Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak dining cars’

Amtrak Introduces New Dining Car Fare

June 14, 2017

New menus have been introduced to the dining cars of most of Amtrak’s long-distance trains.

Returning to the breakfast menu is French toast while new selections include chicken, bacon & cheddar quesadillas, and Thai-spiced pulled coconut pork sliders at lunch. New dinner items include seared shrimp, and chicken and bacon fettucine carbonara.

Dinner entrees have been expanded to include six distinct offerings, in addition to a new field and sea combo that includes the new shrimp offering paired with the existing flat iron steak.

Advertisements

The Diner Looks Inviting

April 21, 2017

You’ve just spent your first night on the train as part of a three-day journey. It’s early morning and some breakfast would sure taste good along with a hot beverage.

The dining car is right next to your sleeping car. You get up, get dressed and head for the diner. Breakfast is just on the other side of that door.

Time for Breakfast on No. 29

January 10, 2017

dayone005

The morning ritual is playing out again aboard Amtrak train No. 29. The dining car on the westbound Capitol Limited is full as passengers have breakfast while chatting and watching the northern Indiana countryside roll by.

What will it be today? Pancakes? French toast? Eggs and bacon? The chef’s special?

Most of those having breakfast are sleeper class passengers for whom meals are included in their ticket. If they boarded in Washington, this will be their second meal aboard No. 29.

Another Viewliner II Diner Expected in March

January 7, 2017

The National Association of Railroad Passengers reported this week that Amtrak officials have said that the first Viewliner II diner has been performing satisfactorily in its trial revenue service.

Amtrak logoThe diner, built by CAF USA in Elmira, New York, has been operating on the New York-Miami Silver Meteor since late November.

Amtrak will place another Viewliner II diner in service in March with the remaining 23 diners that Amtrak ordered being delivered by late spring.

The diners are slated to be assigned to eastern long-distance trains. NARP said no date has been set for restoration of full dining service to the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited.

The Viewliner diners also are slated to be assigned to the New York-New Orleans Crescent.

Once the diners are delivered, CAF will focus on finishing the baggage-dorm cars and sleepers that Amtrak ordered.

NARP noted that Amtrak said adding the baggage-dorm cars to the Chicago-New York Cardinal will enable it make more sleeper space available to the public.

At present, the on-board crew of Nos. 50 and 51 are housed in revenue space and the availability of rooms on the Cardinal for the public is tight.

Amtrak’s Viewliner order was placed in 2010. When finished, CAF will have built 70 baggage cars, 25 diners, 10 baggage-dormitory cars and 25 sleepers.

Viewliner Diner in Revenue Service Testing

December 13, 2016

Revenue service testing began last week of the first Viewliner dining car built by CAF USA.

Amtrak logoNo. 68001, the Annapolis, ran northbound from Miami to New York on the Silver Meteor on Dec. 5.

The testing is part of an Amtrak acceptance program for new cars. If No. 68001 passes the testing program, Amtrak will begin taking delivery of additional Viewliners in January.

Amtrak has one other Viewliner diner, No. 8400, the Indianapolis, which was a prototype diner built in 1988.

The Viewliner diners will be assigned to Eastern single-level long-distance train. Amtrak has ordered 25 Viewliner diners from CAF.

Viewliner Diner Training May Start Soon

November 25, 2016

Amtrak’s first Viewliner II diner will be ready for crew training once it completes a testing program in Florida.

Amtrak logoThe dining car is at the Hialeah Maintenance Facility near Miami.

Amtrak has ordered 25 Viewliner II diners for assignment to single-level long-distance trains, including the Lake Shore Limited and the Cardinal.

The cars were originally scheduled to be delivered two years ago but have been delayed by production issues.

The Viewliner diners will replace Heritage Fleet dining cars, some of which have in the past several months been replaced by Amfleet food service cars.

Only the New York-New Orleans Crescent and the New York-Miami Silver Meteor are operating with Heritage dining cars.

The testing is being done at Hialeah because it maintains single-level long-distance equipment.

Viewliner II Diner Released for Testing

November 5, 2016

The first new Viewliner II dining car left the CAF USA assembly plant in Elmira, New York, this week for testing on Amtrak.

Amtrak logoThe car, No. 68001, was to be moved to Hialeah, Floridia, near Miami on the Silver Meteor.

Known as Annapolis, the diner will under testing and inspections to ensure that there are no problems with the Viewliner diners.

The National Association of Railroad Passengers cited an Amtrak source as saying the passenger carrier is confident that the problems that have hindered production of the Viewliner II cars have been resolved.

