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(Yahoo)   Amtrak decides that dining cars are back on the menu on long haul Western routes. Tens of riders rejoice   (yahoo.com) divider line
    More: Followup, Amtrak, Beurre blanc, Butter, beloved dining car, Great Smoky Mountains, San Antonio, Texas Eagle, Sunset Limited  
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760 clicks; posted to Food » and Business » on 23 Oct 2021 at 7:45 AM (6 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



43 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2021-10-23 7:53:47 AM  
Amtrak ain't worth my time. Nobody's there, people socially distance.. it's depressing. Now college football games? That's my jam
 
2021-10-23 8:10:31 AM  
Did the Autotrain a couple of times.  The food in the dining cars is mediocre at best and just bad/boring at worst.  Bringing a cooler of Primo Hoagies to dispense would have been better.  Dining cars on Acela/NE Regional might as well be vending machines with cafeteria seating (ever had a vending machine hamburger?).

/The Orient Express, it is NOT
 
2021-10-23 8:27:26 AM  
I'll go ahead and say it.
I like Amtrak.
I like being able to hop on the commuter train downtown, stroll over to the Amtrak train and board without having to take off my shoes and submitting to a full body scan-and-grope.
I like having to decide whether to sit in my assigned seat, which is actually far enough from the seat in front of it that my kneecaps aren't grinding into it, or to get up and walk down to whatever dining car, lounge, or observation car is available. Or get up and go to the bathroom whenever I want, and not feel claustrophobic doing so.
I like rolling through the downtowns of the small towns and the scenic views.
I like breathing at normal atmospheric pressure, and not having to worry about deep vein thrombosis.
I like arriving at my destination city's downtown, instead of at an airport an expensive and time-consuming cab ride away from downtown.
There. I said it. I prefer Amtrak to flying.
I know planes are technically faster, but the experience of flying coach seems to take years off your lifespan, so it evens out.
 
2021-10-23 8:28:48 AM  
I've taken the overnight train from Austin to Chicago a few times. The food wasn't great, but decent enough. The steak was surprisingly tender.
 
2021-10-23 8:29:54 AM  

sleze: Did the Autotrain a couple of times.  The food in the dining cars is mediocre at best and just bad/boring at worst.  Bringing a cooler of Primo Hoagies to dispense would have been better.  Dining cars on Acela/NE Regional might as well be vending machines with cafeteria seating (ever had a vending machine hamburger?).

/The Orient Express, it is NOT


Yeah that's fair. The Northeast Regional food is at a fairly high price vs small serving size. It's a bit like movie theater food, just enough to tide you over. Learned that riding up to Boston.

The solution? Stop at a food stand or two at your origin. You'll get more for less and bring it aboard. Did that on the way home.

/still, would love to take a sleeper out to Atlanta or Chicago
 
2021-10-23 8:30:05 AM  

Psychopompous: I'll go ahead and say it.
I like Amtrak.
I like being able to hop on the commuter train downtown, stroll over to the Amtrak train and board without having to take off my shoes and submitting to a full body scan-and-grope.
I like having to decide whether to sit in my assigned seat, which is actually far enough from the seat in front of it that my kneecaps aren't grinding into it, or to get up and walk down to whatever dining car, lounge, or observation car is available. Or get up and go to the bathroom whenever I want, and not feel claustrophobic doing so.
I like rolling through the downtowns of the small towns and the scenic views.
I like breathing at normal atmospheric pressure, and not having to worry about deep vein thrombosis.
I like arriving at my destination city's downtown, instead of at an airport an expensive and time-consuming cab ride away from downtown.
There. I said it. I prefer Amtrak to flying.
I know planes are technically faster, but the experience of flying coach seems to take years off your lifespan, so it evens out.


Driving > train > flying.
 
2021-10-23 8:59:33 AM  

Tyrone Slothrop: Driving > train > flying.


"Traveling by train from Salem to San Jose usually takes around 19 hours and 55 minutes"

It's a nine and a half hour drive. The Amtrak time does not include getting to the station from home or getting to the hotel at the destination. Stopping for food and fuel in our van would probably balance out the additional time.
 
2021-10-23 9:25:28 AM  
All Y'all are missing out on the great hotdogs at the Greyhound station.
 
