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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » On-Board Service: Dining And Other Issues (Page 2)

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Author Topic: On-Board Service: Dining And Other Issues
PullmanCo
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For those who are interested, I’ve created a public group on Facebook called railroad dining car cookery. It focuses on the front and the back end of the house for railroad dining.

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The City of Saint Louis (UP, 1967) is still my standard for passenger operations

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PullmanCo
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Wednesday, I was on 4 from Kansas City to Galesburg. I have two comments:

- On time? NOT. started 2 1/2 hours down, ended 3.

- Food ... it was between an SP Hamburger Grill and an SP AUTOMATIC car.

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palmland
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It really is the luck of the draw, I guess. We were on 3&4 last month for day trips in NM and AZ. Both were on time at all stations with 90mph stretches. Food was OK (flat iron was cooked as ordered, hamburger was not bad- with lots of condiments). Best part was seeing that country from the SSL. Good service in the diner and sleeper-helped with bags, brought ice and was cheerful.
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Gilbert B Norman
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quote:
Originally posted by PullmanCo:
- Food ... it was between an SP Hamburger Grill and an SP AUTOMATIC car.

Colonel, SIR

The "Hamburger in a Basket" I remember from 1962 on the Shasta Daylight and the Coast Daylight as well, was "very good" - hardly what was "Micked" in the Automat.

Posts: 9391 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PullmanCo
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GBN

Find the midpoint of a line segment with those as the endpoints.

The middle is “meh”, and that’s what my lunch was.

There are greasy spoon diners in Kansas City which serve a better burger.

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yukon11
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Washington Post article:

https://is.gd/77NuE7

Some quotes:

"Some people really like [the dining car] and view it as sort of a nostalgic train experience,” Wilander said. “Some people, especially our new millennial customers, don’t like it so much. They want more privacy, they don’t want to feel uncomfortable sitting next to people” they don’t know."

Amen to that one.

"Passengers in roomettes and bedrooms, considered premium riders, will have the choice to have meals delivered to their rooms. If desired, they will be able to use a new version of a dining car, open exclusively to them, with booths, but no white linens. Eventually, Amtrak said, it may get rid of the booths altogether and create a more contemporary lounge setting."

A lounge setting would be better.

"So, as it expands the new dining concept, there will be five prepackaged hot meal choices and no boxes. Eventually, Wilander said, riders will be able to pick their meal online, ahead of their trip."

A good idea. If you can choose a meal, on line, before the trip why can't they prepare high quality meals, well ahead of time, and place the meals under refrigeration. Then microwave before serving. " Have different price ranges as per any good restaurant. Maybe not lobster thermidor or a Kobe filet, but something at least Dennys plus quality.

Richard

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Gilbert B Norman
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A gentleman, Ira Silverman, whom I have met "along the way", has donated an extensive collection of Dining Car menus to Northwestern University, and which has "digitized" such.

Should make for an interesting reference source:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/dining-car-food

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yukon11
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Your link, Mr. Norman, makes mention of the famous Northern Pacific RR's Great Baked Potato. It could weigh from 2-5 pounds.

 -

Richard

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yukon11
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Jim Loomis has some interesting points in the following:

https://is.gd/YYKv8H

I remember that John Mica was sort of Amtrak's Ebenezer Scrooge, even though I thought some of his criticism of Amtrak was valid. However, I agree that having a resolution that Amtrak's food service break even is, in my opinion, not very rationale. Why can't you just let Amtrak look at various areas for possible cost cutting, including food service, and let Amtrak decide where the chopping block should be applied.

Considering the cost of a roomette or bedroom, It, at least to me, having sleeper passengers pay for their dining car meals doesn't seem like something that would create massive objections. . Why not give it a try? Even if the loss from meals is the same, it could mean happier passengers in a traditional dining car, if the food was good any if they had greater menu food options with different prices for the menu item selected.

Richard

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Gilbert B Norman
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I hold that removal of the "for profit" language from any Congressional action will be beneficial. Replacing that language with some, to the effect of, stating that "Amtrak will endeavor to conduct all operations in an economic and efficient manner with the objective of minimizing operating losses from such", will satisfy most stakeholders.

With the current regime at One Mass, I doubt if any will be directed towards restoration of full service dining or replacement of cars, i.e. Superliners, solely assignable to LD trains.

But the proposed language will allow reasonable deficits to be acceptable. Given that it looks like Amtrak will get it's $1.3B again in FY20 and that such will be expended on infrastructure improvements, those expenditures represent capitalized costs which will be systematically allocated to expense by means of Depreciation. Increased Depreciation Expense could result in short term losses until such time public acceptance of Amtrak's transportation product (we get you from A to B reliably and comfortably) rises to match these additional expenses.

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