News Wire: Cold-meal service coming to 'Capitol Limited,' 'Lake Shore Limited'

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Posted by ruderunner on Sunday, April 22, 2018 5:16 PM

this is interesting, I've not seen a thread or thread update about this  I did read the newswire article but for whatever reason I've not been able to read comments on newswire for a couple weeks.

It certainly does seem like florFlo government is against private party passenger trains.

Modeling the Cleveland and Pittsburgh during the PennCentral era starting on the Cleveland lakefront and ending in Mingo junction

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Posted by railfanjohn on Friday, April 27, 2018 10:43 PM

So if I understand all of this correctly - When I take the Capitol Limited in June;  Washington, DC to Chicago, IL (and return);  the train will not include a dining car?  I am booked in sleeper space so I will get a cold meal delivered to my room, which I can then take to a table in the lounge car (seating subject to availability - 1st come 1st accomodated) ?  Please explain to me how this will "enhance" my Amtrak experience?

 

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, April 28, 2018 7:54 AM

railfanjohn

So if I understand all of this correctly - When I take the Capitol Limited in June;  Washington, DC to Chicago, IL (and return);  the train will not include a dining car?  I am booked in sleeper space so I will get a cold meal delivered to my room, which I can then take to a table in the lounge car (seating subject to availability - 1st come 1st accomodated) ?  Please explain to me how this will "enhance" my Amtrak experience?

 

 

Perhaps Amtrak has redefined the word "enhance"? Or is someone at Amtrak so unlearned as to not have any idea as to the meaning of the word? 

I do not know of any word similar in form to "enhance" that means "reduce pleasure," but I am reminded of the fact that some people use the word "garnish" ("add to") when they mean "garnishee" (sequester part of someone eles's pay).

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 28, 2018 3:04 PM

Johnny, "garnishee" as a verb is, at best, a sturdy indefensible.  It's the noun for the person whose wage is garnished.  And we have too much using nouns as verbs in sloppy contemporary practice as it is.

A bit like that ridiculous line of dreck that came out of 'the Mac is not a typewriter' -- the idea that there are not two spaces separating sentences in 'desktop published' composition.  The wretched idea that the space between composed words is adjusted just like that between sentences not only makes a mockery out of esthetics, it makes it impossible to automate capitalization and punctuation in a straightforward way, especially if you are an iOS "engineer" trying to make text entry workable.

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, April 28, 2018 4:04 PM

Overmod

Johnny, "garnishee" as a verb is, at best, a sturdy indefensible.  It's the noun for the person whose wage is garnished.  And we have too much using nouns as verbs in sloppy contemporary practice as it is.

A bit like that ridiculous line of dreck that came out of 'the Mac is not a typewriter' -- the idea that there are not two spaces separating sentences in 'desktop published' composition.  The wretched idea that the space between composed words is adjusted just like that between sentences not only makes a mockery out of esthetics, it makes it impossible to automate capitalization and punctuation in a straightforward way, especially if you are an iOS "engineer" trying to make text entry workable.

 

Well, Webster's Third New International English Dictionary defends "garnishee" as a verb, meaning to attach part of a person's pay.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, April 28, 2018 4:46 PM

Deggesty

 

 
Overmod

Johnny, "garnishee" as a verb is, at best, a sturdy indefensible.  It's the noun for the person whose wage is garnished.  And we have too much using nouns as verbs in sloppy contemporary practice as it is.

A bit like that ridiculous line of dreck that came out of 'the Mac is not a typewriter' -- the idea that there are not two spaces separating sentences in 'desktop published' composition.  The wretched idea that the space between composed words is adjusted just like that between sentences not only makes a mockery out of esthetics, it makes it impossible to automate capitalization and punctuation in a straightforward way, especially if you are an iOS "engineer" trying to make text entry workable.

 

 

 

Well, Webster's Third New International English Dictionary defends "garnishee" as a verb, meaning to attach part of a person's pay.

 

 

According to the OED, you are both correct.  However, in law garnish is a verb, garnishee is a noun, as "a third party who is instructed by way of legal notice to surrender money to settle a debt or claim."  It can also be used as an adjective, as "a garnishee order."

