RailForum.com
TrainWeb.com

RAILforum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » ‘Contemporary and Fresh dining’ on the CL and LSL. (Page 2)

  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: ‘Contemporary and Fresh dining’ on the CL and LSL.
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree, Mr. Palmland, that a more efficient Amtrak is desirable and necessary. I don't have a problem with Amtrak seeking to cut costs. However, draconian cuts in food quality and dining car availability, I think, are very much counter-productive.

I have a short list of pet peeves. [One of which is guys who wear $700 Brooks Brothers sport coats over Levi's jeans].

But back to the point. My Amtrak pet peeve is their unwillingness to test market new concepts, ideas, and services. Why couldn't they reinstate the Pacific Parlor Car by means of a surcharge to the cost of a sleeper? Why not greatly up the cost of a meal, in a dining car, as long as the quality of the food is, at least, of "Dennys" standards? Why not test market these ideas, say on just one Amtrak LD train, over the summer months. If it doesn't pan out, well, it doesn't pan out.

Richard

Posts: 1657 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Good suggestion, Richard, but as we know Amtrak is not noted for their marketing innovations. I suspect they are very much in the ‘one size fits all’ mindset. Presumably to standardize operations and maintenance. But who knows, maybe some of your suggestions are what Anderson has in mind when he was recently talked about the possibly upgrading service on some ‘experiential trains’. We’ll see.
Posts: 2317 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Take this for what it be worth; there is an unsubstantiated report (isn't that called a rumor?) at another site stating that "Fresh and Contemporary" will offer a hot Dinner entre' such as Short Ribs.

Stay tuned.

Posts: 8954 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I would hope, Mr. Norman, that a hot meal would also include breakfast and lunch. Hopefully the return of the railroad french toast.

Richard

Posts: 1657 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A great illustration of the old adage, "a picture is worth a thousand words".

https://is.gd/8Ta7QX

Too bad Jim didn't get a chance to sample the chilled paper mache roll.

Richard

Posts: 1657 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Trains newswire reported that Amtrak has issued a RFP for vendors to provide on board meal service.

A little digging reveals the actual RFP:
Dining RFP

I’m glad to see Amtrak is showing some initiative and apparently realizes that their Fresh and Comemporary effort is not the answer. It’s intresting that one of the options mentioned is a high end dining a la Orient Express. I wonder if an Amtrak version of VIA’s Prestige class might be in the works too.

I saw on another site that someone speculated this outfit might be a prospective bidder:

Newrest Wagon-Lits

Posts: 2317 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
An Amtrak version of VIA's Prestige Class? Well, that would be interesting. Here is an example of prices for VIA prestige class compared to other levels:

https://is.gd/chRkTC

Amtrak, go for it! [Smile]

By the way, Mr. Palmland, I hope you and family have survived Hurricane Florence and that your abode and property are all ok.

Richard

Posts: 1657 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for asking, Richard. The next 24 hours will be the test. The storm is much diminished with only 40-50 mph winds expected here. The problem will be the 10” of rain and potential loss of power. What remains of the center is supposed to pass very near us as it drifts slowly west then finally turns north.

Be we are prepared. I’m counting on my old kerosene RR lanterns to give us light! Hopefully we won’t burn the house down. May even have to read real books rather than our e versions. I would imagine CSX and NS in eastern NC will be a long time recovering with the massive flooding there.

Posts: 2317 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Now wait a minute; are these 77yo eyes reading this right?

..all aspects of its Food and Beverage operations, including management of its warehouse operations ON BOARD ITS TRAINS and in support of its intercity train operations.....

Sounds like a rerun of the Subway debacle; only this time Systemwide!

Well, Mr. Anderson succeeded with decertifying several Northwest crafts on Delta such as Attendants, so I guess it's time to try it out on Amtrak.

This could be war!!