Amtrak expects CAF to release cars at a rate of two or three per month and that all 25 dining cars being built will be delivered in the first half of 2017.

The next batch of Viewliners to be released will be sleepers.

Gone From the Lake Shore Limited

September 13, 2016

DayTen002-x

The summer of 2016 may be remembered by some as the time when the Lake Shore Limited lost its full-service dining cars.

After several of the Heritage fleet diners were sidelined with cracked frames, Amtrak assigned Amfleet food service cars to Nos. 48 and 49. It wasn’t the first time that has been done and Amtrak claims that full-service diners will return to the Lake Shore Limited once enough new Viewliner diners are built by CAF USA and placed into revenue service.

But that is for the future, which may not be until 2017. In the meantime, let’s take a look back at a time when the Lake Shore Limited still had full-service Heritage Fleet dining cars.

Shown is a Heritage Fleet diner on the westbound Lake Shore Limited in May 2014 as it makes its station stop in Cleveland. It’s still too early for breakfast so the diner is empty at this early hour.

Removal of Dining Cars From Lake Shore Limited Described by Amtrak as Temporary Measure

July 25, 2016

Amtrak has confirmed removing Heritage Fleet dining cars from the Lake Shore Limited and substituting Amfleet II café cars.

Although Amtrak said that table service on linen is being provided, one report from the train posted on a railfan chat list indicated that the silverware was plastic and the meals were pre-pared and merely heated by an attendant.

Amtrak logoAs a safety concern, the Heritage diners, which were built in the streamliner era following World War II, were sidelined due to cracks in their frames.

The National Association of Railroad Passengers reported that the removal of diners from Nos. 48/49 is temporary until new Viewliner diners enter service.

The Amfleet café cars are featuring a menu similar to that of the Cardinal and City of New Orleans, trains that have modified dining service.

NARP said it was told by Amtrak that repairing the cracks would require a major effort to repair. Currently, Amtrak has 12 Heritage diners in service.

The Lake Shore Limited was chosen to lose its Heritage diners because it has the fewest full meal periods of Amtrak’s single-level long- distance trains.

Viewliner dining cars are part of an order of new equipment being built for Amtrak by CAF in Elmira, New York.

Amtrak officials said the Viewliner diners are now in production and CAF is addressing a “punch list” of items that Amtrak has created.

NARP said Amtrak officials expect the new Viewliner diners to enter revenue service as early as late summer, which it defined as August or early September.

NARP said Amtrak has assured the passenger rail advocacy group that once new diners are available, a more conventional dining service would return to the Lake Shore Limited.

New Viewliner sleepers are expected to begin leaving the CAF plant during the fall.

A review of Amtrak’s CAF Viewliner order conducted by the Government Accountability Office found that the cars are three years overdue.

Amtrak ordered 130 cars for $300 million in 2010 and thus far the only cars to be placed into service have been baggage cars.

The order included 25 dining cars. The GAO report said the order won’t likely be completed until at least 2017.

Lake Shore Limited Dining Service Modified

July 20, 2016

Online reports indicate that a shortage of Amtrak Heritage Fleet dining cars has led to the institution of a modified dining service on the Lake Shore Limited.

Food service will be provided in two Amfleet II lounge cars with one having been modified to serve as a diner.

Amtrak Lake Shore LimitedA report on TrainOrders.com showed photographs of a series of heritage dining cars sitting in the coach yard in Chicago, reportedly bad ordered due to problems with the car frames.

The cars included No. 8502/8053 (ex-Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Silver Cuisine);  No. 8504/8052 (ex-CB&Q Silver Restaurant); No. 8551/8500/8051 (ex-CB&Q Silver Diner); No. 8552/8508/8047 (ex-Northern Pacific); and No. 8558/8381-2 (ex-Southern).

One poster said Amtrak had ceased making major repairs to the cars because they were expected to be retired upon being replaced by new Viewliner diners that were to be built by CAF. But production of the new cars has been delayed.

Another poster said that Amtrak has a fleet of 19 Heritage Fleet dining cars of which 11 are used at any given time.

That poster said Amtrak has 12 Heritage diners sitting in Chicago with cracks in their center sills.

Reportedly, of the eight Heritage diners still in service, four have been assigned to the New York-Miami Silver Meteor and four to the New York-New Orleans Crescent.

This is not the first time that the Lake Shore Limited has run with Amfleet lounges as dining cars.

Currently, the Lake Shore is operating between Chicago and New York with three sleepers and five coaches. For the remainder of the summer the Boston section continues to operate only between Boston and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

One of the Amfleet lounge cars will be used as a lounge and provide snack service.