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Passenger Trains > Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service


Date: 02/09/19 14:00
Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: NYC4096

Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Being aware of and caring for passengers that may not have access to food during delays.

When an inbound (Amtrak 4, 6 and 8/28) train to Chicago is late, occasionally #48 Lake Shore Limited is held/delayed to accomodate those passengers connecting to the east coast.

It appears that when inbound Amtrak 4, 6 and 8/28 is 5+ hours late, passengers do not have access to or time to have a decent meal before arriving at Chicago or while waiting/transferring in Chicago to Amtrak 48 departing to the east coast.  For some passengers, their last meal was at lunchtime on the aforementioned inbound trains.  In the event of a seriously late inbound Amtrak 4, 6 and 8/28 train when do connecting passengers have a chance to have an evening meal?  

Concerns:
Passengers could be denied food service for 12-18 hours under the poorest conditions.
Perhaps there isn't enough food available on greatly delayed inbound 4, 6, 8/28 trains.
Being hungry is not fun, but having a diabetic issue and no food can be life threatening.
Perhaps communications to passengers about the issue may not give meal options.
Passengers aren't directed to sources of food while in Chicago Union Station.
Passengers don't understand their meal options enroute (inbound) or at CUS.

Do you notice such issues and could you define protocol for the handing of the passengers?
Do you have any solutions to share?  What about your general thoughts on this subject?



Date: 02/09/19 14:07
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: andersonb109

They should serve dinner on board to passengers when the train arrives past the normal dinner time in Chicago. 



Date: 02/09/19 14:20
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: jp1822

This has been an issue for me MORE than once and I've often mentioned it on this board. Even on Saturdays/Sundays, when 8/28 comes in at 8 pm - there's often no eateries open in Chicago Union Station, and one has to wait to board the Lake Shore Limited and get something from the "cafe car." I can remember one time, we had wine, cheese, and crackers for dinner in the Prototype Viewliner Diner on 48. That was at post-9:30 pm. All we could get at the time, and some lounge food snacks. That was fine though. But there were plenty of people complaining that had to make connections!!!



Date: 02/09/19 14:36
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: keelhauled

andersonb109 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> They should serve dinner on board to passengers
> when the train arrives past the normal dinner time
> in Chicago. 

They do. There is a free meal served to all passengers if the train is running extremely late past its scheduled endpoint arrival. When it happened to me last month on the CZ it was beef stew over rice with a roll.



Date: 02/09/19 14:39
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: ATSF3751

NYC4096 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
> Being aware of and caring for passengers that may
> not have access to food during delays.
>
> When an inbound (Amtrak 4, 6 and 8/28) train to
> Chicago is late, occasionally #48 Lake Shore
> Limited is held/delayed to accomodate those
> passengers connecting to the east coast.
>
> It appears that when inbound Amtrak 4, 6 and 8/28
> is 5+ hours late, passengers do not have access to
> or time to have a decent meal before arriving at
> Chicago or while waiting/transferring in Chicago
> to Amtrak 48 departing to the east coast.  For
> some passengers, their last meal was at lunchtime
> on the aforementioned inbound trains.  In the
> event of a seriously late inbound Amtrak 4, 6 and
> 8/28 train when do connecting passengers have a
> chance to have an evening meal?  
>
> Concerns:
> Passengers could be denied food service for 12-18
> hours under the poorest conditions.
> Perhaps there isn't enough food available on
> greatly delayed inbound 4, 6, 8/28 trains.
> Being hungry is not fun, but having a diabetic
> issue and no food can be life threatening.

My father was a (brittle) type 1 diabetic. He always made sure he had enough food & juice,  insulin, and supplies when we travelled. Just getting ready was a major chore. Anyone who is diabetic travelling during bad weather conditions should plan to keep enough at hand for 12-24 hours.  He always said "don't create an emergency.....create a plan". Never assume anything will go right, breakdowns occur even when least expected. He lived to be 88. .

 
> Perhaps communications to passengers about the
> issue may not give meal options.
> Passengers aren't directed to sources of food
> while in Chicago Union Station.
> Passengers don't understand their meal options
> enroute (inbound) or at CUS.
>
> Do you notice such issues and could you define
> protocol for the handing of the passengers?
> Do you have any solutions to share?  What about
> your general thoughts on this subject?



Date: 02/09/19 15:13
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: joemvcnj

Airlines have always been told to feed diabetics (of whichever type) first. They don't need to have such medical problems that can be avoided mid-air. But I think Amtrak is too sloppy and thoughtless to consider that, even while running through God's Country.  



Date: 02/09/19 15:27
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: PRSL-recall

> I can remember one time, we had wine, cheese, and crackers for dinner in the Prototype Viewliner Diner on 48. That was at post-9:30 pm.

Yes I remember this too. This goes back to when the full-service dining car was on #48. The wine / cheese / crackers welcome offering was discontinued before the downgrade from the full-service (heritage) diner to the "Diner-Lite" diner, the latter of which happened in 2016. I'm thinking that the former (the 9:30 PM snacks) was taken out around 2014 to 2015. It seemed to be another round of cost-cutting at the time as they also removed it from Auto Train for the early boarders at about the same time period.  And further...I also remember the same thing taking place on the California Zephyr on the middle day of travel, after lunch clean-up and before dinner prep.




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/19 15:29 by PRSL-recall.



Date: 02/09/19 16:11
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: jp1822

Although I am sure it happened, as the Empire Builder went through some rough periods with its time keeping, but there were many times we arrived between 8 pm and 9 pm at night into Chicago and there was NO dinner service offered. Not sure what the cutoff is for that train. Even if running late out of Twin Citiies, I've seen them only do ONE seating for lunch and that was it, regardless of what the time was. Glad the Zephyr is a little more liberal in its eastward trek and lateness to Chicago. 



