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Amtrak Table Service Gone, what I experienced with new options

Panina

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This is my first round trip since Amtrak stopped tablecloths service and cooked meals on the Crescent late last year. I always enjoyed the experience.

I am about to embark on my return trip but if my dinner is anything like the breakfast option it will be worse then airline food.

Coming I chose a banana, fresh fruit, and a yogurt. I must say this, on paper I was excited as gluten options were specifically stated. The banana was raw, the fruit hard with no taste, the yogurt went bad. My other half took the microwaved, heated from frozen egg sandwich, which he said was horrible. They also eliminated lunch, without telling us, unless the train was more then four hours late. Fortunately I had packed some soy nuts so I was able to eat something as we didn’t arrive until after 3:30.

What I did notice is the waiting lounge at Penn station, now has a larger selection of snacks. Prior you were lucky to get a coffee and pretzels or PF goldfish crackers, mostly never available. Now Juices, sodas, chips, cookies, assorted candies in family size. I guess they want to make sure you have a snack with you just in case the food is inedible on the train.

I will report on dinner. Just in case I brought my soy nuts and a protein bar, oh I also took some junk food from the lounge, m&ms and potato chips, just in case the train has major delays.
 

pedro47

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Thanks Panina on this report. IMHO, the dining room food and the other foods serviced on Amtrak was much better than food on a airplane .

Shame on you Amtrak.
 

x3 skier

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If you want to have a great train dinning experience, take the Orient Express of British Pullman.
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Cheers
 

Panina

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Thanks Panina on this report. IMHO, the dining room food and the other foods serviced on Amtrak was much better than food on a airplane .

Shame on you Amtrak.
From what I was told and read, this was not Amtrak’s doing. Our government told them they must reduce food costs. The Amtrak staff told me to to write our Senator, that writing to Amtrak would do nothing.

Also noticed the car attendant I had coming and now going were both dining staff before. My guess, is they had more seniority and bumped other car attendants. Unfortunately they aren’t that good as car attendants.
 

Luanne

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BM243923

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We are taking the Amtrak Auto Train in February. As of January 15/2020 coach passengers will no longer receive dinner. This is a overnight train and we will have to bring our dinner with us. From other passengers taking Amtrak the food being served is limited and not very good quality. I booked with an agent as we were using points and they did not mention this change to us. I had known about the change prior to booking, but the agent should have told us about the change.
 

Synergy

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What a shame! I always thought the dining service was the high point of a long distance Amtrak trip. I burned my Amtrak points years ago, when they gutted that program. I had hoped to bring my other half to and from Glacier sometime soon. These changes make that seem less likely =/
 

Panina

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I order the Creole Shrimp and Andouille as it says gluten free. I was told the dessert that comes is a brownie. Even though dessert is listed included with the meal, the attendant didn’t know if it was gluten free. He said I can read the label. I hope it is as someone will get very sick assuming it is. They also give one free alcoholic beverage, probably so you might not notice the meal. I ordered a Bacardi Rum, not sure I will drink it. The attendant told me feedback is it is like airline food, not great and most not happy. My other half ordered chicken Fettuccine and a bud light.
 

Panina

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Pictures of slop
Served in a shopping bag
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3BA5AFEE-5DC7-4A0C-AEC0-A0A0141501DD.jpeg
 

Panina

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Letter I just sent to Amtrak and my Senator. If there is way to send to all senators and congressmen lmk.

I often spent the extra money to go by Amtrak train due to the dining experience.

Your elimination of dining car cooked meals is a disaster. One spends a-lot of additional money to get a sleeper and dog food would be better. What is now being served is an insult to a loyal customer base.

This is my return trip. Going for breakfast I took a banana, fresh fruit and yogurt. The banana was not ripe, the fruit hard and tasteless and the yogurt was rancid. Then I was told no lunch unless the train is 4 hours behind. We got in after 3, with nothing to eat.

