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Date: 03/18/23 07:58
Silver Star Dining
Author: trainnut

Has anyone experienced the traditional dining service being offered on the Silver Star?  How many people staff the car?



Date: 03/18/23 12:55
Re: Silver Star Dining
Author: MEKoch

We probably do not want to "experience" "dining" on the Silver Star.  I read one in the kitchen and one waiter.  Typical Amtrak stupidity and not being conscious of service or the place of a dining car in long distance travel.  For coach and sleeping car passengers, the experience of a nice gracious meal on the train is something people do not forget.  It is a huge seller - a positive of train travel.  All of us on Trainorders remember fine meals in the pre-Amtrak era and also in the Amtrak era.  

Can we imagine that if the Silver Star had three coaches (180 people) and three sleepers (75 people), that 40 in the coach might eat in the dining car as well as all 75 of the sleeping car passengers.  115 persons eating with only one waiter?  And one chef?  Two persons in each catagory are necessary.  But they will have fine meals and train travel for them will be something they want to repeat, and tell their friends that their trip on Amtrak was comfortable, safe and enjoyable.  

For all Amtrak LD trains, Amtrak must see the dining car as a selling point of LD train travel.  Amtrak needs to emphasize its good points and the dining car is such a place.  

Finally most people on LD trains are new riders; they do not know what to expect; so give them something to talk about after their trip.  

 



Date: 03/18/23 15:02
Re: Silver Star Dining
Author: jp1822

Traditional Dining in the Superliner Diner on those western LD trains - that have such food service - typically has had one chef and two wait staff. Last few trips on the Empire Builder - there's been two wait staff and sort of a "lead" dining person who handles the cash and kinda "calls the shots" as the overall supervisor (this is similar to the pre-Anderson staffing levels); but I've also seen this person pressed into wait staff service when short staffed.

For the Silver Star's new diner operation, with its patronage and interesting dynamics of meal service, it's doable with one chef and wait staff. But that wouldn't play out for a busier food service cars such as Lake Shore and Silver Meteor. The Silver Star southbound and northbound is busiest for its breakfast and lunch meal service. Been there done that with this train. At present, and  even when it operated with the single level Heritage Diner, the Silver Star's dining operation has some unique characteristics due to its schedule and patronage. Didn't believe it till I experienced it multiple times.  

Still interested to hear from someone who has experienced the new SIlver Star Dining!!!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/23 15:04 by jp1822.



Date: 03/18/23 17:15
Re: Silver Star Dining
Author: ctillnc

> Can we imagine that if the Silver Star had three coaches (180 people)... 
> that 40 in the coach might eat in the dining car

With the pricing that has been announced, I think your 22% estimate is too high. Ten years ago, I don't believe 22% of coach passengers on 91/92 were eating in the diner. Besides, isn't Amtrak limiting the number of places for coach passengers so as not to overload capacity?



Date: 03/19/23 04:37
Re: Silver Star Dining
Author: lordsigma

They aren't doing coach passengers for dining on the Silver Star pilot. Sleeper only.



Date: 03/19/23 07:55
Re: Silver Star Dining
Author: Chessie1963

I do not understand why the hell they need to "pilot test" this stuff.  Just do it.  Dining on trains has been taking place for well over 100 years, and I think every model has been tested, Amtrak.  Pick one, go with it.

I once rode the Ocean from Halifax to Montreal.  There was one kitchen staff and I think two wait staff.  The meals were pre-plated and quite good.  It was quite a step up from Amtrak's wasteful (plastic garbage galore) flex dining.  The food was high quality, and you would never know it was not prepared on board.  There was nice wine, real dessert (not some Sara-Lee thing in a plastic cup (more plastic)) and real plates and sliverware.  That seems to me to be the model. 

But what do I know?  I am just a customer.



Date: 03/19/23 15:36
Re: Silver Star Dining
Author: RuleG

MEKoch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
  All of us on
> Trainorders remember fine meals in the pre-Amtrak
> era and also in the Amtrak era.  
>
 You don't think that there are any Trainorders members who were not yet born when Amtrak was created (i.e. under 50)?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/19/23 15:37 by RuleG.



Date: 03/19/23 15:55
Re: Silver Star Dining
Author: jp1822

Chessie1963 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I do not understand why the hell they need to
> "pilot test" this stuff.  Just do it.  Dining on
> trains has been taking place for well over 100
> years, and I think every model has been tested,
> Amtrak.  Pick one, go with it.
>
> I once rode the Ocean from Halifax to Montreal.
>  There was one kitchen staff and I think two wait
> staff.  The meals were pre-plated and quite good.
>  It was quite a step up from Amtrak's wasteful
> (plastic garbage galore) flex dining.  The food
> was high quality, and you would never know it was
> not prepared on board.  There was nice wine, real
> dessert (not some Sara-Lee thing in a plastic cup
> (more plastic)) and real plates and sliverware.
>  That seems to me to be the model. 
>
> But what do I know?  I am just a customer.

During Boardman's term as Pres of Amtrak, an Amtrak "delegation" of sorts went up to Canada and specifically rode the Ocean to see if they could learn any "best practices." I agree that VIA's Diner on the Ocean has some good food - all cooked off the train, and then re-heated, plated, and nicely presented onboard - silverware and liens! It's pretty unique actually (not complicated at all), but works, and even works with minimal staff. Interesting tidbit - When first using the Renaissance Diner the famed seafood chowder that VIA chefs used to make (or have in stock) in the ex-CP Stainless Steel Budd Diner got heavily criticized. Wasn't as good after going to the Renaissance Diner. But then VIA figured out some out of fix and it became just as good! 

Amtrak didn't adopt anything they saw/experienced on VIA's Ocean Diner though.....



Date: 03/19/23 20:28
Re: Silver Star Dining
Author: ProAmtrak

lordsigma Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> They aren't doing coach passengers for dining on
> the Silver Star pilot. Sleeper only.

And you where claiming things're gonna get better for Amtrak? That shows the Amamanagment's still too stupid and dumb to know how to make Amtrak better!



Date: 03/20/23 08:16
Re: Silver Star Dining
Author: ctillnc

I remember trips on the southbound Star from DC to Raleigh 10+ years ago when my son and I were literally the only people in the diner at dinner time.



Date: 03/20/23 09:57
Re: Silver Star Dining
Author: jp1822

ctillnc Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I remember trips on the southbound Star from DC to
> Raleigh 10+ years ago when my son and I were
> literally the only people in the diner at dinner
> time.

Yes! Full service dining on the Silver Star is a bit of an anomaly when compared against the other single level LD trains. Until you experience it - and not just one or two times, multiple times - it's a bit hard to believe. When Boardman decided to withdraw the Heritage Diner from the Silver Star (more out of availability), it made sense to pull it from the Star than the Crescent or Meteor. Breakfast and lunch were the only major meals north and southbound. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/20/23 09:57 by jp1822.



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