“Contemporary” is OUT! “Traditional” is BACK!

Amtrak has announced that the traditional dining car service is going to be restored on Western trains. Rather than paraphrase, I will reproduce the message received today from the Rail Passengers Association. There is no doubt in my mind that RPA  played a significant role in this development. If you are not a member, please consider joining. Thank you!

Amtrak’s announcement on restoring traditional dining to the Western trains beginning June 23rd is a great first step, which the Rail Passengers Association applauds. Our dining-centered advocacy efforts don’t cease because of this move and there’s still a lot to do. But I also want us to make sure we celebrate the wins associated with this announcement:
A redesigned menu featuring chef-prepared meals for breakfast, lunch and a three-course dinner. The Association received a lot of feedback on the food quality when chefs stopped executing on-board meals. We have been very vocal with Amtrak on the need for the return of chefs to improve the customer on-board experience. Folks, this also means the return of Railroad French Toast with FRESH, not canned, whipped cream.

Table service in the Dining Car with glassware, cutlery and white linen tablecloths. The introduction of the contemporary menu ushered in the disposable tableware which was a recycling nightmare. The Association expressed our displeasure with the resulting amount of waste. The return of reusable items – glassware, cutlery and linens — is a more environmentally friendly approach.
Café service updates. The Café menu should be updated this summer adding a few more fresh selections, and a variety of meals, snack, and beverages for purchase. While the announcement didn’t include Coach passengers gaining access to the dining car, updating and expanding Café car options is a good first start while we wait for Eastern trains’ dining-car service to return.