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.
"When [NARP] comes to Washington, you help embolden us in our efforts to continue the progress for passenger rail. And not just on the Northeast Corridor. All over America! High-speed rail, passenger rail is coming to America, thanks to a lot of your efforts! We’re partners in this. ... You are the ones that are going to make this happen. Do not be dissuaded by the naysayers. There are thousands of people all over America who are for passenger rail and you represent the best of what America is about!"
Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Department of Transportation
2012 NARP Spring Council Meeting