2021-10-23 9:32:43 AM  
I like Amtrak for longer trips. You can stretch out and the food's decent. In the Northeast, if it's not Acela, the trip's kind of crappy. The last time I went from NYC to Pittsburgh, the food was microwaved and I had a theee hour layover in Philly. Still better than driving, though.
 
2021-10-23 9:35:02 AM  

Psychopompous: I'll go ahead and say it.
I like Amtrak.
I like being able to hop on the commuter train downtown, stroll over to the Amtrak train and board without having to take off my shoes and submitting to a full body scan-and-grope.
I like having to decide whether to sit in my assigned seat, which is actually far enough from the seat in front of it that my kneecaps aren't grinding into it, or to get up and walk down to whatever dining car, lounge, or observation car is available. Or get up and go to the bathroom whenever I want, and not feel claustrophobic doing so.
I like rolling through the downtowns of the small towns and the scenic views.
I like breathing at normal atmospheric pressure, and not having to worry about deep vein thrombosis.
I like arriving at my destination city's downtown, instead of at an airport an expensive and time-consuming cab ride away from downtown.
There. I said it. I prefer Amtrak to flying.
I know planes are technically faster, but the experience of flying coach seems to take years off your lifespan, so it evens out.


Amtrak is fantastic if you don't care about getting where you're going on time. That's not a dig. It's truly a comfortable, stress free, fun way to travel. You just have to know going in that your travel time can increase by 25% or so. I've done vacations all on Amtrak and built that time difference in and it's great. I read, watched videos, watched the scenery go by, and had a generally great time.
 
2021-10-23 9:38:54 AM  
Trains rule. Our roads would be so much safer if we had better passenger train infrastructure. Most people can't drive. And I just hate driving.
 
2021-10-23 9:42:56 AM  
Amtrak has an opportunity to put in fine dining, with real china and nice flatware. Offer high-end meals of various sorts, bottles and bottles of top-of-the-line wine. They can do things that can't be done on airplanes due to weight. Make the most of it, and make the experience so fantastic that there is no way airlines can compete.
 
2021-10-23 9:47:56 AM  

Tyrone Slothrop: Psychopompous: I'll go ahead and say it.
I like Amtrak.
...

Driving > train > flying.


There are a lot of variables there.  From DC, I would rather drive to Worcester Massachusetts, but I would rather take the train to Boston.  Trains to big cities beat the hell out of driving.  But trains to smaller places suck.  Unless someone is picking you up at the station.
 
2021-10-23 10:00:09 AM  
Can't speak for other western states, but the decision to route the line through the least-populated parts of MT and ND made it effectively worthless to lots of people here. Jumping on a train between Bismarck and Bozeman would be great. Minot and Havre? Not so much
 
2021-10-23 10:15:22 AM  

Psychopompous: I'll go ahead and say it.
I like Amtrak.
I like being able to hop on the commuter train downtown, stroll over to the Amtrak train and board without having to take off my shoes and submitting to a full body scan-and-grope.
I like having to decide whether to sit in my assigned seat, which is actually far enough from the seat in front of it that my kneecaps aren't grinding into it, or to get up and walk down to whatever dining car, lounge, or observation car is available. Or get up and go to the bathroom whenever I want, and not feel claustrophobic doing so.
I like rolling through the downtowns of the small towns and the scenic views.
I like breathing at normal atmospheric pressure, and not having to worry about deep vein thrombosis.
I like arriving at my destination city's downtown, instead of at an airport an expensive and time-consuming cab ride away from downtown.
There. I said it. I prefer Amtrak to flying.
I know planes are technically faster, but the experience of flying coach seems to take years off your lifespan, so it evens out.


The last year before lockdown, it took us longer -- by the clock -- to fly from our house to our son's house in Florida (over 1000 miles) than to drive the same distance.  Because of delays and all the pre-flight rigmarole you go through, it took us over 20 hours to fly. More than that if you add in the time to rent a car at the destination. Depending upon traffic, we've driven to Atlanta in under 7 hours. (We did it often when he was at the North Avenue Trade School.) Recently with delays and such, a flight can take 8 hours. Or more. At our age, we're kind of a captive audience for flights. Both of us would prefer to take a train.
 
