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Dining car full; running out of everything in the snack car.

Dining car full; running out of everything in the snack car.

Old Jul 15, 19, 7:27 pm
  #1  
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Dining car full; running out of everything in the snack car.

i boarded the pacific starlight just now from PDX going to Seattle. The train was supposed to leave at 420 but was late due to a track issue. I went to the dining car immediately on boarding and was told that they were completely full for the next ~4 hours until Seattle.

is it normal to have no food options ona. Train like this? They have the snack car but It seems like, you know, boarding at dinner time should at least give a chance for dinner
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Old Jul 15, 19, 7:37 pm
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Running out of everything in the snack car

I went to the snack car today to scrounge whatever would tide me over to the destination. They had run out of any sort of non-macro style beer, vegetarian anything and most of everything else. Clearly itís not the staffs fault but the response I was given is we load up at la and itís not like we can just get more when we stop.

If only this mode of transit had the storage space of a train or stopped at various points on the track every 30 minutes. I mean fixing this problem would just be a logistical nightmare. Perhaps another government agency like NASA could help.
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Old Jul 15, 19, 10:50 pm
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Originally Posted by ou81two View Post
I went to the snack car today to scrounge whatever would tide me over to the destination. They had run out of any sort of non-macro style beer, vegetarian anything and most of everything else. Clearly it’s not the staffs fault but the response I was given is we load up at la and it’s not like we can just get more when we stop.

If only this mode of transit had the storage space of a train or stopped at various points on the track every 30 minutes. I mean fixing this problem would just be a logistical nightmare. Perhaps another government agency like NASA could help.
It’s difficult to respond because we don’t know the routing, time or segment, but I’ll venture a guess that they could restock an major stations if management wanted to.

Last edited by JDiver; Aug 2, 19 at 4:51 pm
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Old Jul 16, 19, 5:52 am
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Originally Posted by ou81two View Post
I went to the snack car today to scrounge whatever would tide me over to the destination. They had run out of any sort of non-macro style beer, vegetarian anything and most of everything else. Clearly itís not the staffs fault but the response I was given is we load up at la and itís not like we can just get more when we stop.

If only this mode of transit had the storage space of a train or stopped at various points on the track every 30 minutes. I mean fixing this problem would just be a logistical nightmare. Perhaps another government agency like NASA could help.
Which train were you on?

Bob H
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Old Jul 16, 19, 10:52 am
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Originally Posted by ou81two View Post
i boarded the pacific starlight just now from PDX going to Seattle. The train was supposed to leave at 420 but was late due to a track issue. I went to the dining car immediately on boarding and was told that they were completely full for the next ~4 hours until Seattle.

is it normal to have no food options ona. Train like this? They have the snack car but It seems like, you know, boarding at dinner time should at least give a chance for dinner
Let me know how I'm doing at parsing this. I assume you boarded the Coast Starlight yesterday at Portland to go to Seattle. It was scheduled to depart Portland at 1556 but actually departed at 1813. On boarding, you attempted to make a reservation in the diner and were turned away, because it was full until closing time.

Are you saying that the dining car personnel should have turned away passengers already on board in order to save a place for you, just in case you wanted to eat in the diner? I assume not, but some people feel they are that entitled. Probably you are saying that the train should have sufficient capacity to offer the opportunity to eat in the diner to someone who was scheduled to be on board during meal time. I agree with that sentiment (and your indignation), and I encourage you to write to your representatives in the Senate and the House and ask them to fund new and more equipment and more personnel for Amtrak, so that you and others might avoid this situation in the future. It appears that you were a victim of Amtrak's success.

You started a thread about the "snack car" running out of desirable food. Again it appears that you were a victim of Amtrak's success. (In both cases, you also could have been the victim of Amtrak's management, but the solution in any case to write to your representatives and ask for more money for Amtrak, and perhaps better leadership.)

In answer to your question about whether it is normal to run out of food, my experience is that it is all too normal. What to do? You guessed it. Write a letter to your representatives in Congress. I sincerely encourage you to do so. Complaining on FlyerTalk will not solve the problem.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 2:45 pm
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Moderator note

As it appears that the OP posted to separate threads about the same Amtrak dining experience, I've combined them into the single thread so that all discussion could be centralized. Ocn Vw 1K, Senior Moderator.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 9:32 am
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This happens... next time you're going from Portland to Seattle, consider booking one of the Cascades trains. They originate in Portland or Eugene and should be freshly stocked with food. The Coast Starlight runs from Los Angeles to Seattle and takes reservations for dinner prior to arrival into Portland. Unfortunately for you this means Amtrak loses out on some dining car revenue.

Please write in to congress and to Amtrak management. I've been on far too many long distance trains that are "sold out" for reservations in the diner, yet Amtrak did away with dining cars on the East Coast-Chicago trains. Amtrak needs to be adding Dining cars/seats and not removing them.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by hi55us View Post
This happens... next time you're going from Portland to Seattle, consider booking one of the Cascades trains. They originate in Portland or Eugene and should be freshly stocked with food. The Coast Starlight runs from Los Angeles to Seattle and takes reservations for dinner prior to arrival into Portland. Unfortunately for you this means Amtrak loses out on some dining car revenue.

.....

.
+1

Plus, given the distance from LA, the Cascades are more likely to be on time !!!

Bob H
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Old Jul 22, 19, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by BobH View Post
Which train were you on?

Bob H
Pacific Starlight - Portland to Seattle. Scheduled to leave at 420
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Old Jul 27, 19, 7:54 pm
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As a point of comparison, trains in Slovakia/Czech Republic offer a full prepared-on-board menu cooked in a real kitchen on board... no microwave in sight. All meals served with real cutlery on plates with cloth napkins, and reasonable prices - even on the snack car side (the cars are usually split half and half full service dining on one side, counter service snacks on the other). Many of the dining cars are privately contracted so they operate with the mindset of an actual restaurant instead of a government commissary.

If they can make it work, why are we stuck with the same microwave DiGiorno pizza on the Amtrak menu for 10 years?
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Old Aug 4, 19, 8:47 am
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ATLMike, that sounds great. I rode trains quite a bit while visiting India. Rail travel in India is a national pastime and quite an experience. Between stations, a parade of vendors would roam the cars selling everything from veg/non-veg biryani to fried snacks to sodas. The best was chai for 2 rupees.
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