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, April 28, 2018 5:30 PM

....and Johnny counters with the old 'iron skillet to the head' move.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 28, 2018 6:30 PM

Deggesty
Well, Webster's Third New International English Dictionary defends "garnishee" as a verb, meaning to attach part of a person's pay.

Yes, but (1) it's not the preferred verb; and (2) the OED makes the correct distinction -- they recognize the use as a verb, but note it's secondary.

This is one of those things like using 'gift' as a verb - you may find it in the dictionary as the rot spreads in the culture, but it will never be right.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, April 28, 2018 7:44 PM

Overmod recovers and gives an excellent counter. I declare a tie!

My wish is no one every suffers a garnishee and we all get great gifted gifts. 

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 28, 2018 8:11 PM

My wish is that no one ever suffers a garnishMENT and that we get great gifts that are not in the German sense of the word.

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, April 28, 2018 8:45 PM

Overmod

My wish is that no one ever suffers a garnishMENT and that we get great gifts that are not in the German sense of the word.

 

Ja, eine deutscher Gift ist nicht gut fuer den Leib.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, April 28, 2018 11:39 PM

In the spy world beware Russians bearing "Gifts"...it's their preferred method. 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, April 30, 2018 9:42 AM

Correctly, ein deutsches Gift.  

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Posted by samfp1943 on Monday, May 07, 2018 9:17 PM

railfanjohn said[in part]:"...I am booked in sleeper space so I will get a cold meal delivered to my room, which I can then take to a table in the lounge car (seating subject to availability - 1st come 1st accomodated)..."

 

Deggesty(Johnny) said[in part]:  "...Perhaps Amtrak has redefined the word "enhance"? Or is someone at Amtrak so unlearned as to not have any idea as to the meaning of the word?.."    

Johnny, You are being too kind!  Basicly, what that cold meal is, is just like in school; You got sent out the door to go to school with a sack lunch [PB&J sandwich(s?), and maybe, some chips?]           I am reminded of a plane ride my daughter took some time back. Her complaint was they only had botteled water to drink, and her sandwich had a full growth of some nasty looking mold on it.  She did not eat it, and left it in the overhead compartmen, in the Delta blanket....   The joys of modern Transport!  Zip it!

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by CPRcst on Monday, May 07, 2018 11:11 PM

PJS1, is Greyhound still around? In Canada First group revamped Greyhound by taking over the feeder lines and then reducing service to almost nothing, then withdrawing service. In most of Western Canada, except for major centres, it’s drive or stay home. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 6:30 AM

CPRcst
PJS1, is Greyhound still around? In Canada First group revamped Greyhound by taking over the feeder lines and then reducing service to almost nothing, then withdrawing service. In most of Western Canada, except for major centres, it’s drive or stay home. 

Greyhound still exists in the US.  I have seen their busses on my Interstate travels this year, however I have no idea what their route structure or service frequency is.

         

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 8:05 AM

Yes, as Balt says, Greyhound is still around. However, its routes are greatly reduced from what they were fifty years ago. There are many towns, including two in which I lived, that no longer have any intercity bus service--and the frequency of operation on existing routes is not anywhere close to what it was back then. 

To get to my college alumni gatherings, I take a bus from Charlottesville to Bristol (the train times in Roanoke are not convenient for me)--and there are only two buses a day each way. When I was in college, there were perhaps six buses a day each way.

 

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Posted by Railvt on Thursday, May 17, 2018 4:11 PM

Tilting at windmills, or perhaps hoping saner minds might reverse a very bad decision I issued the following Op Ed today to every newspaper still covering Travel and in a special send to the outlets along the LAKESHORE and CAPITOL LIMITED routes. Hopefully it will at least draw a contrast to the obfuscation about "New and Contemporary" cold boxed meals as First Class diner. A longer version is on my Facebook page if anyone is interested.

Amtrak degrades food service, says to sleeping car riders
"We're Making the Trains NOT Worth Riding Again!
 
Starting June 1, Amtrak’s LAKESHORE LIMITED (the only daily service from New York and Boston to Chicago) and its CAPITOL LIMITED (the only daily train from Washington to Chicago) will no longer offer First Class sleeping car passengers their currently included hot food choices!
 
