Boston to Chicago on the Lake Shore.
CHICAGO–The Amtrak employees working the Lake Shore Limited are not a cheerful bunch. They’re putting up a good front, but if you ask them about the changes being made, and they realize you know more than the average passenger, they loosen up.
Amtrak is planning to remove the dining cars from both the Capitol Limited and the Lake Shore Limited. Boxed meals delivered to your sleeping car accommodations is apparently the new plan.
One of the people working the dining car–yes, we had a diner on the train today–was very open. He’s been with Amtrak for more than 20 years and could very well be out of a job in the matter of a few weeks.
“Back when I was first hired,” he said. “they asked me if I wanted to be a car attendant or a waiter. I said ‘waiter’, but now it looks like that was the wrong decision.”
Of course they all know that this is not about boxed meals vs. dining car meals. This is about getting rid of good-paying union jobs with benefits and replacing them with contract employees who don’t even work for Amtrak.
That really sucks.
The Lake Shore was almost two hours late into Chicago today. Freight traffic, of course. We were pretty much on time until Elkhart, Indiana, where we stopped for quite a while, then crawled along well past South Bend. Of course, I really don’t know for sure where we fell behind schedule since there are almost no printed timetables available anymore. Ask a car attendant why that is and he or she will just roll their eyes and shrug.
And that really sucks, too.