2021-10-23 10:16:26 AM  

dericwater: Amtrak has an opportunity to put in fine dining, with real china and nice flatware. Offer high-end meals of various sorts, bottles and bottles of top-of-the-line wine. They can do things that can't be done on airplanes due to weight. Make the most of it, and make the experience so fantastic that there is no way airlines can compete.


People will not pay for it.
 
2021-10-23 10:17:02 AM  

Schlubbe: Can't speak for other western states, but the decision to route the line through the least-populated parts of MT and ND made it effectively worthless to lots of people here. Jumping on a train between Bismarck and Bozeman would be great. Minot and Havre? Not so much


It's on freight rail lines, so you take what is there.
 
2021-10-23 10:22:24 AM  

Schlubbe: Can't speak for other western states, but the decision to route the line through the least-populated parts of MT and ND made it effectively worthless to lots of people here. Jumping on a train between Bismarck and Bozeman would be great. Minot and Havre? Not so much


The more southerly towns have I-90, though just stopping for gas and food in Bozeman is a shiatshow. It is kinda interesting to see the old rail line snaking through the mountain passes, but I read those tracks have been abandoned for 40 years.

And both times I've taken Amtrak for something other than a Metra type trip? The equipment was from the Carter administration and the staff were assholes. I'll drive thanks.
 
2021-10-23 10:37:38 AM  
You know WHO ELSE had passenger trains?
 
2021-10-23 10:41:13 AM  

yakmans_dad: Psychopompous: I'll go ahead and say it.
I like Amtrak.
I like being able to hop on the commuter train downtown, stroll over to the Amtrak train and board without having to take off my shoes and submitting to a full body scan-and-grope.
I like having to decide whether to sit in my assigned seat, which is actually far enough from the seat in front of it that my kneecaps aren't grinding into it, or to get up and walk down to whatever dining car, lounge, or observation car is available. Or get up and go to the bathroom whenever I want, and not feel claustrophobic doing so.
I like rolling through the downtowns of the small towns and the scenic views.
I like breathing at normal atmospheric pressure, and not having to worry about deep vein thrombosis.
I like arriving at my destination city's downtown, instead of at an airport an expensive and time-consuming cab ride away from downtown.
There. I said it. I prefer Amtrak to flying.
I know planes are technically faster, but the experience of flying coach seems to take years off your lifespan, so it evens out.

The last year before lockdown, it took us longer -- by the clock -- to fly from our house to our son's house in Florida (over 1000 miles) than to drive the same distance.  Because of delays and all the pre-flight rigmarole you go through, it took us over 20 hours to fly. More than that if you add in the time to rent a car at the destination. Depending upon traffic, we've driven to Atlanta in under 7 hours. (We did it often when he was at the North Avenue Trade School.) Recently with delays and such, a flight can take 8 hours. Or more. At our age, we're kind of a captive audience for flights. Both of us would prefer to take a train.


Eh I've flown tons for work, I got it down to a science.

I still hate it. National executive class is the way to go. Land. Go to aisle with nice cars, grab car check out at gate go. I'm definitely that guy that's been in the airport for the first morning flight drinking a beer at a restaurant.

I've taken amtrack twice. And while I enjoy the comfortable seating, the ability to hop out of the train at small stations to smoke a cig, I'm usually on too much of a time crunch to really use the service.

Driving now? I dread bypass loops, people get farking stupid near major cities and I've driven in pretty much all the major cities in America.

But I always try to drive if my destination is about 14 hours away.

Car is more comfortable, I can jam out to music, I don't have to fight for my armrest with some obese person overflowing into my seat (and I've literally beat someone with slamming the armrest down repeatedly on them)

But hey, I managed to hit all 50 states before I was 32!
 
2021-10-23 11:04:14 AM  
I've had wonderful, romantic cross-country adventures on Amtrak. My departure has been more than 24 hours late. I've sat idle on the tracks for hours because of a derailment ahead and wound up taking an Amtrak-provided bus to my destination and had a blast with strangers on the way.
It's not good if you have a rigid schedule or a rigid mindset, but if you take a spirit of adventure with you, it can be a memory maker.
Food wasn't bad, either.
 