My dinner now was worse. Any frozen dinner from the supermarket would be better. I ordered the creole shrimp being the meal was designated gluten free. I understand the risk of cross contamination during the cooking process but serving me a non gluten free bun and a brownie that specifically states wheat is in the product is dangerous. I read the label but others will not and can get very sick. This is not a risk for cross contamination this is just a disregard to your passengers needs and safety.
 

Snazzylass

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Yes, it's sad. It's just not profitable. I loved Amtrak back in the day and still might use it again.
 

Timeshare Von

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Unfortunately, as I get older, I'm very happy about most of the travel experiences I have had prior to today. Amtrak is perhaps on the top of the list as I've been able to do some pretty cool long trips via sleeper cars with Amtrak and totally enjoyed the experience & value. Now, with the latest changes in dining options, I doubt I/we will ever do Amtrak again.
 

Talent312

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I'll never forget the flight in which we brought mesquite chicken subs on board.
We bought 'em at a Quiznos stand in the concourse and put 'em in a carry-on.
The peep in the surrounding seats were very jealous.

At least it wasn't fruitcake...
I heard on NPR that NASA sent a fruitcake up on Apollo 7 (despite the weight).
Someone thought it offered good nutrition. It came back to Earth untouched.
.
 

clifffaith

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I'll never forget the flight in which we brought mesquite chicken subs on board.
We bought 'em at a Quiznos stand in the concourse and put 'em in a carry-on.
The peep in the surrounding seats were very jealous.

At least it wasn't fruitcake...
I heard on NPR that NASA sent a fruitcake up on Apollo 7 (despite the weight).
Someone thought it offered good nutrition. It came back to Earth untouched.
.

Claxton's Fruitcake makes individually wrapped slices -- apparently it has become big with hikers as an alternative to granola/energy bars. I bought a box for my mother last year when she mentioned Claxton's was my grandmother's favorite. She shared with me, but I ended up returning several slices to her. I decided I'd stick with Collin Street, even though we haven't ordered it in years.
 

WinniWoman

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Everything is going to hell and a handbasket.
 

controller1

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Claxton's Fruitcake makes individually wrapped slices -- apparently it has become big with hikers as an alternative to granola/energy bars. I bought a box for my mother last year when she mentioned Claxton's was my grandmother's favorite. She shared with me, but I ended up returning several slices to her. I decided I'd stick with Collin Street, even though we haven't ordered it in years.

I have a third of a Collin Street Bakery fruitcake left from Christmas. I'll have an extra slice tonight for you!
 

JudyH

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Please report back on the auto train and BYOB meals. I am using it in May.
 

Timeshare Von

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Claxton's Fruitcake makes individually wrapped slices -- apparently it has become big with hikers as an alternative to granola/energy bars. I bought a box for my mother last year when she mentioned Claxton's was my grandmother's favorite. She shared with me, but I ended up returning several slices to her. I decided I'd stick with Collin Street, even though we haven't ordered it in years.

Claxton Fruitcake . . . a family favorite since the 1960's as a kid who used to vacation to my grandma's in SW Georgia. I still buy it when I see it. Sam's club used to sell it, but not lately.
 

HenryT

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I took the Amtrak Auto Train about 10 years ago from Virginia to the stop outside of Orlando. The meals were great back then.

I did have two issues though:

1. The coach seats were not comfortable to sleep on. I had read that they were better than airplane seats because they could recline more. I did not experience that increased comfort. I decided I would have to go with a sleeper room if I were to take that train again but those rooms aren't that cost effective.

2. The worse thing for me though was they allowed smoking in the dining car and the recreation car. It was so bad that I really couldn't enjoy these areas, especially the recreation car. The recreation car would have been nice without the smoke because they had nice snacks in between meals, electrical outlets for electronics and space to stretch out play games and enjoy the view.

I wrote Amtrak a letter afterwards telling them I wouldn't be using them again while they allow smoking in the common areas.
 
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