Home Open Account Help 277 users online

Canadian Railroads > Change in Food Service on the Canadian


Date: 01/10/20 08:27
Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: WP17

GeenPoon posted this thread on the Passenger a day or so ago
https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,4934879

The post references a very positive review of the food on the Canadian. But buried in that article is a mention of Continental Breakfast/Brunch/Dinner service rather than the usual Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner service. I initially thought this was an an error by the reporter but a friend of mine who rode westbound in late December confirms that exactly what VIA was doing on the westbound trains.

I rode eastbound in early November we had the traditional B/L/D service.

I'm wondering if any of the TO members on this board who follow VIA closely can elaborate on what/why VIA is doing, when this started, and whether the modified service is just westbound or in both directions.

WP17

 



Date: 01/10/20 09:00
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: jp1822

Have heard about no changes to the Canadian's dining/food service, particularly in the wake of the Budd diners being refurbished.



Date: 01/10/20 09:50
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: stuporchief

Do you know when the refurbished diners will enter service?

jp1822 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Have heard about no changes to the Canadian's
> dining/food service, particularly in the wake of
> the Budd diners being refurbished.



Date: 01/10/20 11:21
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: thatguyonthetrain

WP17 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm wondering if any of the TO members on this
> board who follow VIA closely can elaborate on
> what/why VIA is doing, when this started, and
> whether the modified service is just westbound or
> in both directions.

VIA usually serves brunch when the schedule wouldn't allow them to serve everyone before arriving at a major station.

On the current schedule, I think the only eastbound brunch is coming into Toronto at 2:30pm.  (My last trip was in November during the CN strike, and we arrived so early that they didn't serve a meal.)

Westbound, though, I think it's brunches every day.  (I remember hating "brunch every day" but can't recall if it really was every day.)  Day 1 is a 9:45am departure from Toronto, so they could easily have served a full lunch and maybe they did.  On day 2, all meal service has to be done before 7:30pm arrival in Winnipeg and early dinners mean brunch.  On day 3, I don't see any reason in the schedule to serve brunch but I'm pretty sure they did anyway.  On day 4, there's the 6:30-9:30 am stop in Jasper, so it was brunch upon departure.  And on day 5, it was a quick continental breakfast before disembarkation at 8am.

On the plus side, lots of people think VIA feeds us too much -- the train can feel like being herded from one meal to the next.  And for once-in-a-lifetimers, the same routine every day is nice -- the train's confusing enough your first time without one random brunch thrown in.  And obviously, it's cheaper for VIA and simpler to run, especially in the high season.  If it truly is every day, they don't need to stock any lunch desserts at all (hard to say if this is a plus or a minus for passengers).

On the downside, of course, is that continental breakfast doesn't work for everyone, e.g., people who need to worry about blood sugars.  And the brunch menu wasn't as varied as it has been in the past -- it used to be 3 breakfast items and 3 lunch items, but I seem to recall it only being 4 items.  Or was it 4 breakfast items and 2 lunch items (one being vegetarian)?  The omelette and 'transcontinental' (meat and eggs) were there every day, which is also why I can't remember the specifics - I just always have the omelette.

Lots of people have complained to VIA already, though, and more than one staff member told me that they would be changing it.  They usually roll out this kind of change at the start of the high season, so I'd say check back in May.



Date: 01/10/20 11:53
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: DrawingroomA

thatguyonthetrain Wrote:
...
> Lots of people have complained to VIA already,
> though, and more than one staff member told me
> that they would be changing it.  They usually
> roll out this kind of change at the start of the
> high season, so I'd say check back in May.

I have heard the same complaints from several sources. On my November e/b trip I was told the same by the crew.

Yes, there is plenty of food when three full meals are served every day. Despite what some have said, though, it is not mandatory to eat everything that is available. It is permitted to have continental breakfast as an alternative any day or to skip the dinner roll or the dessert and, indeed, to even skip a meal. But a classy operation makes everything available so the passenger can decide how much or how little to eat.  This business of the occasional continental breakfast followed by brunch started out of necessity due to time constraints. The lack of choice on every day of the w/b trip just makes VIA look cheap.

It is the same situation on my Atlantic crossings on the Queen Mary 2.  I do not have to indulge every day in a full-course breakfast, full-course lunch, afternoon tea with scones,sandwiches and cakes, hors d'oeuvres at cocktail time, full-course dinner, food/snacks  from the buffet and free 24-hour-a-day room service. But, like all passengers, I decide which courses/snacks/meals to eat.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/20 11:55 by DrawingroomA.



