What should go into an Amtrak LD care package?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by iliketrains, Jun 19, 2019.

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  1. Jun 19, 2019 #1

    iliketrains

    iliketrains

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    Which items would you place in a care package for a long-distance Amtrak traveler who would be traveling 24 hours in coach and eating only breakfast and dinner in the dining car?
     
  2. Jun 19, 2019 #2

    Amtrakfflyer

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    If they’re already having breakfast and dinner in diner I’d just suggest an extra $20 for soda, water or snacks. Keeping it simple. Maybe a small pillow and throw over blanket for comfort.
     
  3. Jun 19, 2019 #3

    Rasputin

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    A sleep mask, maybe some ear plugs, sunglasses, a couple bottles of water, and an ample supply of some type of snacks such as granola bars, peanut butter pretzels, a sizeable bag of M&Ms, etc. Maybe a nice bag of Chips Ahoy!

    Don't forget your toothbrush and toothpaste, razor and shaving cream. As the previous poster said, a blanket and a pillow. Sometimes I have used my jacket as a blanket while overnight in coach.
     
  4. Jun 19, 2019 #4

    iliketrains

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    All those sound like great ideas. I think I'll add wipes, mouthwash, peppermints, mini-soup, and washcloths, hand-lotion, and body spray.

    So it's get cold due to air conditioning?
     
  5. Jun 19, 2019 #5

    Rasputin

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    The problem is that you just never know for sure what it will be in a coach or in a roomette or bedroom. Usually when I travel I carry a lightweight or medium weight short jacket anyway and I will usually put that over me at night and it works fine. I have never used a blanket but it would be a good idea to have one just in case. I used to think bringing a pillow on a coach trip was silly until I tried it and now I highly recommend it.

    Just as a warning, I understand that on some trains the dining car may only have the capacity to feed the sleeping car passengers so you may not find it that easy to eat in the dining car and would have to eat in the café car. This has not been a problem on any trains that I have been on - coach passengers have been eating in the dining car all the time from my experience but it may be an issue on some trains.
     
  6. Jun 19, 2019 #6

    iliketrains

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    Wow then Amtrak needs to state that dining car is not for coach passengers! Can you order the food in dining car and carry it back to coach and eat?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  7. Jun 19, 2019 #7

    Rasputin

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    This may be more of a threat than reality and hopefully someone with more recent experience can provide better information. In my coach trips a few years ago, I had no problem eating in the dining car and last year on my trips when I was in a sleeper I noticed that a number of coach passengers were eating in the dining car. Generally sleeping car passengers are offered reservations in the dining car first.

    I did hear recently that with staff cutbacks in dining car crews some dining cars may not be able to serve many coach passengers and may have all they can do to get the sleeping car passengers served. I don't know if that is really true or if it is just some speculation.

    On a recent trip on the Crescent I did not notice that many (or any) coach passengers seemed to be coming to the dining car to eat but that is only a random observation.
     
  8. Jun 20, 2019 #8

    Meat Puppet

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    Small heater, Fan, Gaffer tape, extension cord, power strip, window tint, bicycle lock, pillow, blanket, assortment of airplane size beverages, ambien, sunglasses, a bar of real soap unless you like the am soap, small towel
     
  9. Jun 20, 2019 #9

    Rasputin

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    I noticed that there are some posts under the thread Empire Builder Bedrooms "Sold Out" which mentions instances on some trains where coach passengers were not being accommodated in the dining cars so I guess it is actually happening.
     
  10. Jun 20, 2019 #10

    Devil's Advocate

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    Yeah, it's a real issue that I've seen myself in the past. I think it mainly depends on how busy they are, but I've also see it happen when they dining car is simply low on stock or the LSA is feeling ornery.
     
  11. Jun 20, 2019 #11

    FrensicPic

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    You may not order "to go" from the dining car (perhaps there are exceptions). They will probably direct you to the cafe car to do that.
     
  12. Jun 20, 2019 #12

    bratkinson

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    As mentioned above, a light jacket is always good to have during the warmer months. Sometimes the cars are cold, especially in the NEC where they tend to set the A/C to 'arctic winter' during the summer account full cars and bright sun make any other setting result in an oven.

    Regardless of whether I travel coach or sleeper, I always have at least one of these with me: https://www.google.com/search?ei=pr....1..gws-wiz.......0i10j0i22i10i30.3GA169rs8AU

    I bought several of them at Amazon 3 years ago but now it appears they only link to other sellers. The only 'problem' with these is fitting the blanket back into the folded up, deflated pillow. So I don't even try. These have the nicest mouth inflating stems I've found among 4-5 brands that I tried before discovering these. No need to squeeze it to inflate or deflate. Just blow. (with a tip of the hat to the late Lauren Bacall). All the other brand inflatable pillows sprung leaks within 2 years of use. These are still going strong due to their heavier gauge plastic as well as mouthpiece. The fuzzy cloth outer case of the inflatable pillow is easily removed when it's deflated and may be run through the washing machine and dryer, same as the blankets. Just don't run them too long in the dryer as the 'fuzz' isn't as permanent as I'd like it to be.

    Traveling in a roomette, I always pack some carpenters' wooden shim stock to stop door and other rattles, and gaffers tape to hold my scanner, etc, attached to the window. Gaffers tape is also useful for blocking an overhead aisle light while traveling coach as well.

