New Dining Options Are Here
January 16, 2019
Amtrak Is Listening To Passenger Concerns
By Carolyn Cokley, Rail Passengers Association
As you all know, back on June 1, 2018, Amtrak launched contemporary, fresh dining choices for sleeping car customers on-board its Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited trains. On-board meal preparation was replaced with a small variety of fresh and ready-to-serve boxed meals. Let’s just say that the new menu has been met with very mixed reviews.
As Jim revealed to you all in last month’s Hotline, he and Sean met with the senior team at Amtrak working on customer-facing improvements and shared with them members’ desire for more and better food options. The meeting was very positive, and Amtrak revealed that many initiatives that would speak to member concerns were already in the pipeline. Rail Passengers Association received assurances that the long-term vision for the National Network is an improved service, “with more traditional dining options”. Here is the good news. A first step towards that goal has been realized. The new menu went live today and now includes a total of three hot lunch/dinner options, plus a hot breakfast item on the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited. Substantially improved Kosher meals are also included.
A new type of oven to replace the microwave has been installed. The oven is capable of cooking up to 24 meals simultaneously instead of just popping a single package into a microwave. Also, because it’s high-speed convection and not traditional microwave, the food will cook more evenly and taste better and will also improve service time.
Sleeping car customers can continue to be served in their Bedrooms or Roomettes or use a private area aboard these trains to consume meals. Lunch/dinner entrées include: Chicken Penne Alfredo, Beef Provencal, Asian Noodle Bowl, Antipasto Plate and a Children’s Meal.
The breakfast entrée options are deluxe continental breakfast items that include muffins, yogurt, fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs, cereal, oatmeal and now a hot breakfast sandwich.
Now, will this new, improved menu satisfy all of the people all of the time. No, but the big takeaway is that Amtrak is listening to us and they are working to address passenger concerns. And on any given day, this is progress. Let’s take the yes and keep it moving.
Once you have had the opportunity to partake in the new menu, please circle back and let us know what you think. I plan on traveling on the Capitol Limited next month and I look forward to trying out the new menu. I'll let you know what I think.
"The National Association of Railroad Passengers has done yeoman work over the years and in fact if it weren’t for NARP, I'd be surprised if Amtrak were still in possession of as a large a network as they have. So they've done good work, they're very good on the factual case."
Robert Gallamore, Director of Transportation Center at Northwestern University and former Federal Railroad Administration official, Director of Transportation Center at Northwestern University
November 17, 2005, on The Leonard Lopate Show (with guest host Chris Bannon), WNYC New York.