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

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Author Topic: ‘Contemporary and Fresh dining’ on the CL and LSL.
yukon11
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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

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palmland
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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.
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Gilbert B Norman
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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.

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yukon11
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I would hope, Mr. Norman, that a hot meal would also include breakfast and lunch. Hopefully the return of the railroad french toast.

Richard

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yukon11
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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

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palmland
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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

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yukon11
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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

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palmland
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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.

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Gilbert B Norman
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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

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palmland
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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.
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Gilbert B Norman
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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

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Gilbert B Norman
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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.

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palmland
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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.

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Gilbert B Norman
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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.

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palmland
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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.

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Gilbert B Norman
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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.

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palmland
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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.

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