2021-10-23 11:10:12 AM  
Before they got rid of the dining cars I took Amtrak Coast Starlight trip to Seattle, I got a roomette and it was comfortable enough and while the dining car wasn't the best food I ever had it wasn't bad, the shared seating was abit strange but the people were nice enough.  Coast Starlight at the time had the "Pacific Parlour Car"  which had a wine tasting and some nice seating.  It was overall pleasurable experience, certainly more than the plane I took back but it had to be viewed as traveling as being part of the trip.
 
2021-10-23 11:58:41 AM  
Took Amtrak a fair amount my first few years of college.  Didn't have a car, but really lucked out - there was a direct train from my little dumpy college town all the way to my parents' city.  It wasn't terrible, but never did it again after getting wheels.

Main reason being driving took half the time - ~4 hours versus 7 1/2, not including time to get to and from the station.  Cheaper too - round trip tickets were $100 vs $60 for gas.  That's $40 in beer money.  Add in the other perks of driving, that I didn't have to "deal" with anyone else and it could be more spontaneous - there wasn't even an actual station in the college town so I had to get tickets mailed over, and the choice was obvious.
 
2021-10-23 12:13:02 PM  
Took Amtrak from emeryville to truckee, 10 hours to cover what a 4 hour drive would have. We took along a coupla gourmet subs, some good cheese, fried chicken , half an apple pie, and a nice big bottle of wine, great trip there and back again 4 days later.
 
2021-10-23 12:25:03 PM  
My city has an attack station. Which is great if I want to go to Chicago or Minneapolis. But I have to overnight there if I want to go further.
 
2021-10-23 12:33:44 PM  

kkinnison: My city has an attack station. Which is great if I want to go to Chicago or Minneapolis. But I have to overnight there if I want to go further.


On the old BLM&O line?
 
2021-10-23 12:57:09 PM  

mrmopar5287: It's on freight rail lines, so you take what is there.


NINEv2: The more southerly towns have I-90, though just stopping for gas and food in Bozeman is a shiatshow. It is kinda interesting to see the old rail line snaking through the mountain passes, but I read those tracks have been abandoned for 40 years.


There are fully functional freight lines running the whole way from Fargo to Missoula that would service Bismarck, Billings, Bozeman, Helena and Missoula and all points in between. The main impediment seems to be regulatory, as it was explained to me. Passenger service requires much smoother and better maintained rails, and the 100+ car coal trains that run on those lines beat the holy hell out of the infrastructure. Plus all the Depots were abandoned and sold 40+ years ago.

West of Missoula the main line turns North at Superior, so I'm guessing those are the abandoned mountain tracks you're thinking of. Or that twisty shiat along Homestake pass east of Butte.
 
2021-10-23 1:11:56 PM  

Schlubbe: Can't speak for other western states, but the decision to route the line through the least-populated parts of MT and ND made it effectively worthless to lots of people here. Jumping on a train between Bismarck and Bozeman would be great. Minot and Havre? Not so much


The cities of Montana are lobbying Amtrak to restore the lower route that would hit Bozeman, Helena, Butre, and Missoula. Which would be great, as that's where the people both are and want to travel to.
 
2021-10-23 1:33:37 PM  

Psychopompous: I'll go ahead and say it.
I like Amtrak.
I like being able to hop on the commuter train downtown, stroll over to the Amtrak train and board without having to take off my shoes and submitting to a full body scan-and-grope.
I like having to decide whether to sit in my assigned seat, which is actually far enough from the seat in front of it that my kneecaps aren't grinding into it, or to get up and walk down to whatever dining car, lounge, or observation car is available. Or get up and go to the bathroom whenever I want, and not feel claustrophobic doing so.
I like rolling through the downtowns of the small towns and the scenic views.
I like breathing at normal atmospheric pressure, and not having to worry about deep vein thrombosis.
I like arriving at my destination city's downtown, instead of at an airport an expensive and time-consuming cab ride away from downtown.
There. I said it. I prefer Amtrak to flying.
I know planes are technically faster, but the experience of flying coach seems to take years off your lifespan, so it evens out.


I've actually looked into Amtrak travel because flying is such a miserable experience.  If there was an easy way to get to Phoenix from north Texas I'd go and take the extra time to get there.
 