Time for a little hum along (theme: "The year of living dangerously")

https://youtu.be/kDCall_B-ig

Posts: 8954 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I found it interesting that they are open to offfers not only for dining and lounge but also sleeping car attendants. Wouldn’t it be great to have consistently professional service. That takes training and supervision. Unfortunately Amtrak seem unable to do either. Perhaps an outside vendor can do better.
Posts: 2317 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I can't loose sight that labor reform has been "groundbreaking" on Amtrak (to me, a reduction in crew consist from five to three and revising the pay structure from miles to hours is "groundbrraking") - and now Mr. Anderson wants to "declare war" on a craft that is small potatoes and that without, Amtrak could still move trains.

Of course there is always the chance if the ASWC authorizes a strike, crafts such as Conductors and Engineers might not X - and now who's left to run the trains? What if the "sympathy" carried over to the Class I's?

Mr. Anderson, simply because you succeeded decertifying crafts (and I have heard rumblings that you "shaded the Green" a bit) from Northwest upon the merger, does not mean that an outright act of "union busting" can be pulled off. My suggestion: "think twice".

Addendum: Delta Attendants and Fleet Service are again attempting to organize:

Forbes

Posts: 8954 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well Mr. Palmland. If The Weather Channel is to be believed, "the eye" of the tropical depression is now over Saluda, or otherwise to your West.

I'm to start an eight day road trip (time for "Black Beauty" - new Lex - to start earning his keep) on Thursday taking me along I-64 (first night tie up Lewisburg WV) three wineries around C'ville (might just stop at Trump - just to say I did), then Fredericksburg, Greenwich, and home. I guess it could be a rain event as I approach WV.

Posts: 8954 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
GBN, I'm glad we don't live another 100 miles northeast. They got clobbered. All we saw was a steady, but not torrential,rain and wind that never topped 45mph.

You should be fine on your trip as the storm is supposed to quickly exit the northeast by mid week after plodding through the Carolinas at 2-4 mph.

I'm sure you'll check out the White Sulfur Springs
station on your way to Lewisburg, perhaps time it for 50/51 arrival. Sadly the Greenbrier ain't what it used to be. The famous Old White Club is now the Casino Club.

We were in Charlottesville a few weeks ago with friends and visited one of the wineries. It was ok, but we enjoyed James Madison's house at Montpelier far more. But then we aren't conoisseurs. An $8 bottle of Menage a Trois Red is our table wine! For dinner I suggest the C&O Restaurant downtown. It has a bit of railroad history and really good food. The Southern station is not far away and the timing is good for after dinner train watching of the Roanoke train and Crescent.

Posts: 2317 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I gave thought to staying at The Greenbrier, but for this Thursday, it was "limited room availability, call hotel". All I could envision was a $400 broom closet. $115 at a Hampton with a walk to a Ruby Tuesdays will allow me to drink what I want with Dinner, and Hampton has a good "comp" Breakfast.

Comment is withheld regarding that choice of wine, but if you stoop one shelf lower, there's always $4.99 Barefoot.

For Friday Dinner, I expect to be with my Retired Marine friends in Fredericksburg.

Posts: 8954 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
One other thought, Gil, hop off I-64 at Clifton Forge- for the C&O museum after checking on open hours. It’s well worth a half hour diversion.

And, sorry, Barefoot wine is even below my minimal standards.

Posts: 2317 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The trip crashed at 6P tonight; Joyce has "family issues" that need be addressed.

So I'm going to visit my Sister in Greenwich this weekend. To fly costs $1000 (+ auto rental) on this notice, so I drive. The Greenwich Hyatt had a room. Outbound overnight Sharon PA, return Akron .

Then Friday Oct 5, I'll visit Joyce in Fredericksburg. That will be fly to RIC and rent. I haven't seen a $366 fare to fly anywhere and back in a long long time
Nor have I seen a car from Hertz - 3 days/$110 - that cheap (booked through United in conjunction with the flight). Marriott Towne Center is their far nicer low end brand than is Fairfield.

But alas, even for three day trip "my front door and back to my front door for a Thou", no wine is coming back with me.

