About Amtrak Dining!

How does the song go?

East is East and West is West
and the wrong one I have chose . . .

If you’re planning an overnight train ride and you’re ready to pay extra for a sleeping car, may I suggest that you stick to trains running west of the Mississippi River. Significant improvements have been made in the dining car menu on those trains.

There’s Amtrak’s “signature” steak, a chicken dish, a fish offering (I’m not a fish eater, but I think it’s salmon), and there’s a pasta dish.. They’ll start you with an appetizer and there are one or two nice desserts.

Furthermore, your first glass of wine or beer is on the house.

In stark contrast, there are the meals served to sleeping car passengers on trains operating east of Chicago, including the Florida trains. For appropriate descriptors of those culinary offerings, the cost of which is included in your fare, any number of words leap to mind: awful . . . vile . . . inedible.

There are dozens more derogatory words clamoring for my attention, all of which are attempting to describe how truly terrible these meals are. The various dishes are prepared ahead of time— frozen, stored, then trotted out, nuked and presented to sleeping car passengers.

Discerning veteran rail travelers purchase individual items from the Lounge Car instead and, in so doing, spurn food being served in the Dining Car . . . food they have already paid for when they bought their ticket in the sleeper. And if that isn’t an indictment of the food offered on Amtrak’s eastern trains, I don’t know what is!

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Just Released!

A New Book by

Fifty stories from life and 350,000 miles of train travel.

  • Across the U.S. and Canada by train.   
  • London to Paris at 187 mph.      

  • An unexpected performance of Cats in Mongolia.
  • Goose bumps on a warm night in Red Square.
  • Spotting wild camels in the Australian outback.
  • Finding real cowboys in Hungary.

Now available in Kindle and paperback editions from Amazon.



This new book by Jim Loomis is a quick and easy read, full of interesting information about Hawaii that most people don’t know and are surprised to learn:

• There were actually two attacks by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor during World War Two

• There were real cowboys working on ranches in Hawaii *before* there were cowboys in Texas.

• Outdoor advertising (billboards) has been illegal in Hawaii for 100 years.

$6.95 per copy6
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All Aboard: The Complete North American Train Travel Guide

Fifty stories drawn from 300,000 miles of train travel. The latest version of Jim Loomis's acclaimed All Aboard: The Complete North American Train Travel Guide (4th Edition, 2015) is available in stores and online in both printed and electronic formats.
Chicago Review Press, 4th edition (Jan 2015)

Available in four formats:
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ISBN 9781569761823

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