2021-10-23 2:00:18 PM  
I've been thinking about a trip to see my brother / Smithsonian in February / Spring.
Amtrak is a great ride from Boston to DC. Pack a lunch, a couple beers and a pint for the overnight train.
Auto-Train food was OK, cheap wine. I enjoyed eating with fellow passengers.

Local tourist train has fine dining.
 
2021-10-23 2:39:40 PM  

Schlubbe: mrmopar5287: It's on freight rail lines, so you take what is there.

NINEv2: The more southerly towns have I-90, though just stopping for gas and food in Bozeman is a shiatshow. It is kinda interesting to see the old rail line snaking through the mountain passes, but I read those tracks have been abandoned for 40 years.

There are fully functional freight lines running the whole way from Fargo to Missoula that would service Bismarck, Billings, Bozeman, Helena and Missoula and all points in between. The main impediment seems to be regulatory, as it was explained to me. Passenger service requires much smoother and better maintained rails, and the 100+ car coal trains that run on those lines beat the holy hell out of the infrastructure. Plus all the Depots were abandoned and sold 40+ years ago.

West of Missoula the main line turns North at Superior, so I'm guessing those are the abandoned mountain tracks you're thinking of. Or that twisty shiat along Homestake pass east of Butte.


There is interesting talk about resurrecting a southern-tier passenger line.
 
2021-10-23 2:40:52 PM  

testosteronephobe: Schlubbe: mrmopar5287: It's on freight rail lines, so you take what is there.

NINEv2: The more southerly towns have I-90, though just stopping for gas and food in Bozeman is a shiatshow. It is kinda interesting to see the old rail line snaking through the mountain passes, but I read those tracks have been abandoned for 40 years.

There are fully functional freight lines running the whole way from Fargo to Missoula that would service Bismarck, Billings, Bozeman, Helena and Missoula and all points in between. The main impediment seems to be regulatory, as it was explained to me. Passenger service requires much smoother and better maintained rails, and the 100+ car coal trains that run on those lines beat the holy hell out of the infrastructure. Plus all the Depots were abandoned and sold 40+ years ago.

West of Missoula the main line turns North at Superior, so I'm guessing those are the abandoned mountain tracks you're thinking of. Or that twisty shiat along Homestake pass east of Butte.

There is interesting talk about resurrecting a southern-tier passenger line.


That would have been nice when I had a twice a week commute from the Bitterroot to Bozeman and back.
 
2021-10-23 2:50:56 PM  

Axeofjudgement: testosteronephobe: Schlubbe: mrmopar5287: It's on freight rail lines, so you take what is there.

NINEv2: The more southerly towns have I-90, though just stopping for gas and food in Bozeman is a shiatshow. It is kinda interesting to see the old rail line snaking through the mountain passes, but I read those tracks have been abandoned for 40 years.

There are fully functional freight lines running the whole way from Fargo to Missoula that would service Bismarck, Billings, Bozeman, Helena and Missoula and all points in between. The main impediment seems to be regulatory, as it was explained to me. Passenger service requires much smoother and better maintained rails, and the 100+ car coal trains that run on those lines beat the holy hell out of the infrastructure. Plus all the Depots were abandoned and sold 40+ years ago.

West of Missoula the main line turns North at Superior, so I'm guessing those are the abandoned mountain tracks you're thinking of. Or that twisty shiat along Homestake pass east of Butte.

There is interesting talk about resurrecting a southern-tier passenger line.

That would have been nice when I had a twice a week commute from the Bitterroot to Bozeman and back.


Wouldn't it? Work all week and then relax on the train and let them take you home?
 
2021-10-23 3:16:15 PM  

testosteronephobe: Axeofjudgement: testosteronephobe: Schlubbe: mrmopar5287: It's on freight rail lines, so you take what is there.

NINEv2: The more southerly towns have I-90, though just stopping for gas and food in Bozeman is a shiatshow. It is kinda interesting to see the old rail line snaking through the mountain passes, but I read those tracks have been abandoned for 40 years.

There are fully functional freight lines running the whole way from Fargo to Missoula that would service Bismarck, Billings, Bozeman, Helena and Missoula and all points in between. The main impediment seems to be regulatory, as it was explained to me. Passenger service requires much smoother and better maintained rails, and the 100+ car coal trains that run on those lines beat the holy hell out of the infrastructure. Plus all the Depots were abandoned and sold 40+ years ago.

