• Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by gokeefe
 
I would note that at least one of the menus we were looking at earlier in the thread from the Olympian Hiawatha (just prior to it's cancellation) did not seem to be particularly appetizing. My conclusion was that much to my surprise Amtrak's menus were in fact better than some of the transcontinental streamliners of the 1950s. Great Northern and Union Pacific absolutely had them beat. And Santa Fe was ... well ... Amazing.
  by SouthernRailway
 
Am I the only one who noticed that at least on the Crescent, not only was meal service downgraded to “flexible dining” (which I find OK) but also fewer meals are served?

Northbound, lunch used to be served on the approach to NYC. Now it’s not. So if you get on board the night before, you get a dinky breakfast...and that’s it. The train still arrives NYC at about 1:45pm.
  by gokeefe
 
That's surprising. Did you get a lunch "pre-COVID" under flexible dining?
  by SouthernRailway
 
I don’t think that I took the Crescent northbound with flexible dining pre-COVID. I took it northbound only with regular dining and lunch was served approaching NYC.
  by gokeefe
 
Well regardless its still very unfortunate to say the least. Might want to email Amtrak Customer Service to see if they can confirm that this was the meal plan as intended. At least you would know if it was an oversight or not.
  by SouthernRailway
 
Thanks. I just checked the Crescent’s page on Amtrak.com and it lists the last meal northbound as breakfast.

That’s pretty cruddy, Amtrak: no airline would have people on board until 1:45pm and serve only breakfast.
  by STrRedWolf
 
John_Perkowski wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:33 pm The fact of the matter is Amtrak serves crappy food now. The fact of the matter is pre Amtrak food service to 1960 was damn good, and UP/Santa Fe kept it going to the end.

Amtrak food service was good the first few years, but Amtrak by law didn’t have freight customers then or now. We can add in a crap ton of problems about labor costs. Point is this: I can grub hub a better meal to the platform for delivery than Amtrak can possibly serve me, and at the per day cost of a sleeper, that is AFU in the first degree.
...

That didn't answer my question. "Now" isn't what I'm asking about. I'm asking about "back then," with the hope that "much later" will go back to "back then."

Of course, I bet "now" is "flex on all lines" because it makes the most sense -- they're running short trains with limited staff and maybe one or two people going end to end.
STrRedWolf wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:26 pm Anyone know if the Cardinal was on the "Flex Dining" menu or not before the pandemic hit? I'm looking at a Dec 2-3 trip from DC to Chicago (another convention, hope it doesn't get canceled) and back Dec 7-8... and hoping to get the regular dining experience then.
  by Jeff Smith
 
http://railfan.com/new-amtrak-ceo-says- ... -recovery/

Brief, fair-use quote per forum policy:
...Gardner said that people will soon be able to pre-order food onboard the train via their phone app instead of having to go to the cafe car, ordering and then waiting for it to be prepared.
...
  by gokeefe
 
SouthernRailway wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:34 pmWhy doesn’t Amtrak have something remotely comparable?
Because if Amtrak sold a single glass of sparkling wine for £60 (better known in this country as $74.22) while still receiving taxpayer operating support the howls from Congress would be heard all the way down on Peachtree Street in Atlanta.
  by John_Perkowski
 
Back then for UP and ATSF ran up to May 2, 1971, when the last trains arrived in Chicago and LA.

The railroads were able to allocate a portion of the DC&H budget to advertising: Mr Shipper, if we take good care of you, we can take good care of your freight.

Could modern foods be procured, prepared and served on Amtrak with finesse? Yes. Amtrak chooses not to. Imnsho, the comparison is Penn Central and Southern Pacific, 1968-71.
  by SouthernRailway
 
John_Perkowski wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:13 pm Back then for UP and ATSF ran up to May 2, 1971, when the last trains arrived in Chicago and LA.

The railroads were able to allocate a portion of the DC&H budget to advertising: Mr Shipper, if we take good care of you, we can take good care of your freight.

Could modern foods be procured, prepared and served on Amtrak with finesse? Yes. Amtrak chooses not to. Imnsho, the comparison is Penn Central and Southern Pacific, 1968-71.
Agreed. At least serving the Flexible Dining meals on white plates would be a step up.
  by rohr turbo
 
gokeefe wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:51 pm Because if Amtrak sold a single glass of sparkling wine for £60 (better known in this country as $74.22) while still receiving taxpayer operating support the howls from Congress would be heard all the way down on Peachtree Street in Atlanta.
Note that is the price for a full bottle (75cl=750ml=1 wine bottle).

While I agree those 2 champagne bottles are expensive, the rest of the drinks menu seems very very reasonable.

And alcoholic drinks tend to be the most profitable thing you can sell, especially to a locked-in customer base. So the responses to any congressional howls should be, 'drinks are a net contributor to the bottom line, thereby reducing the subsidy.' That should shut them up!
  by gokeefe
 
Aha. Thank you. I mistook 75cl for 75ml.
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