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Passenger Trains > Basically a very good trip


Date: 03/25/24 09:29
Basically a very good trip
Author: bob52741

Two weeks ago today I traveled from Tampa to Washington DC. on 91, the Silver Star. I occupied Roomette 4 in the 9110 car, the older of the two sleeping cars. Train arrived on time into Tampa and remained that way until south ofl Jacksonville where we were delayed approximately 60 minutes by a truck on the tracks of a grade crossing. I can not say. enough for the single server in the Dining Car and my sleeping car attendant who has been with AMTRAK for 32 years. They were the best! The food in the dining car was very good, well prepared and very well served. I had dinner, breakfast and lunch prior to Washington arrival. Apparently with two sleepers, there is a limit imposed on the crew to have no more than eight persons being served in the Dining Car and four persons being served in their room during any given hour. AMTRAK is apparently attempting to recruit additional employees so that they can add a second server at which time a few more can be served in the car itself and in the rooms and a limited number of coach passengers willing to pay can be accommodated in the dining car. There has not been an "appetizer" offering in these dining cars since the return of "traditional dining", unlike the western long-distance trains. On the negative side, AMTRAK should be fined for every train dispatched while they advertise "See the USA" - my roomette window was filthy, scratched beyond belief and not conducive to sightseeing or seeing anything for that matter. We were 90 minutes late leaving Rocky Mount, NC but only 20 minutes late into Union Station. Two days later I took the Northeast Regional Departure that leaves Roanoke early in the morning to continue my journey to New York Penn. I was in Business Class and assigned a forward looking window seat. Car was clean, comfortable and full all the way. Arrived on time at NYP but again the windows are an embarrassment. The employees, I think, for the most part are trying but their management gives them little to sell and be proud of. 



Date: 03/25/24 10:09
Re: Basically a very good trip
Author: jp1822

Maybe they should shift some extra LSAs that are operating on the Lake Shore Limited - with flex meals nonetheless - to the Silver Service? Eight people served in the Diner at a time? Really? That's not even on par to the Flex meals. Before COVID, Amtrak had one person in the kitchen and one server and had traditional dining in place for Crescent and Silver Meteor. This is not to talk bad about onboard service staff, as they are just following the rules that are passed down to them by people who don't work the front lines. I've seen many LSAs ignore said rules and do their own thing, because it was the "right thing" to do and garnered better customer service and tips. It was not something that was unsafe or caused any risk. Quite the opposite.

Anyone know the status of Amtrak's recruitment of employees to operate overnight eastern LD trains. Still can't believe the unions allowed the outright firing and elimination of positions in the dining cars of these trains in 2017 - PRIOR to COVID!

Having meals in the room should be allowed, but not the norm. When Amtrak introduced the Simplified and then Flex Meal option, I seemed to notice more and more people having meals in their rooms rather than in the newer Viewliner II Diners with their great viewing capabilities. I understand that this is an option, but in talking to some folks that DID take meals in their room, they had no clue what the "Diner Car" even was........



Date: 03/25/24 11:16
Re: Basically a very good trip
Author: Chessie1963

The condition of the exterior of the Silver Service trains is a joke.  I cannot figure out why these trains are not cleaned when there are washers AT EACH END of the route.  Amtrak tried to tell me that the washer in Florida was undergoing repairs, but that still leaves NYC.  And what repairs?  I thought it was new???  Probably bad maintenance.

As for the diner, I experienced the same thing on the Meteor recently.  Eight folks at each seating.  In a car that seats 2-3X that amount.  But someone in management can point to "labor savings" and get a bonus, I guess.

Amtrak needs to clean the damned trains.  It does matter, and while some of you may be rolling your eyes, this is a big deal to many passengers.  I am presently booked for a trip in early May and in mid-June.  If early May has dirty windows, I will fly in June.  It is just not worth it to pay hundreds of dollars for a flithy view.  

As for meals in the room, I think COVID was what started that in earnest.  For a time there was no dining in dining cars, and I get it.  However, like much of what developed during COVID, the practice remains for a significant portion of the riding public.  I traveled throughout the pandemic, and like so much with Amtrak, the rules varied by crew.  But in-room dining has continued to play on.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/24 11:19 by Chessie1963.



Date: 03/25/24 11:52
Re: Basically a very good trip
Author: Lackawanna484

Amtrak does post openings for dining car staff occasionally. I think LA, NYC, and Charlotte were on the last list.

Posted from Android



Date: 03/25/24 12:11
Re: Basically a very good trip
Author: ronald321

Personally, I wouldn't call this a good trip.

A train with scratched, filthy, windows you can't even see out of -- and a diner 
that can only serve 8 people at a time is a disgrace (a properly staffed diner can serve 48)

I'm not being "negative" -- Gardner is the negative, "Can't Do" CEO who can't solve these issues.