    As far as coach passengers in the diner, on the Lakeshore Ltd and Capitol Ltd, they are prevented from partaking of 'contemporary dining' (what a joke!). And, of course, there's no diner at all on the Silver Star to Florida. All other trains, breakfast and lunch are generally 'come whenever you wish' (with exceptions) during normal serving hours. Diner is almost always by reservation only and hopefully, they'll come through the coaches taking reservations an hour or so before the first seating (5:30, give or take). If they haven't come through coach yet, walk down and talk with the LSA, they may be able to squeeze you in. Remember, free meals in the diner are available to sleeping car passengers only. Everyone else pays the listed prices. https://www.amtrak.com/dining-car
     
  13. Jun 21, 2019 #13

    iliketrains

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    Those comfort sets are nice!!

    Taking a power strip is a dam good idea. Thanks!!!

    I wish the dining car allowed carry-out! But I see they don't.

    I thought the Sunset Limited would not have a full train but I just checked. My train coaches are full and the sleepers are almost sold-out. With it being full, I bet dining seats for us coach riders will not be available. I will have to pack non-perishables to eat. I hate things like sandwiches in plastic containers the cafe car probably sells. I'm definitely taking me a stick summer sausage and a small block of cheddar cheese, apples and oranges.

    Will I have access to a microwave?
     
  14. Jun 21, 2019 #14

    Maglev

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    No, the ovens in the diner and cafe are not for public use.
     
  15. Jun 21, 2019 #15

    ehbowen

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    However, you can often get hot water in the cafe car for instant soup or cup o'noodles or similar. Just ask the attendant (a tip doesn't hurt!). Be advised that you can't EAT that cup o'noodles in the (downstairs) cafe, but you can use the tables upstairs in the Sightseer Lounge or else carry it back to your seat.

    No money-back guarantee on this, but I for one have never been turned away from the dining car as a coach passenger on the Sunset Limited. Had to wait until after the rush, maybe, but never turned away. And breakfast is always first-come-first-served for coach and sleeper alike. Hot tip: They normally open the diner by 6:30 for breakfast, but don't start making announcements until seven. If you slip in before then, you shouldn't have to wait at all.
     
  16. Jun 21, 2019 #16

    iliketrains

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    OK thats another great idea: add cup o'noodles to my list.

    I will try to "slip-in" at 6:30am
     
  17. Jun 21, 2019 #17

    iliketrains

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  18. Jun 21, 2019 #18

    pennyk

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    I would not bring any cooking "appliances" on board. I believe such appliances would be considered prohibited items (and could cause an electrical short in the car.) Below is a link to Amtrak's website's list of prohibited items.
    https://www.amtrak.com/onboard/baggage-policy/baggage-prohibited-items.html
     
  19. Jun 21, 2019 #19

    iliketrains

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    I dont see at the link you provided where it says I couldn’t bring a portable small device for warming food.
     
  20. Jun 21, 2019 #20

    pennyk

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    I interpret a device for warming food as an "appliance," which is prohibited.
     
  21. Jun 21, 2019 #21

    caravanman

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    Certainly not allowed to bring cooking equipment. You can buy hot dogs and similar items from the café if you can't get a table in the dining car. Don't panic! You are not going to starve!
    How do you think your seat mate is going to feel about you stinking up the coach with your "cooking" ? :)

    Ed.
     
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  22. Jun 21, 2019 #22

    SubwayNut

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    I remember being denied a lunch reservation in coach on the EB Lake Shore Limited. I never saw a dining car attendant and the seating process felt vague. I went went to the diner as we were leaving SYR to ask about a lunch reservation, and was told, were full I dont have any more seatings.
     
  23. Jun 21, 2019 #23

    BoulderCO

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    As others are saying, be considerate of other coach passengers and keep your in-seat dining simple. You will have access to an electrical outlet, but it is intended for low power devices such as electronics, chargers, etc. No heaters, cookers or hair dryers ;>) The good news is that you WILL be able to have a nice large breakfast in the dining car. Quite filling and you won't be getting a lot of exercise on the train. So just supplementing the breakfast with light snacks the rest of the day should get you through the 24 hours.
     
  24. Jun 21, 2019 #24

    iliketrains

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    Ok you all I just playing devil's advocate. I am the last one on earth that will try and cook anything! I absolutely hate cooking, I am certainly not bringing a cooking device.

    To be honest, although I have not rode Amtrak in years, when I did ride I always rode coach and never denied seating in the dining car for any meal. I know things have changed and it might happen. I am a little ticked at Amtrak that this possibility can happen. They need realize on a long distance train, passengers are onboard for 24 hours in coach and the dining car can be the only choice to eat. Brining food on the train can be a health risk and not feasible for some people such as disabled people. That's my opinion.
     
  25. Jun 21, 2019 #25

    iliketrains

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    I just called Amtrak and the rep placed me on hold while she consulted the department that handles dining. She came back and told me she verified that EVERYONE in coach is given an opportunity to make a reservation for ALL meals. She stated once you have a reservation you are guaranteed to be served. She stated you might be served late but the dining car will not close until ALL with a reservation have been served.

    She stated someone will come around asking who wants reservation BUT she strongly suggested I get up and go the dining car and make a reservation if no one asks me or no announcement is made asking folks to make a reservation.

    I explained to her that people are stating on this blog that there have been instances of denial by dining car staff and she stated that is not Amtrak policy. She stated everyone has a chance to make a reservation and if you have one you will get served.

    Perhaps those who were denied were denied by rogue employees who just didn't want to handle any more people. It happens sometimes. If it happens to me I will complain, even if I have to call Amtrak from the train on my cell phone.
     

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