Date: 02/09/19 16:15
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: joemvcnj

jp1822 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Although I am sure it happened, as the Empire
> Builder went through some rough periods with its
> time keeping, but there were many times we arrived
> between 8 pm and 9 pm at night into Chicago and
> there was NO dinner service offered. Not sure what
> the cutoff is for that train. Even if running late
> out of Twin Citiies, I've seen them only do ONE
> seating for lunch and that was it, regardless of
> what the time was. Glad the Zephyr is a little
> more liberal in its eastward trek and lateness to
> Chicago. 

They are probably not stocked for a 3rd dinner, though they could make some stew. 
Do they pass out any junk food or panic box snacks ?



Date: 02/09/19 16:21
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: stash

Big city like Chicago. There is always food available. If not CUS, definitely near the Loop.

Posted from Android



Date: 02/09/19 16:34
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: PRSL-recall

The problem comes in when the train you are arriving on is late (from the west) but not late enough for them to scrounge up emergency food for a limited supper. This happened to me once, but there was just enough time to run upstairs at CUS grab a pizza (for wife and I) at one of the few places still open and get back downstairs. At the time the old Metropolitan Lounge was still open (new present one not open as yet) and they did permit food to be brought in there. I believe that is not the case with the new lounge. 



Date: 02/09/19 16:39
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: joemvcnj

stash Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Big city like Chicago. There is always food
> available. If not CUS, definitely near the Loop.

When they have to scoot you, and the checked baggage wagons, from one track directly to another in 20 minutes, forget about eating. Worrying about making the connection will kill your appetite anyway. But it is dangerous and cruel to endanger diabetics. 



Date: 02/09/19 16:53
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: Genesis803

This happened to me connecting from the Sunset Limited to the Coast Starlight in 2016. We were about 8 hours late into LA. The Sunset hand enough left over pancake batter to serve sleeping car passengers at breakfast. When we arrived into LA, we were rushed onto buses to Barkersfield to a San Joaquin to catch the Starlight in Martinez. It was nearly dinner time before we could purchase something from the cafe car on the San Joaquin. The diner was already closed by the time the late Coast Starlight picked us up in Martinez. It was a long day with two grouchy children. Thankfully we had snacks and non of us have medical issues that would require food. 

When I returned, I wrote to Amtrak seeking a partial refund since we had paid for two bedrooms on the Starlight and only got them a portion of the journey. No luck. Thankfully, I'm a railfan so I'll ride again. However, most people would not. 



Date: 02/09/19 16:57
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: mundo

To my knowledge, as least the LD trains in the west stock canned stew to serve passengers.

My observations are the sleepers are offered any remaing menu items and coach passenger receive the stew.
Do not know what the policy is to when and whom gets served.  But its been long in place.

Going back to the days of the Desert Wind into Los Angeles, when it was late,  KFC was called upon to load up the train at Barstow.

A side story to this, years ago, that folks that used the train Barstow to Los Angeles, could never find out how late the train was.  But they would call KFC, which knew what the ETA was.

A good 30 or so years ago a Superntent asked me my thoughts on having the diner open for train 4 from Los Angeles, when it departed around 745 pm or so.  At the time the Starlight was making connections, so I reminded him that it would be a long night with out an evening meal, since lunch was the last meal served on the Starlight.  Policy became Diner was open, but may have been restricted meals.

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/19 17:10 by mundo.



Date: 02/09/19 18:09
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: DavidP

On my recent CZ trip (see yesterday’s post) Amtrak served beef stew due to the expected late arrival in Emeryville.  Coach passengers were served in their seats, while sleeper passengers were served in the dining car.  I had eaten a later lunch, so didn’t try the stew, which was served around 5pm.

Dave



Date: 02/09/19 19:15
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: Wurli1938

stash Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Big city like Chicago. There is always food
> available. If not CUS, definitely near the Loop.
>
> Posted from Android

Not if you have to rush to get the held #48



Date: 02/09/19 19:26
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: Wurli1938

Time for Anderson and top management to ride and see what their customers have to put up with.

Wonder if a request through the Freedom of Information Act requesting the travel of the top officers on all Amtrak trains would provide any information on how little they know about their product/service.

Would imagine that most other CEO'S use their companies services/products/facilities

Posted from Android



Date: 02/09/19 20:05
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: PHall

Wurli1938 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Time for Anderson and top management to ride and
> see what their customers have to put up with.
>
> Wonder if a request through the Freedom of
> Information Act requesting the travel of the top
> officers on all Amtrak trains would provide any
> information on how little they know about their
> product/service.
>
> Would imagine that most other CEO'S use their
> companies services/products/facilities
>
> Posted from Android

Would do no good for Mr Anderson to ride because he won't see what the regular customers see.



Date: 02/10/19 07:39
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: joemvcnj

PHall Wrote:
> Would do no good for Mr Anderson to ride because he won't see what the regular customers see.

Graham Clayor would ride incognito in a sleeper and would go ballistic if he got special treatment or was allowed to get to the head of the line.  

Boardman would not; I don't know about the others inbetween. Emporer Anderson is a hermit. 



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/10/19 10:27 by joemvcnj.



Date: 02/10/19 12:45
Re: Passenger Care and Safety - Meal Service
Author: viatrainrider

I as on 7 when David Gunn was on the rear in his business car/.  However, he came through the train dressed in jeans and sweat shirt talking with passengers and crew.  Sort of thrilled to meet him when he stopped at our roomette for a minute.



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