It's even worse for coach passengers who are forced to eat Am-Cafe "food".
Here's how a wall Street Journal reporter described her Cafe car experience on a "Silver Service" train"

"My...cafe-car order is a re-heated bowl of mac and cheese, which I topped with a cut up hot dog...".
"I put myself through such gastronomic indignity because a private bedroom on the New York-Orlando route
can go far $1,500 one-way"  (from WSJ, March 16-17, page D11)





 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/24 12:13 by ronald321.



Date: 03/25/24 13:22
Re: Basically a very good trip
Author: longliveSP

ronald321 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Personally, I wouldn't call this a good trip.
>
> A train with scratched, filthy, windows you can't
> even see out of -- and a diner 
> that can only serve 8 people at a time is a
> disgrace (a properly staffed diner can serve 48)
>
> I'm not being "negative" -- Gardner is the
> negative, "Can't Do" CEO who can't solve these
> issues.
>
> It's even worse for coach passengers who are
> forced to eat Am-Cafe "food".
> Here's how a wall Street Journal reporter
> described her Cafe car experience on a "Silver
> Service" train"
>
> "My...cafe-car order is a re-heated bowl of mac
> and cheese, which I topped with a cut up hot
> dog...".
> "I put myself through such gastronomic indignity
> because a private bedroom on the New York-Orlando
> route
> can go far $1,500 one-way"  (from WSJ, March
> 16-17, page D11)

<THREAD HIJACK BROKEN RECORD ALERT/>



Date: 03/25/24 14:17
Re: Basically a very good trip
Author: PRR1361

Oh oh  oh folks, remember that every "unnecessary" expenditure reduces the amount of the executives' bonuses!



Date: 03/25/24 15:49
Re: Basically a very good trip
Author: jp1822

Folks, a major point is still being missed here.....

When the Crescent and Silver Meteor were still operating with traditional dining in 2017 and most of 2018 - with Heritage Diners or Viewliner II Diners being deployed - Amtrak had one person in the kitchen, and one person serving. Sleeper and coach passengers were accommodated. The Silver Meteor was still operating with three Viewliner Sleepers.

Fast-forward to now.....The current "system" of eight people being served in the Diner and four people in their rooms, just does NOT add up when compared to "what was." Logistics are even easier with the traditional dining food served now, PLUS the ease of having a BRAND NEW Viewliner II Diner, not an ancient Heritage Diner. UGH! There's not that much cost savings that would accrue. It's just another PIA customer service syndrome - AND less of revenue on a third sleeper line.Remember that the crew is also being housed and taking up space in the two lonely revenue sleepers operating in Silver Service operations.

My general feeling is that if they were not geared up to operate three sleepers on the Silver Service (Star and Meteor) and serve traditional dining to both coach and sleeper car passengers (now almost a year old), they should have stuck to Flex Meals. This is absolutely crazy!

AGAIN, there are MULTIPLE LSA'S on the Lake Shore Viewliner II Diner when only Flex meals are served. Should that be converted over to traditional dining sooner than later? What's going to negate this current limitation on the Silver Service dining operations, as this is a big problem. And I'm not talking down about the staffing on the Lake Shore. The Lake Shore is on a Flex meal plan and the Silvers are on traditional meal plans yet Lake Shore has more staffing in its Diner???? Come on Amtrak, this does NOT add up!

And I speak from experience.....I'm on the Lake Shore Limited at least twice a month on average. I've seen the addition of staff to the Lake Shore. The onboard staff is based out of NYP. They could be transferred to the Silvers. What is going on here??? Is there some disconnect between Amtrak Corporate and front line employees with middle management folks (as has always been a problem, but that's another story too).  



Date: 03/25/24 16:19
Re: Basically a very good trip
Author: WP17

bob52741 Wrote in part:
-------------------------------------------------------
> T
> Apparently with two sleepers, there is a limit
> imposed on the crew to have no more than eight
> persons being served in the Dining Car and four
> persons being served in their room during any
> given hour. 

This is the first time I've heard about this policy. I'd appreciate it if other members could confirm this is the case. 

Forgive me but we all have heard way too many examples of non-existant BS policies explained to unknowledgeable passengers to explain failure to do their job. 

WP17



Date: 03/25/24 16:41
Re: Basically a very good trip
Author: ronald321

longliveSP

It is you who have "Hijacked" this thread with you usual
criticism of fellow railfans - without commenting on the thread subject.

Shameful.



Date: 03/26/24 16:22
Re: Basically a very good trip
Author: P

Serving 8 people at a time in the diner? What in the world??

That is downright embarrassing. What do the other passengers do? Wait to eat until tomorrow?

Posted from Android



Date: 03/28/24 08:09
Re: Basically a very good trip
Author: Drknow

P Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Serving 8 people at a time in the diner? What in
> the world??
>
> That is downright embarrassing. What do the
> other passengers do? Wait to eat until tomorrow?
>
> Posted from Android

The desired effect.

Piss off the neophyte rider to “never again” status and declare victory.

Regards

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/28/24 14:38
Re: Basically a very good trip
Author: rbenko

Speaking of dirty windows, here is one on #5's Sightseer Lounge car back on March 10th.  Well, it's only a "Sightseer Lounge" - people don't normally look out the window ;-)




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