Sunset losing Diner?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by SanDiegan, May 13, 2019.

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  1. May 13, 2019 #1

    SanDiegan

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    SanDiegan

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    Heard a crew rumor that after all the flak Anderson has taken over the Southwest Chief, his next target is Train 1/2, The Sunset Limited. Supposedly, he wants to remove the diner and implement “Contemporary Dining” (Boxed Dinners) on the train. This train has been a frequent target, so Sunset advocates should be getting ready for a fight !
     
  2. May 13, 2019 #2

    PRR 60

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  3. May 13, 2019 #3

    Anderson

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    Yeah...I remember hearing a crew rumor that the Palmetto was going to be re-extended to Miami a few years back. Still waiting on that one ;-) Of course, on the other hand I also heard about the Silver Starvation "experiment" the same way. Bottom line? Crew intel can be hit-or-miss.
     
  4. May 14, 2019 #4

    Devil's Advocate

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    It's probably best to avoid voicing any concern for the Sunset Limited's conventional dining service until Amtrak has officially abandoned it. Until then it's advisable to simply ignore these rumors since they're probably no more accurate than the reduced service claims involving the SS, CL, LSL, and PPC. We all know Amtrak would never dare to threaten a premier route like the Sunset Limited. Nothing Amtrak has done in recent memory gives any credence to these outlandishly unbelievable claims.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  5. May 14, 2019 #5

    Sauve850

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    I wish we wouldn't post rumors but I do hope the SL doesn't lose its diner.
     
  6. May 14, 2019 #6

    Dakota 400

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    Given the length of the time a passenger could be aboard if one boards at LA or NO and travels to the end of the line and the number of different meals to be eaten, removing the dining car from the Sunset Limited would truly be a stupid, guest-unfriendly move.
     
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  7. May 14, 2019 #7

    Seaboard92

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    It wouldn’t be the first time the Sunset Limited would have lost a diner. The unfriendly Southern Pacific did that till the ICC mandated they restore full dining service in exchange for a triweekly train that we still have.
     
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  8. May 14, 2019 #8

    niemi24s

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    Perhaps the rumor was removing the diner from only the portion of the route between NOL and SAS?
     
  9. May 14, 2019 #9

    Skyline

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    On #s 1 and #2, there is history from pre-Amtrak that food service can be reduced to vending machines. Current Amtrak management would not be above rolling that out again.
     
  10. May 14, 2019 #10

    WalterIII

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    Regard Palmetto extension to Miami, I can advise that it was indeed a possible plan at Amtrak from about 2002-2012. For some time there was a plan to reroute the Silver Meteor over the FEC from Jacksonville to West Palm Beach. As it was sold out via Orlando, that capacity would have been replaced by the Silver Palm (which may have then run to Tampa then Miami like Silver Star). Back 10+ years ago I saw the plans for the stations on the FEC; the big issue was cars and a connection from the FEC to CSXT at West Palm Beach. The Viewliner II order would have provided the cars (perhaps with the base order, certainly with the cancelled options; coaches would have come from those bounced from the mid-west by the regional bi-level order). Well, the connection in WPB is in the works (for Tri-Rail service extension to Jupiter). As for the rerouting plan now, who knows!

    Walter in Tampa Bay
     
  11. May 14, 2019 #11

    jis

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    The connection at Northwood was just completed and put in service within the last month or two.

    As for Amtrak on FEC, the issue is now further complicated by the existence of Brightline - err... Virgin Trains USA. Brightline has first dibs on all passenger service that runs on FEC, including the proposed Tri-Rail service between Miami Central and West Palm Beach and beyond. It looks like SFRTA (Tri-Rail) will get to operate an extension of its current service to Jupiter using the Northwood Connection. It also looks like Brightline is contemplating a separate Commuter style operation that it will run from Miami Central to FECR West Palm Beach. Or they might contract it back to SFRTA. We'll see.

    Incidentally Brightline also controls dispatching on FECR through 50% ownership of the Florida Dispatching Company which is in charge of dispatching both FECR and Brightline trackage in Florida.

    We will learn more in a few weeks at the FECRS Annual Convention in Daytona Beach this year, where both FECR and Brightline senior management are keynote speakers at the two convention dinners.
     