Amtrak promises “New and Contemporary” dining instead: a “free” cold boxed sandwich or salad dinner, delivered to the passenger’s room. Breakfast will include one choice, cold breads and yogurt with sliced fruit.  No “Railroad French Toast” anymore! Sleeper passengers paying hundreds of dollars more than the coach fare will receive one free alcoholic beverage with their cold boxes, but that’s not much compensation.
 
When Amtrak was created in 1971, one of its first challenges was to recover from the terrible on-board service many railroads had provided in the late 1960s. Faced with the financial loss of the mail contracts and competition from the interstate highways, carriers such as the Southern Pacific systematically degraded their remaining passenger trains using tactics which included removing the diner and lounge cars. The hope was this would so upset riders that they would cease to travel by train, and the carrier could get federal permission to end service. A notorious example was the train called the SUNSET LIMITED, which from 1968-1970 offered only vending machine food on a two-day run!
 
Amtrak quickly restored proper food and beverage offerings, advertising “We’re Making the Trains Worth Riding Again”. Unfortunately, Amtrak recently has begun to copy these 1960s tactics, degrading the on-board experience which will discourage ridership.
 
Why is this occurring?  Amtrak is under pressure from Congress to eliminate food service losses, but this approach is unreasonable and unnecessary. Do the cruise lines or airlines attempt to make money on food? Of course not; these costs are built into their fares.  Amtrak has been doing this as well.  Railroad diners never made money; they attracted business. Amtrak will keep lounge cars on both trains. Coach passengers may buy hot items like burgers and pizza. However, these items will NOT be offered as included meal options for sleeper patrons who have been paying much more for a ticket which historically included hot meals in the dining car!  
 
Amtrak reduces food service staff to two employees under this experiment, but it already offers complete hot meals on the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, CARDINAL and ACELA with only two employees. How?  Pre-plated catered meals are brought to full temperature on-board and served in the diner. Why not on the Chicago trains?
 
“Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it”. Amtrak knows what happened in the past when the railroads systematically cut back amenities. Ridership collapsed. Disgraceful on-board service to sleeping car passengers (as planned) will lead to major ridership declines. For FY2018, Amtrak just received the largest Congressional appropriation for its National Network in history ($1.3 billion). It currently is taking delivery of 25 new dining cars for its eastern network. The innovative kitchens in these cars easily can provide hot meal service with no dedicated chef.  As many millions of Amtrak passengers can recall “dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer…”.  Cold sandwiches just don’t make the grade!
 
Carl H. Fowler
 

Carl Fowler is the retired President of Rail Travel Center/Rail Travel Adventures. He worked full time for over 35 years selling rail travel worldwide, including Amtrak. Mr. Fowler is a Vice-Chair of the Rail Passenger Association/NARP. These are his personal views.

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Posted by PJS1 on Thursday, May 17, 2018 8:57 PM

CPRcst

PJS1, is Greyhound still around? 

Greyhound is very much alive in Texas. 

As an example, Greyhound has 16 schedules a day between Dallas and Houston, with stops at the metropolises of Corsicana, Buffalo, and Conroe before arriving in Houston.

Between San Antonio and Brownsville, which is deep in the Rio Grande Valley, where I live, it has 14 offerings a day, with stops in the Valley's large population centers of Alice, McAllen, and Harlingen.  

The best example is the service between Dallas and San Antonio.  Greyhound has 22 daily schedules between DFW and the Alamo City.  Running time with intermediate stops is about 5 1/2 hours.  Comparatively, the running time of the Texas Eagle between Dallas and San Antonio is 10 hours five minutes. 

Why do people take the train between the two cities.  Fares.  To be competitive, Amtrak undercuts the fares on Greyhound to the extent possible, although it has a real challenge on its hands with Megabus. 

Even a high school drop out can figure out the best option in this scenario.

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Friday, May 18, 2018 7:51 AM

Carl, you make some great points. Many forget why and under what circumstances amtrak was created.

We have been fighting for funding for Amtrak since it's inception. I believe some sort of middle ground will be found. A diner and hot food is non negotiable on a long distance train.

Until it is, the good fight has to continue. Thanks for being part of the battle.

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Posted by Railvt on Friday, May 18, 2018 8:09 AM

Thanks. I'm trying, I suppose, to shame the Anderson management into rethinking a very foolis action. They already have options that get them the staff cost savings they want without this degree of service degradation.

