New threads and interesting conversations directly in your inbox. Sign up now and get a daily summary of the latest forum activities!
Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Rail Freak, Jun 21, 2017.
Does anyone think the SS will ever have a Diner again?
A definite maybe.
I think eventually it will after we have located the "head extraction from the butt" tool and applied it to Amtrak and its paymasters. It might be a little easier now that Mica has been relegated to the historical garbage dump
There should be enough data comparing the Silver Star to the Silver Meteor by now to draw a conclusion about the merits of returning the diner to the Star. Can anyone present a summary of the pluses and minuses, statistically, for the last year?
I would think that if the Star's data were compelling, then the diner would come off of the Meteor and if the Meteor's data were more favorable, then the Star would get its diner back.
I doubt the SM will lose it's diner even if the SS data is positive. That would cause some passengers to abandon the Florida trains entirely, as there would no longer be a train with a diner. In addition, it would not look good for Amtrak to have all of their brand new diners sitting around in a yard somewhere. I actually believe the "experiment" was just as much about if not more about equipment availability rather than experimenting. Therefore, I do believe the SS will get diners back at some point.
I don't think both trains have to be with diner or without diner, I think it's good to have a variety rather than not having either train have a diner or requiring roomette passengers on both trains to have to pay for Amtrak steaks (whether that means no diner or the option to get cheaper roomettes). Assuming we actually get "enough" diners, I don't really see a reason not to use them.
Then again, my bigger fear is no Silver Star (or Silver Meteor) at all.
Well, if one is to have a diner and the other not, I would like to see them switch off for a while, since I'm on the SS route.
I think it is likely that the governing rules that apply to decision making on this matter will change leading to a different decision, depending also on how things unfold in Congress. It is hard to tell what might happen and any determination of rules that the Boardman regime used may already be outdated.
In terms of the diners, there wasn't really any "decisions" to make, they just were short on cars. The only questions were which trains would have diners, which would have diner lites, and which would have just a cafe car.
People from within Amtrak have communicated to NARP and others that actually there was more to it than that, though, the Diner availability situation presented an opportunity to carry out the experiment. That is what makes the speculation about what will happen next less than so straightforward.
Basically I've heard that there was a lot of pressure from Congress to try this (and Amtrak seemed to hint that they wanted negative feedback, albeit not in so many words) due to the food service mandates. That plus the messy equipment situation at the time (the long CAF equipment delay was a major problem; the Heritage diners were supposed to be out of service as of several years ago) arguably made the experiment necessary.
The other thing to remember is that whereas a lot of the Meteor's traffic is through-traffic to Florida, the Star has a lot of turnover (MIA-TPA, TPA-ORL, and RGH-north are all big markets for it) while anecdotally even before the change traffic would often be a bit thin between Jacksonville/Savannah and Raleigh.
To really do the experiment properly, you would want to run a Silver Star with a diner, but without meals included in the cheaper sleeper fares.
Let's say, I'm coming eastbound on the CL (sleeper),connecting to the SS on my way to Florida & we miss the connection. If they put me in a sleeper on that evenings SM, will I be entitled to meals in the Diner?
One never knows what might happen. It is possible that Amtrak will tenderly ask for the difference in fare and if they can't collect it or they refund the sleeper part of the SS fare and put you in Coach Or they might just let you ride Sleeper on Sm and eat away. The more fundamental issue might be availability of Sleeper space in SM. It usually runs heavier in Sleeper than SS even though it has one additional car.
Because of a chance of a missed connection from the CL, we have almost always opted to take the Meteor so that we were guaranteed a sleeper to Fla. We thought about trying the diner-less Star this winter just to see whether we liked it or not.
But since we enjoy corking around DC for museums, etc, the extra time and wait for the SM is not a problem.
Yeah, I feel the same. Plus, if I miss the SS , it's not a given to get a sleeper on the SM!!! I cant do coach over night!!!
We will never take a long distance trip on a train without a diner. The diner is not only for a sit down meal but provides a break from sitting in your room or in a coach chair. Its has the effect of shortening the trip. If a diner is ever returned to the Silver Star, I hope that the food quality is better than the fodder that they serve on the Cardinal and CONO routes. All the folks that we sat with on our last CZ trip gave thumbs down to the food on those routes.. Actually we believe that the food is passable IF you ask the cook/table server what is good and what isn't? He/she eats that food too so they should know.
Just out of curiosity, I was wondering how downgraded the food was on the Star, CONO, and Cardinal? It is similar to the cafe cars, but with a few options that are a tad better than typical cafe car fare? Too bad to hear about this, since I was thinking at some point about riding the Cardinal and CONO to try riding those trains for the first time. I guess I should bring a few snacks/food of my own that doesn't require refrigeration(i.e. granola bars), to survive how mediocre the food is on Cardinal and CONO?
Everyone has different opinions & about the food on trains, just like for everything in life. Some hate it, some like it & some are ok with it.
You can find the menus for each train on Amtrak's website.
As for the Silver Star getting a full diner back, I would not count on it despite the arrival of the Viewliner Diners.
For decades Amtrak has played around with dining service on the Florida trains including one time that full meal service was only offered south of Washington,and another
where they offered "buffet style" service.
As for the Cardinal and the CONO, they have the most limited offering with the CONO southbound the most limited of all.
There are some options that Amtrak should consider from the VIA rail playbook.
The Ocean uses catered food, but it is reheated, plated, and presented on-board, in a traditional diner, with full a wait staff (see pictures below).
The Canadian, the only non-tourist train in North America with a full cooked on board menu, adds a coach class diner during the summer peak only, during the bulk
of the year coach class uses the cafe car which has some entree choices, similar to what was added to to the Silver Star cafe menu.
As for which train will have a full diner restored, my money is on the Lake Shore.
The LSL is almost certainly getting it's diners back; that does not stop the Cardinal or SS from also getting new diners.
When I traveled on the Cardinal earlier this year I was perfectly happy with the lunch and dinner selections, but the omelet was the only Amtrak meal I have had that was truly awful.
I was eventually going to see what the menu was showing up as for each of these 3 trains, on Amtrak's website. It is a bummer to hear it has food service that's been downgraded from a full service dining car, since it was one of those long distance trains I was eventually thinking about riding at some point. I'm sure I'll find a way to deal with it somehow, though.
Thought it was just Cardinal, CONO, and Silver Star that had lost their full service dining car? I forgot LSL had lost their dining car, for whatever odd reason. At least Capitol Limited which I was seriously considering riding at some point, still has a full service dining car. Ditto with the Crescent, from what I hear.
LSL lost its full diner when the heritage diners numbers dropped. It has less meals affected than the SM & Crescent. It will most likely get full diners back once the SM & Crescent have all the new diners they need.
If that comes true, wouldn't Amtrak then have to explain to Congress that they bought too many new Diners, and why there is a full set of new Diners sitting in a yard rusting away?
Separate names with a comma.