West of Missoula the main line turns North at Superior, so I'm guessing those are the abandoned mountain tracks you're thinking of. Or that twisty shiat along Homestake pass east of Butte.

There is interesting talk about resurrecting a southern-tier passenger line.

That would have been nice when I had a twice a week commute from the Bitterroot to Bozeman and back.

Wouldn't it? Work all week and then relax on the train and let them take you home?


I dreaded that drive every Thursday evening after a 10 or 12 hour shift on site.

Shiat if I could just sit on a train and drink a beer or two after work?  That would have been luxury.
 
2021-10-23 4:04:34 PM  

Psychopompous: I'll go ahead and say it.
I like Amtrak.
I like being able to hop on the commuter train downtown, stroll over to the Amtrak train and board without having to take off my shoes and submitting to a full body scan-and-grope.
I like having to decide whether to sit in my assigned seat, which is actually far enough from the seat in front of it that my kneecaps aren't grinding into it, or to get up and walk down to whatever dining car, lounge, or observation car is available. Or get up and go to the bathroom whenever I want, and not feel claustrophobic doing so.
I like rolling through the downtowns of the small towns and the scenic views.
I like breathing at normal atmospheric pressure, and not having to worry about deep vein thrombosis.
I like arriving at my destination city's downtown, instead of at an airport an expensive and time-consuming cab ride away from downtown.
There. I said it. I prefer Amtrak to flying.
I know planes are technically faster, but the experience of flying coach seems to take years off your lifespan, so it evens out.


I love it also. Took my first trip from Austin to Minneapolis by myself when I was 12. Recently took the entire family on a round trip between DC and Floriduh. Definitely get the family bedroom for longer trips. It was a little more expensive than flying and took longer, but the payoff was in the journey with the family. Flying kind of sucks, driving takes a long time (although, it is my favorite transport mode), but the train is something that everyone should experience. Take it from me, cross-country in a '68 R-10 is doable, but I'd rather be relaxing in the club car with a drink.
 
2021-10-23 4:49:52 PM  

sleze: Did the Autotrain a couple of times.  The food in the dining cars is mediocre at best and just bad/boring at worst.  Bringing a cooler of Primo Hoagies to dispense would have been better.  Dining cars on Acela/NE Regional might as well be vending machines with cafeteria seating (ever had a vending machine hamburger?).

/The Orient Express, it is NOT


Would you have murdered someone for a decent meal?
 
2021-10-23 5:43:27 PM  
Americans:

As an Australian, all I can say is appreciate what you've got.

It can be worse
 
2021-10-23 5:56:02 PM  

Boomstickz: Americans:

As an Australian, all I can say is appreciate what you've got.

It can be worse


You folks have The Ghan at least.
 
2021-10-23 6:49:59 PM  

Hell Poodle: Trains rule. Our roads would be so much safer if we had better passenger train infrastructure. Most people can't drive. And I just hate driving.


Wife and I are taking the train from BOS fo SFO for a Christmas visit with the kids. So I'm getting a kick...looking foraard to it.
 
2021-10-23 10:18:26 PM  

alienated: Boomstickz: Americans:

As an Australian, all I can say is appreciate what you've got.

It can be worse

You folks have The Ghan at least.


It is worse.

It's a boring bloody track, they took away the pretty bits (it was the old narrow gauge tho) and our rolling stock is from the 70's
 
2021-10-24 5:35:48 AM  
I took the train from SF to Denver and LOVED it!  They treated me like a customer instead of an annoying interruption to their busy schedule.  I'd forgotten how nice that was.

/Now bring back the smoking car.
 
2021-10-24 7:33:13 AM  
Old enough to remember Pullman Porters and Red Caps.
When the Vista Dome was introduced it was like riding on the space shuttle to pre-teen me.
 
2021-10-24 3:33:44 PM  
I used to take the Maple Leaf from Syracuse to Grand Central (and Penn Station, during the GC restoration during the early'90s Beautiful trip through the Mohawk and Hudson Valleys.

Stress free and kinda fun looking in backyards, rather than front yards. And I could bring my own booze!
 
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