrak is just following the lead of others. The trouble is that there is nothing that can be done about any of it because the only way to send a message to companies would be a total boycott of their product and there is no way that could ever happen.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2016
  9. Sep 2, 2016 #9

    jis

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    First the Orlando area residents have to figure out which district they are actually in. As our own penny will tell you, many are confused. :)

    Mica won the Republican primary with 77% of the votes. is district CD-7 has been redistricted and has lost the conservative part of Vlusia County to gain less conservative parts of Sanford and north-central Orange County. So we'll see what happens in the general.
     
  10. Sep 2, 2016 #10

    rtabern

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    Agreed with the meals... I don't see us taking Amtrak long distance EAST or SOUTH out of Chicago ever again.

    Our May 1 trip on the City of New Orleans was the first trip with these microwaved TV dinners... just horrible. They have spread over to the Cardinal now, too. Cross those two trains off our list.

    Our experience on the Capitol Limited with the Cross-Country Cafe was also horrible -- using half the car our 8:30pm dinner turned into a 10:05pm dinner the last couple of times. (Couldn't get in earlier because reservations were taken for the earlier times by folks who were connecting in the Met Lounge). Cross the Capitol off too.

    And cross of the Lake Shore until the diners come back. UGH.

    We will still do the western trains, esp. the Coast Starlight... and chase wherever Amtrak is running Ocean View... and that will be about it.
     
  11. Sep 2, 2016 #11

    tonys96

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    We just rode the Crescent going north. Food was acceptable. Downgrades were noticible, though. Paper on table, plastic dishes, but we had REALmetal utensils.
     
  12. Sep 2, 2016 #12

    ciship

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    I took the CONO twice in June and I must admit, those "meals" were really disgusting. The "omelet" I had for breakfast was gooey and gag worthy. Really disappointing overall (and I LOVE taking the train!).
     
  13. Sep 2, 2016 #13

    crabby_appleton1950

    crabby_appleton1950

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    As do I. But, if my health should permit me to take another overnight roomette trip ABQ~LAX, I'll bring my own food. I'll just accept a soda and dessert.
     
  14. Sep 2, 2016 #14

    rrdude

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    "Dinner in the Diner", (or breakfast, or lunch) used to be one of the things I looked forward to on Amtrak, as much for the food, as for the social aspect. Now, the food is, well, many have heard me bitc#$ and moan, "Applebees at best", and IMHO, that ain't so great at all. However, it appears that many, many, many younger travelers actually enjoy the meals offered in the diner.

    As one who has both worked in the kitchen of the dining cars, and one who has waited a lot of tables, (albeit, decades ago) it is sad to see how little they utilize the wonderful, (but ageing) Superliner equipment, just slinging out par-cooked meals, and almost nothing "cooked to order".

    For me, the "best part of the railroad dining experience" is now post-meal, while finishing dessert, with either a coffee or vino, and just chillin' and talking to those X the table. The meal itself does in no way excite me anymore......
     
  15. Sep 2, 2016 #15

    Kenneth

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    I did a trip on CONO Tuesday. Had Rion for an SCA southbound. He was excellent. But the food was disappointing. Last round trip was a couple years ago & it was very good.
     
  16. Sep 3, 2016 #16

    JohannFarley

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    (It's midnight here and I'm not awake so please bear with my seeming stupidity) This is all due to the situation with pulling heritage diners off but not having the replacement VLII's right? Or does all of this stem from a deeper issue that the lack of diners is only fueling rather than causing?
     
  17. Sep 3, 2016 #17

    greatcats

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    The situation on the CONO has nothing to do with Viewliners, as it does not use that equipment. It has more to do, correct me if I am wrong, with the hacks in Congress telling Amtrak they had to cut food service losses. From what I'm reading, If I should take that train, I too will bring my own food.
     
  18. Sep 3, 2016 #18

    Thirdrail7

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    Indeed and Mr. Boardman stated he would eliminate such losses in 5 years. This is one of the steps.
     
  19. Sep 3, 2016 #19

    JohannFarley

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    I couldn't remember which equipment was used on there which is why I asked. Do these issues also carry over to trains with viewliner equipment?
     
  20. Sep 3, 2016 #20

    Palmland

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    I don't require perks on a train, but I do expect a professional service staff, well maintained equipment, and good food served with the same amenities as any moderately priced restaurant.
     
  21. Sep 3, 2016 #21

    Woodcut60

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    Same is true on the Silver Star which I rode in May this year. Big mistake to eliminate the Dining Car! The food in the Café Car was just terrible.
     
  22. Sep 3, 2016 #22

    crescent-zephyr

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    At least on the star they don't pretend to have a dining car that serves actual food.
     
  23. Sep 3, 2016 #23

    jis

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    It will be interesting to see if Mr. Moorman disowns unrealistic promises made by his predecessor, like Mr. Gunn disowned his predecessor's promise of glide to self sufficiency.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2016
  24. Sep 3, 2016 #24

    Train2104

    Train2104

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    I agree with this - I have no problem with removing the dining car if it's advertised as such. But to advertise a dining car the same way as they do for every train and not mention the reduced service is just wrong.
     
  25. Sep 3, 2016 #25

    JohannFarley

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    What about LSL, has anyone rode that recently? Is that also being misadvertised?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2016

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