A 2 person crew services both the diner (Cross Country Cafe) and the lounge car on the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS (no attendent in the lounge--you buy your drinks/snacks in the diner) and that's the model for the CAPITOL LIMITED. The same is true on the single-level CARDINAL, 2 staff providing dining and drink service from a "diner-lite" car and a Business Class/combined louge adjacent with service from the diner--the model for the LAKESHORE.

That Amtrak did not do this on the LSL/CL sadly vindicates my point that they knew exactly what they were doing and went ahead anyway.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, May 18, 2018 8:17 AM

Railvt
That Amtrak did not do this on the LSL/CL sadly vindicates my point that they knew exactly what they were doing and went ahead anyway.

It is more difficult to do away with a train if you satisfy the customers that use it and by word of mouth advertising get their friends and acquaintances to also use the service.

Reduction of services was one of the tactics the railroads did to discourage use of their passenger trains and create Amtrak in the first place.

         

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Posted by PJS1 on Friday, May 18, 2018 1:37 PM

Railvt

Thanks. I'm trying, I suppose, to shame the Anderson management into rethinking a very foolis action........A 2 person crew services both the diner (Cross Country Cafe) and the lounge car on the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS.......

 

Executive management pays attention to performance numbers.  If ridership on the long-distance trains declines significantly following the change in meal options, and the decline is attributable to the change, Mr. Anderson and his executive team may pay attention.  Otherwise, they are likely to ignore the pleadings of small number of vocal advocates.

The only long-distance train that I ride is the Texas Eagle.  And then only between Dallas and San Antonio.  Normally it has a Cross Country Cafe dining car and a lounge car.  The dining car has a chef, which given the duties is a bit of a stretch, and two servers.  The lounge car has an attendant in the lower level who sells food and beverages.  

On occasion Amtrak substitutes a second dining car on the Eagle in place of the lounge car that has been pulled off for whatever reason.  When this occurs, the lounge car attendant opens the buffet in the substituted Cross-County Cafe car and sells the eats and beverages that are normally available in the lounge car.  The number of food and beverage servers is the same.  

So, do the changes announced for the LSL and the CL mean that the dining cars will be removed from those trains beginning on June 1?  

If a sit-down dining car experience is non-negotiable - don't count on it, the patrons should pay the fully allocated cost of their meals. 

A case can be made for subsidizing basic passenger train services in high density corridors or to rural communities that don't have another viable option.  But using taxpayer monies to subsidize an Amtrak passenger's meals is not warranted. 

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, May 18, 2018 1:49 PM

PJS1
Executive management pays attention to performance numbers.  If ridership on the long-distance trains declines significantly following the removal of the dining cars, and the decline is attributable to the change, Mr. Anderson and his executive team may pay attention.  Otherwise, they are likely to ignore the pleadings of small albeit vocal advocates.

If ridership is down - Anderson will be delighted and begin the next phases of his plan to kill Amtrak.

         

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, May 18, 2018 1:57 PM

I wonder if patronage of the Cardinal will increase since it still offers hot meals?

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, May 18, 2018 3:47 PM

Deggesty
I wonder if paronage of the Cardinal will increase since it still offers hot meals?

I suspect if the Cardinal's patronage would increase, Anderson would see about increasing the journey by 12 hours or so as well as ditching food service.

         

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Posted by PJS1 on Friday, May 18, 2018 4:32 PM

Here is the question that I would like someone(s) to address.  Maybe it has been covered, but if so I missed it.

Do the meal changes announced for sleeping car passengers on the Lake Shore Limited and the Capitol Limited mean the dining cars will be removed from those trains beginning on June 1?  

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Posted by GeoffS on Saturday, May 19, 2018 7:02 AM

Does anyone remember when the word "Limited" as part of a train

name said that train was special.  Now it means limited food and

a cheap blanket!!

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, May 19, 2018 6:17 PM

A view from the Cresent

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/amtrak-crescent-new-orleans/index.html

 

The food is pretty tasty -- rail cuisine doesn't suffer the same tinkering that goes into preparing food that will be served at 35,000 feet. The train is spacious; there's a dining car, a lounge and you can walk around, recline, even lie flat.

         

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Posted by Railvt on Saturday, May 19, 2018 7:56 PM

They are not cutting fares, nor waiving cancellation penalties. 

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