Posts: 8954 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sorry to hear it. But It could be an opportunity to try VRE to Wash., Cardinal home. If you BYOW it should be good foliage in October and the old C&O is an enjoyable trip.

Or, better yet, return your rental to a downtown Richmond location and have them drop you off at Staples Mill. Take the short Thurway bus trip to Charlottesville and catch the Cardinal there. James River Bus line runs the bus and they have nice equipment - it leaves around noon.

You really can't beat the Viewliner roomettes withe the good views and in room facilities - if traveling solo. Dinner best taken in your room, AmCafes are depressing.

Posts: 2317 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
According to other sites, this menu is now being offered on the CL and LSL. Certainly a big improvement over the very limited menu offered initially. It reminds me of a ‘lean cuisine’ type frozen dinner seen in grocery stores. But it would be good to taste it before getting too snarky.

Nice to see the complimentary drink menu. Makers Mark is one of my favorite bourbons and the wine will help insure the dinner is palatable.

Posts: 2317 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Of course, I note the "downside". No longer is the "comp" wine a 375ml "half", but rather a 187ml "glass".
Posts: 8954 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My first reaction is that all of the entrees would be okay if I were riding in the sleeper, although I would miss the steak. I might also include a bottle of my favorite bottled hot sauce in my travel bag, just to add a little extra flavor, if necessary.

Any information on the price point of those entrees? Are they priced to be attractive to coach passengers or will they only be "affordable" for the sleeping car segment?

Posts: 791 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I read something interesting on the RPA website. Apparently, the Capitol Corridor and Capitol Limited have installed high speed convection ovens, not microwave, that allows the heating or cooking of 24 meals at a time. Don't know if other Amtrak trains have these ovens.

With a little Amtrak ingenuity (I know, an oxymoron) I can't help thinking that these ovens could greatly increase efficiency in turning out large quantities of meals in little time. And, possibly hot and tasty meals, to boot, instead of cold contemporary meals of questionable palatability.

Richard

Posts: 1657 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
David
Full Member
Member # 3

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for David     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
VIA Rail has been using convection ovens for reheating meals on the Renaissance "Ocean". I don't know how many can be heated simultaneously, but the 48-seat dining car is served by a service car adjacent to each end, so 24 meals are heated in each service car.

Staff tell me it takes 18 minutes to heat each meal. They are generally of good quality. After heating in aluminimum containers, the main courses are plated and garnished in the galley.

The service is still labour-intensive. When the train is busy there are four serving attendants plus the two people in the service cars. Staff is often reduced between Moncton and Halifax and when the train has only five sleepers instead of the nine operated in summer.

Posts: 210 | From: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Richard, I wonder if only the Capitol Ltd is mentioned because the VII diner on the LSL already has them. Or, perhaps, all those diners sitting in Hialeah are being modified before going into service.

In any event, Trains' newswire yesterday had this additional info:
************
On board passenger interviews last year revealed that there was a lot of packaging waste and unwanted food not eaten, especially at breakfast. Instead of being presented altogether in a balsa wood box, some Deluxe Continental Breakfast offerings will be displayed on two tables and others items stocked behind a counter manned by the car’s lead service attendant.

“There will be carryout trays and plates for customers to place their items on/in...and customers will be able to select as many items as they like,” according to an internal memo obtained by Trains. Passengers can choose to take the breakfasts back to their room or eat at another table in the car."
********
It also mentions that your SCA can bring the meal back to your room, as has always been the case.

Posts: 2317 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Last year, when I booked a sleeper on the Coast Starlight, I asked for meals delivered to my sleeper; dinner on #11 and breakfast on #14. Both should have been hot meals but were lukewarm, at best. I would hope that wouldn't be the case for meals served in the dining car.

Possibly they could put a little microwave oven in each sleeper. You could warm the lukewarm meals, or even better, cook up a "Lean Cuisine" frozen dinner that you could bring on board.

Richard

Posts: 1657 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Home Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2




Copyright © 2007-2016 TrainWeb, Inc. Top of Page|TrainWeb|About Us|Advertise With Us|Contact Us