  12. May 14, 2019 #12

    Brian Battuello

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    I actually ate in the Sunset vending car. I was a kid, so anything was fun.
     
  13. May 14, 2019 #13

    Bob Dylan

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    As "a person of a certain age", I rode on the SP when it was in its heyday and also during the " run 'em off days" of the Late 60s and early 70s.

    Most folks I met on the SP Trains despised the "Automat" Car ( myself included!)which included an attendant that expected tips for making change to buy the swill they were pushing on their fading Trains!
     
  14. May 14, 2019 #14

    bmjhagen9426

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    Why do they called it the Automat car if it was just the vending machines?
     
  15. May 15, 2019 #15

    Palmland

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    I rode the Sunset in 1965 to a fraternity convention in Houston. I remember how nice the diner was, triangular tables with pink tablecloths and good food.

    Just before reading this thread, I had make a reservation on the Sunset this fall, LAX-NOL. Well, there is always the burrito lady. Actually (rationalizing a bit) maybe fresh and contemporary is better than mediocre food and indifferent employees. Perhaps that’s Anderson’s scheme.
     
  16. May 15, 2019 #16

    TiBike

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    "Automat" was a type of restaurant that served food through vending-machine like windows – more info here. Fast food restaurants did them in.
     
  17. May 15, 2019 #17

    dogbert617

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    Funny you mentioned automats, since for whatever reason they still exist, as of when I visited Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2016! Not sure why I remember reading they used to exist in NYC, but during both of my trips there(2009, and later 2013), I never ran into one anywhere while in NYC myself. Ah well though, since there's already a lot of great food there as it is....
     
  18. May 15, 2019 #18

    CAQuail

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    Last Automat in New York closed sometime around 1991 I think.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horn_&_Hardart
     
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  19. May 15, 2019 #19

    Inlander

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    This is just the start. It's Death by Stealth for most of the LD trains. Any student of Rail history knows how some of the private companies chipped away to get out of the pax business. Current management are following an earily familiar tactic. Downgrade on board service, first the Diner then the lounge/ observations. Then cut back the sleeper car attendants then the number of sleeper cars. This will be done under the tactic of ; theses cars are old and not safe anymore! When they have it back to no Sleepers or perhaps one token Sleeper car it will then be a straight contrast to say a parellel Greyhound service which will have a faster schedule. People will fly or bus it then
     
  20. May 17, 2019 #20

    MARC Rider

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    The only problem with this scenario is that there aren't any parallel Greyhound services anymore. Ever try planning a long distance bus trip? You have to change buses every 5 to 8 hours, usually at inconvenient times and inconvenient locations that may or may not have food service, which is basically off-brand fast food, if you're lucky. And I wouldn't want to ride in a standard motorcoach for any more than 4 or 5 hours, given the cramped room. With this comparison, Amtrak coach service with cafe car food is far superior to anything the bus lines offer.
     
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  21. May 17, 2019 #21

    Ryan

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    Well that and the more obvious problem of basing judgments on low quality rumor.
     
  22. May 17, 2019 #22

    Devil's Advocate

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    Just out of curiosity, which of these statements best describes the basis for your disbelief?

    1. The Sunset Limited route is too long and/or important to receive commissary tray dining.

    2. Contemporary dining has been a failure and is thus undesirable for further deployment.

    3. Contemporary dining was never intended for a larger rollout and is no longer a threat.

    4. Logistics and/or contractual obligations will prevent expansion of commissary trays.

    This rumor may or may not ever come to pass, but it does seem to be well within the realm of reasonable possibility, and I'm unaware of anything that would fundamentally preclude it.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
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  23. May 17, 2019 #23

    Amtrakfflyer

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    None of us now what’s going on, but then again neither does Amtrak currently. We can only be advocates and voices for a better Amtrak and see where the chips lay in 2020 and go from there.
     
  24. May 17, 2019 #24

    Ryan

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    5. Most of the “rumor mill” stuff spread by only train crews turns out to not come to pass.
     
  25. May 17, 2019 #25

    bretton88

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    Amtrak seems to acknowledge there's a clear difference between the one night and two night trains, so I would be surprised if they got rid of the diner. Now, as a tri-weekly train, the SL is ideal to do some experimintation on. So I wouldn't be surprised if the status quo changed at some point for the SL.
     

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