Long-Distance Trains: No Longer Special?
I’ve always wondered: Is it possible that after a long-distance train completes its run, all those disposable plastic plates and cups and glasses that were used in the dining car might actually cost more than what Amtrak would have to pay for someone to wash real china?
It’s my understanding that there is now only one employee in charge of the diner/lounge on the City of New Orleans, effectively guaranteeing very slow service to all passengers dining there. (I’ll be aboard train 58 in a week and will report here if that is still the case.)
It’s a very nice touch to find a small bottle of chilled champagne waiting for you when you board . . . or to wake up and find that a copy of USA Today was slipped under the door of your roomette in the wee hours.
As I write this, a mug of coffee is sitting on a coaster decorated with the Coast Starlight logo, a gift I found in my roomette on a ride up to Seattle at least a dozen years ago.
I’m leaving tomorrow to attend the NARP meetings in Denver, plus a couple of additional stops. By the time I return home, I will have spent five nights aboard six trains and had more than a dozen meals in Amtrak dining cars. The menu will be virtually identical in every one of them.
From my personal observations, many sleeping car passengers are beginning to notice these and other examples of Amtrak’s cost-cutting. For them, a long-distance train is no longer a special and memorable experience. The trip was OK, they’ll say, and they had a nice time. But once is enough.
That’s not good.