Date: 01/10/20 12:42
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: stuporchief

Do you have any inside information about when the refurbished diners will enter service?

DrawingroomA Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> thatguyonthetrain Wrote:
> ...
> > Lots of people have complained to VIA already,
> > though, and more than one staff member told me
> > that they would be changing it.  They usually
> > roll out this kind of change at the start of
> the
> > high season, so I'd say check back in May.
>
> I have heard the same complaints from several
> sources. On my November e/b trip I was told the
> same by the crew.
>
> Yes, there is plenty of food when three full meals
> are served every day. Despite what some have said,
> though, it is not mandatory to eat everything that
> is available. It is permitted to have continental
> breakfast as an alternative any day or to skip the
> dinner roll or the dessert and, indeed, to even
> skip a meal. But a classy operation makes
> everything available so the passenger can decide
> how much or how little to eat.  This business of
> the occasional continental breakfast followed by
> brunch started out of necessity due to time
> constraints. The lack of choice on every day of
> the w/b trip just makes VIA look cheap.
>
> It is the same situation on my Atlantic crossings
> on the Queen Mary 2.  I do not have to indulge
> every day in a full-course breakfast, full-course
> lunch, afternoon tea with scones,sandwiches and
> cakes, hors d'oeuvres at cocktail time,
> full-course dinner, food/snacks  from the buffet
> and free 24-hour-a-day room service. But, like all
> passengers, I decide which courses/snacks/meals to
> eat.



Date: 01/10/20 13:03
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: andersonb109

The occasional brunch has been happening for awhile now. I like it because you can sleep in and still get breakfast items. And there are always off train options depending on the schedule. The Forks in Winnipeg or some bar/restaurants in Jasper come to mind. 



Date: 01/10/20 14:02
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: eminence_grise

I've heard more complaints about food service on the eastern corridor Business Class . I think it was always prepared off train, but recently has changed supplier and the quality seems to have suffered.



Date: 01/10/20 15:26
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: jp1822

But I didn't really see it as an issue quite honestly. To me it was more of a scheduling matter - the train's schedule that is. It's not like anyone was going hungry. There were always snacks around if needed.

I felt very well fed and meals still first class. 

The four refurbished diners are supposed to debut in second quarter 2019.  

EDIT - still freshly prepared meals onboard. Not pre-cooked box meals or "flex meals" or meals that are cooked largely offboard the train and then re-heated. Food service with wait staff that you place a food order with and your food gets delivered; china, silverware, on the table that has a tablecloths and usually flowers etc. No buffet or "line up" and "come and get it" approach like Amtrak has done to its LD trains east of the Mississippi. . 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/20 15:48 by jp1822.



Date: 01/10/20 17:06
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: gaspeamtrak

I will be riding #1 from Toronto to Vancouver in February with my brother.
In the last 5 years he has ridden it at least 2 or 3 times and he should be able to tell if it has changed...



Date: 01/10/20 18:31
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: viatrainrider

DrawingroomA Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> thatguyonthetrain Wrote:
> ...
> > Lots of people have complained to VIA already,
> > though, and more than one staff member told me
> > that they would be changing it.  They usually
> > roll out this kind of change at the start of
> the
> > high season, so I'd say check back in May.
>
> I have heard the same complaints from several
> sources. On my November e/b trip I was told the
> same by the crew.
>
> Yes, there is plenty of food when three full meals
> are served every day. Despite what some have said,
> though, it is not mandatory to eat everything that
> is available. It is permitted to have continental
> breakfast as an alternative any day or to skip the
> dinner roll or the dessert and, indeed, to even
> skip a meal. But a classy operation makes
> everything available so the passenger can decide
> how much or how little to eat.  This business of
> the occasional continental breakfast followed by
> brunch started out of necessity due to time
> constraints. The lack of choice on every day of
> the w/b trip just makes VIA look cheap.
>
> It is the same situation on my Atlantic crossings
> on the Queen Mary 2.  I do not have to indulge
> every day in a full-course breakfast, full-course
> lunch, afternoon tea with scones,sandwiches and
> cakes, hors d'oeuvres at cocktail time,
> full-course dinner, food/snacks  from the buffet
> and free 24-hour-a-day room service. But, like all
> passengers, I decide which courses/snacks/meals to
> eat.

On my trips on occasion I will skip full breakfast and go to the Park car for a juice, coffee/milk,  and cooked on board muffin.  Yes, always plenty of food, snacks available.  However, I usually enjoy eating far more than usual on these trips.  And I simply cannot skip the chocolate torte, my favorite desert!!



