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Amtrak Restores Traditional Dining on Western Long Distance Routes

The Department of Transportation announced a few weeks ago that the new, streamlined dining service on Amtrak trains would be limited to only the top-of-the-line sleeping cars and first-class seating. The reason? Because if customers ate in the dining cars, they would eat less food, and that would mean less money for the “railway”.

The two-part series that I wrote about Amtrak’s switch to a new dining car service, “Amtrak vs. the Trolley Car”, was well-received by the rail travel community. However, my choice to focus on the dining car service was a bit of an oversimplification. Since then, Amtrak has restored two of the old dining car service routes, the Pueblo-Denver and the Bakersfield-Denver. Additionally, Amtrak added a new dining car route, the San Diego-Los Angeles, which will begin service this fall.

Amtrak has announced it will restoring dining cars to its fleet of trains, 20 years after they were first eliminated. The decision reverses a trend started by then-CEO Roy J. Roberts, who ordered the cars discontinued in the early 1990s to cut costs, a change that was widely criticized by travelers and food critics. The decision to restore the dining cars is part of Amtrak’s “Next Wave of Service” initiative, which was launched in March 2015, and will be phased in over three years.

img source: trains.com

WHY IT’S GETTING MORE EXPENSIVE Travelers who like to travel by train can enjoy new food and drink options with Amtrak – Donald Wood, senior editor Breaking News As part of its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, Amtrak today announced that traditional afternoon service will be discontinued on the California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle trains (for service between San Antonio and Los Angeles) beginning Wednesday, June 23. Current trend Travelers can enjoy an updated menu of chef-prepared dishes for breakfast, lunch and a three-course dinner. These include a selection of children’s meals, a new range of snacks and a free alcoholic drink with dinner, as well as table service in the dining car with glasses, cutlery and white linen tablecloths. Ceramic cookware is expected to hit the market later this year. Amtrak is making many significant investments to improve the customer experience. This includes catering and reinventing our popular onboard meals, with service that our customers will love and our employees will be proud of, said Robert Jordan, vice president of onboard station and customer service. As the summer season approaches and operations on our long-haul routes return to pre-pandemic schedules, customers can continue to travel with peace of mind as Amtrak’s basic health and safety protocols remain in place.

img source: washingtonpost.com

A traditional breakfast is offered exclusively to guests staying in a private room or room type. The café will remain available to guests both in the car and in the lounges, where they can purchase a variety of meals, snacks, and drinks. The cafe’s menu is expected to be revamped this summer to include more fresh dishes. In addition, eligible intercity bus customers can now bid for an upgrade to their room or room type via the BidUp system prior to travel. Amtrak is reintroducing traditional meals and ensuring proper coronavirus protocols are followed for food and drink. This includes mandatory masks for employees and customers, except while eating or drinking and offering free room service as a dining option. For more information and the new traditional menu, visit amtrak.com/traditionaldining. The traditional lunch is one of many investments Amtrak has made to improve its long-distance service. In addition to restoring daily long-haul flight schedules and rehiring more than 1,200 laid-off employees, upcoming customer-focused initiatives include: a multi-year interior renovation program for the Superliner and Viewliner fleets, enhanced comfort items in select guest rooms or roomettes, and the ability for long-haul passengers to purchase traditional breakfasts online or onboard. You know those days, when you’re so hungry you’d eat a horse? Maybe you’re one of those travelers who’s always raving about the amazing dining car service but haven’t experienced it for yourself. Well, this week, Amtrak is restoring the traditional dining-car service on its long-distance routes, including the California Zephyr route from Chicago to San Francisco. The service will make its debut this Friday and will continue through mid-October.. Read more about amtrak dining car menu and let us know what you think.

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