Discussion in 'Guest Forum for Amtrak Questions' started by Clearfork, Aug 3, 2018.
Is ice still available in sleepers, specifically The Empire Builder?
It may depend on the attendant, but on my recent trips in Superliner sleepers, the attendant did not store ice in the sleeper. However, most attendants will offer to get you ice from either the dining car or the cafe car.
They no longer store ice in the sleepers on any train.
However, I just did a big trip, Seattle-LA-New Orleans-Boston-Chicago-Seattle and I had no problem getting ice on any of them. The attendants on all trains provided. it on request.
But since it is no longer self serve and can't get a scoop any time I want, I carry a small, foldable soft sided cooler. I get that filled once a day and I am good to go.
Would it be okay to fill a couple of quart size bags with ice from the Metropolitan Lounge at Union Station directly before boarding the train?
Because of FDA regulations, you may be prevented from placing your plastic bag under the dispenser. There is at least one lounge attendant monitoring the lounge to insure there is no consumption of outside food. Filling bags with ice may be frowned upon.
I always fill my small soft side cooler at the lounge. No problems.
Just ask the attendant for ice. Seriously, it is not a problem.
Whenever I've been on the Silvers, they've had ice on hand. I was most recently on #98 in January, and I'm 100% sure there was a big bag of ice at the coffee and juice stand.
There's enough ice on the A/T to put on Disney-on-Ice! LOL In the middle of every sleeper along with coffee (don't know about coach)
Some of the viewliners I've been on recently have had a bag left in one of the drawers. Haven't seen it out on a SL recently, but SCA have always said "if you need ice, let me know" A few years ago the SCA had a small chest she kept in a room so she wouldn't have to go far but she told me where it was if I needed it in a pinch.
The Silvers are Viewliners and the Empire Builder is a Superliner. What the ice situation is on a Viewliner is irrelevant to what it might be on a Superliner.
I was thinking particularly about post #3, and in that context my response was relevant.
But the original question was about the EB. You did not specify the train car is not the same as on the SM or SS. People who have never been on Amtrak do not know that.
They've been pulling back on passenger direct access to ice for the last few years, even when carried in the sleepers, because of FDA regulations. Enforcement of that was spotty and depended on the attendant, although more and more were restricting access as time went on in my experience.
I understand it was generally pulled from the sleepers entirely another "economy" measure recently. And I understand that demand for it has gone down so there was wastage. That doesn't mean it still doesn't appear sometimes, as with anything Amtrak, the only consistency is inconsistency.
I will say that on the my recent trip that included the Coast Starlight, the Sunset, the Crescent, the Lake Shore Limited and the Empire Builder no ice was in the car on ANY of them. And the attendants all got ice from the diner when asked (how happy they were about the request varied). Since that included both Superliner and Viewliner trains, equipment type appears immaterial to me in this discussion. The variability probably depends more on the train than the equipment type or just plain random on who's working what that day, like most things Amtrak.
Fair enough. But I'm pretty sure we had ice on the TE in February anyway.
Well, everyone knows my pre-boarding Happy Hours (Lorton & Sanford) that extend into the on-board rooms. Entertaining a bunch from my car when someone passing by said "Did I hear someone say Lemoncello?". LOL LOL I said..."Yes, cover charge is a bucket of ice!".
Opps...forgot to Sign-In
Well - it WAS "ice-related" LOL LOL
Sorry, I'm confused. Did you just accidentally post as a guest and then reiterate what you had said from your account?
The whole ice thing can go away if they ever redo the service areas. There are small ice dispensers that will meet current standards, but they are not cheap, and they require a filtered water supply, so they would only make sense in a major re do of the section.
So why is it that it seems like they hardly ever have ice on Superliners, but they do on Viewliners? I just can't imagine how the car type would be the prohibitive factor when it comes to having a bag of ice on a shelf, so what is the issue?
The drawer space available for storage is somewhat more likely to allow the ice to remain clean.. Ultimately, the only acceptable way to have public ice is to have a dispenser where the ice can not be touched by the public prior to it being dispensed. Go to many restaurants and in the kitchen they have an old style bin dispenser, fill up a bucket, and carry ice out to fill the closed compartment of a. drink dispenser. Most hotels have replaced bin dispensers with batch dispensers also.
I think you’re drawing too much of a conclusion from too few data points. As you note, car type doesn’t make a difference.
If anything, the correlation you think you see may be driven by crew basing and the likelihood of adherence to the long-standing “no ice where the public can touch it” policy. It’s not out of the question that some crew bases are more strict than others.
Also, where Viewliners travel, the majority of the bigger stops are a few hours away. On a Superliner, the next stop may be a few hours away. (They are not small, but think Houston and San Antonio. But how about Elko and Winnamucca, NV or Needles and Barstow, CA.) So it is more likely to run out of ice on Superliners.
On the CONO and CL recently, no ice was available on either but as Penny suggested, the attendant brought us a bucket of ice and orange juice (goes good with coconut rum!).
We always get quite a bit of dialog on this topic every couple of months, but I have to ask folks Has anyone actually been unable to get ice as needed? I offered a permanent solution, but it is only realistic if the drink station was being re-done.
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