Date: 01/10/20 18:33
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: viatrainrider

gaspeamtrak Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I will be riding #1 from Toronto to Vancouver in
> February with my brother.
> In the last 5 years he has ridden it at least 2 or
> 3 times and he should be able to tell if it has
> changed...

How about a trip/food report?  I go  west in March.



Date: 01/10/20 19:28
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: cbk

The crew I rode with eastbound in December said that the brunches were being offered on the westbound trains in lieu of breakfast  and lunch but that it wasn't working out too well and would probably return to three meals.

I got the feeling that it was more of passenger convenience idea rather than cost cutting.



Date: 01/11/20 08:35
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: jp1822

cbk Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The crew I rode with eastbound in December said
> that the brunches were being offered on the
> westbound trains in lieu of breakfast  and lunch
> but that it wasn't working out too well and would
> probably return to three meals.
>
> I got the feeling that it was more of passenger
> convenience idea rather than cost cutting.

That's the feeling I got too - it was trying to be offered out of convenience and the schedule of the train, not sacrificiing quality etc. 



Date: 01/11/20 12:35
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: DrawingroomA

stuporchief Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Do you have any inside information about when the
> refurbished diners will enter service?
>

Sorry, I can't get any definite information - even from a "usually reliable source" at head office.

A greater concern I have is the major refurbishment of the 10 HEP-2 VIA-1 cars, numbers 4000 to 4009. The "2+2" seating with the hard narrow arm-rest between the two seats is well past it's sell-by date. The interiors of some of them are quite shabby. I can usually avoid them by booking LRC trains, but there have been many last-minute substitutions. Fortunately, when I have booked a single seat on an LRC Business car, I have usually been assigned a double to myself on the substituted car. But when travelling with three others and having booked a four-seater, the numbers don't match and we have not been able to sit together.

According to an e-mailed response I received from VIA's previous CEO, the first HEP-2 Business car one was to enter service in Sept. 2008 and there would be one a month after that. The first one - and to date the only one - entered service a bit late. According to the last quarterly report from VIA, there were three more being worked on. There have been some economy class coaches completed. They are very attractive and offer noticeably more leg-room even though the pitch (if I can be forgiven an airline term) is the same.



Date: 01/11/20 13:51
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: stuporchief

Thank you, as alwasy, for the well-informed post.

I certainlhy understand your impatience with the HEP-2 VIA 1 cars.

If it's of any comfort, I live in the Chicago area and my local corridor rides are often aboard Horizon fleet equipment. I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be happy to ride aboard Amfleet I equipment, but that day is here.

DrawingroomA Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> stuporchief Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Do you have any inside information about when
> the
> > refurbished diners will enter service?
> >
>
> Sorry, I can't get any definite information - even
> from a "usually reliable source" at head office.
>
> A greater concern I have is the major
> refurbishment of the 10 HEP-2 VIA-1 cars, numbers
> 4000 to 4009. The "2+2" seating with the hard
> narrow arm-rest between the two seats is well past
> it's sell-by date. The interiors of some of them
> are quite shabby. I can usually avoid them by
> booking LRC trains, but there have been many
> last-minute substitutions. Fortunately, when I
> have booked a single seat on an LRC Business car,
> I have usually been assigned a double to myself on
> the substituted car. But when travelling with
> three others and having booked a four-seater, the
> numbers don't match and we have not been able to
> sit together.
>
> According to an e-mailed response I received from
> VIA's previous CEO, the first HEP-2 Business car
> one was to enter service in Sept. 2008 and there
> would be one a month after that. The first one -
> and to date the only one - entered service a bit
> late. According to the last quarterly report from
> VIA, there were three more being worked on. There
> have been some economy class coaches completed.
> They are very attractive and offer noticeably more
> leg-room even though the pitch (if I can be
> forgiven an airline term) is the same.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/20 05:28 by stuporchief.



Date: 01/11/20 17:39
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: gaspeamtrak

Yes I will give a report on our meals on #1...:)


viatrainrider Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> gaspeamtrak Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I will be riding #1 from Toronto to Vancouver
> in
> > February with my brother.
> > In the last 5 years he has ridden it at least 2
> or
> > 3 times and he should be able to tell if it has
> > changed...
>
> How about a trip/food report?  I go  west in
> March.



Date: 01/11/20 19:58
Re: Change in Food Service on the Canadian
Author: DrawingroomA

DrawingroomA Wrote:
...
> According to an e-mailed response I received from
> VIA's previous CEO, the first HEP-2 Business car
> one was to enter service in Sept. 2008 and there
> would be one a month after that.
...
Sorry about the typo. I meant Sept. 2018.



[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.1268 seconds