Grumble, Grumble, Grumble.
As the author of a book on train travel and the guy behind this blog, I get emails from people on a whole variety of subjects, although most have to do with travel and specifically train travel.
Now there is nothing scientific about this—there are simply way too few individuals expressing opinions to draw any meaningful conclusions—but it does appear that most passengers dislike the food service on the long-distance trains.
I do find it interesting that most of the criticism seems to be aimed at the food itself, whereas I’m most upset that Amtrak’s “contemporary dining” will mean, as a practical matter, the end of the traditional “communal dining”. . . and that, in my opinion, is an even bigger loss.
And, speaking of “upset”, I received an email from someone about to take their first solo long-distance train trip. They had booked a Superliner roomette for their journey and had been assured by the person at Amtrak Reservations that she would be able to have both medium-sized bags with her in the roomette throughout the journey.
Yes, I suppose that’s possible in theory, but it would be a miserable trip, constantly having to maneuver around the luggage. And it’s upsetting that a first-time traveler got bad advice from Amtrak! I’m going to guess that this lady wound up speaking to someone in an outside call center who has never been on a train, let alone spent the night in a Superliner roomette.
But some bean counter determined that contracting out some of the reservations business would reduce costs. Haven’t we been down this road several times already?
I agree that having medium-sized luggage in a roomette is not a good idea. I had to maneuver around my bags in my roomette on my way from California to Charleston, WV, in Fall 2018. Amtrak had stopped baggage claim services in Charleston, and I was afraid I might not get my luggage from the baggage car when I got off the train. I put my bags on the seats and slept on the top bunk. Bad idea. The top mattress is thin, and I did not get much sleep at all. It also wasn’t fun climbing up and down to use my toilet at night.