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Viewliner Diners On the lake Shore Ltd

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  • Member since
    December, 2006
  • From: Trieste, Italy
  • 186 posts
Viewliner Diners On the lake Shore Ltd
Posted by GN_Fan on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 8:49 AM

I'm planning on taking a coast to coast Amtrak trip from Boston to Frisco in the latter part of July and was wondering if the new Viewliner diners have been intruduced on the Lake Shore Limited. Several months ago I read where one diner was being used for training out of Florida, but I haven't heard anything since. Is the Lake Shore still running just a cafe-lounge or has a diner been made available. Any news would be helpful.


Alea Iacta Est -- The Die Is Cast
  • Member since
    August, 2006
  • From: South Dakota
  • 1,528 posts
Posted by Dakguy201 on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 12:15 PM

Perhaps I've just not been paying attention, but it seems very little has been occuring regarding the single level car deliveries since the baggage cars were received.  Is there anything actually moving through production?

For that matter the high level commuter car order appears dead in the water after the failure of the squeeze test.   Has there been any update on the status here?

Maybe it is time for some reporter to ask some hard questions of Amtrak, the state in charge of the other order (California?) and the manufacturers for some realistic updates.


  • Member since
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  • 760 posts
Posted by NKP guy on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 3:23 PM

   I'll once again be having breakfast and lunch aboard #48 this Friday and I am fairly certain it will be in a new Viewliner diner.  If memory serves right, I think I recently read in Trains that all of the Heritage diners on this train have by now been withdrawn; thus Viewliners are the rule, not the exception.  I have already dined in them at least twice, and while I sorely miss the 1950's equipment, I am pleased to report that the fascinating and fast-passing scenery outside the window hasn't changed, and the quality of the food and the general ambiance remains, thank goodness, largely the same.  After each meal I shall be lighting a votive candle and saying a prayer in the train's Chapel Car that the Viewliner diners on the Lake Shore Limited may have many long and successful years of service. 

  • Member since
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  • 820 posts
Posted by ATSFGuy on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 5:23 PM

Has Amtrak replaced the viewliner Diners or are they still running for the time being?

  • Member since
    March, 2014
  • 49 posts
Posted by Pete-M3 on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 9:06 AM

No, there are no Viewliner II diners in service on the Lake Shore Ltd. yet. You can verify this every day by watching it pass the Chesterton IN rail web cam. They are still using Diner-Lites. To my knowledge, the only production VII diner, the 68001 ("Annapolis") has been in test mode with some interruptions on the Meteor, since, I think, early December. There has been speculation about additional diner releases from time to time on some other web sites, but those dates have come and gone. Also, AFAIK the VI diner, the 8400 ("Indianapolis") has been in service on the Crescent.


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  • 760 posts
Posted by NKP guy on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 12:42 PM

Thank you, Pete

   I stand corrected!  I based what I posted on having already eaten in some sort of Viewliner dining car on the LSL in October and perhaps May of 2016.  I assumed they were standard equipment by now.  

   What's the difference between a Diner-Lite and a Viewliner II diner?


  • Member since
    March, 2014
  • 49 posts
Posted by Pete-M3 on Thursday, April 20, 2017 1:04 AM

NKP guy,

The Viewliner II diners have a conventional diner setup with a full kitchen at one end of the car and a dining room at the other end, seating 46. 

The "Diner-lites" are 25 Amfleet II cars in the 28000 series, that were converted from Amfleet II lounge cars, beginning in 2006 and 2007. They have table seating for 49. I derived this information from the web site "On Track On Line", a very good source of Amtrak roster information.

The Diner-lites have a food prep area and counter in the center of the car, similar in appearance to any Amfleet snack bar. The differance is the additional capability (via convection oven, I believe) to re-heat pre-made meals. This allows Amtrak to provide dinner-type items on an expanded menu as well as the usual snack-bar fare. No real "cooking", however, is possible. Regular dining car tables occupy the rest of the space on both ends of the cars. 

My experience with this type of equipment was on the Cardinal. One end of the car was for table-waited dining with one server (and even table cloths, as I remember). The center food-prep/snack counter area was staffed by one. The other end of the car had tables ("lounge area") for pasengers, who bought the usual snack items at the counter. You can see that the "cook" could be very busy at times. After not too long of a wait, I ended up sitting in the "lounge" with a Pepsi, chips and my Amburger. I've always enjoy their burgers (and hot dogs), but maybe I'm just not very critical. I can't comment about the quality of the dinner items, but I do know that informed opinions vary (sometimes greatly).

On the Lake Shore they may use both ends of the car for full dining because of the higher patronage of that train and, hopefully, have more staff.


  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • 1 posts
Posted by FRANKLIN K WALD on Monday, April 24, 2017 10:53 PM

On a recent trip from Depew to Chicago on the Lake Shore, I had breakfast on a Diner-lite. I had french toast which tasted as if it had been pre-made and warmed (nuked) along with three slices of wafer thin bacon which had been nuked accompanied by a paper cup of coffee. There were  no table cloths, just paper sheets stacked on the table( use one, then throw away),as well as the Amtrak plastic plates and "silverware". My service attendant was great and very cheerful. It has been quite a while since I last ate in a diner on Amtrak, and the meal was a real letdown, however this is  the Republican Amtrak, still running on duct tape and a prayer.

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