I’ve written here on several occasions about the serious need Amtrak has for new equipment. Some time back, the “Heritage” era dining cars were taken out of service because of constant problems with every conceivable kind of breakdown … from purely mechanical to electrical to whatever.
However, those classic dining cars have been overhauled and renovated and are now being put back into service, initially on the Lake Shore Limited, running between Chicago and either New York or Boston.
The eastbound Lake Shore divides at Albany, New York, with one section heading down along the Hudson River into New York City, and another staying on an easterly course and terminating in Boston. That scenario is reversed on the westbound trip. An educated guess is that the newly renovated dining cars will stay with the New York City train, so Boston passengers will be without those diners for the 5½-hour run between Boston and Albany. Unfortunately, that’s right through the dinner hour on the eastbound train. Not to worry: Amtrak does provide a “cold meal service” for sleeping car passengers on that train. I’ll let you know if that changes once all the renovated dining cars are in service.
It’s not perfect, but since dining car meals are – and have always been – the experience rail passengers most remember and most enjoy, the return of these refurbished dining cars is good news indeed.