The Ins and Outs of CVSR Food Service

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Relaxing in the lounge section of the Saint Lucie Sound while having a continental breakfast. The car also has sleeping car accommodations, but no CVSR trains operate overnight.

You won’t find a dining car on a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train in the traditional sense.

The railroad does not employ or have volunteers who freshly prepare meals on board the train.

Yet there are four cars on the CVSR National Park Scenic that are devoted to food service. The quality of the fare you enjoy depends on how much you are willing to pay.

If you want to ride in observation-lounge car Saint Lucie Sound, you will be treated to a continental breakfast.

Board at Independence and ride to Akron and back and you’ll be served breakfast. Board at Akron and ride to Independence and back and you’ll be served brunch.

And if you’re riding in the coaches and having hunger pangs, you can go to the concession car and buy something to eat. The offerings there are similar to what you’d find in an Amtrak food service car on a Midwest corridor train.

However, the CVSR concession car offers more souvenirs for sale than does Amtrak.

The meals served in the “dining cars” are prepared off the train by a catering company.

Dining along the Cuyahoga is not inexpensive. Brunch from Akron costs $32 per person and features a choice of three entrees: grilled pork, vegetable primavera, or hunter’s style chicken. The meat dishes come with a side of mashed potatoes and vegetables.

If you are bringing a child, a ticket costs $27 and features a choice of mac and cheese, or chicken tenders.

Breakfast costs $30 per person for adults and $25 for a child. The CVSR website doesn’t say what is served other than it is a four-course meal.

Although not mentioned on the website, I was told by a trainman that alcoholic beverages are available during meals. Presumably, those cost extra.

The CVSR offers beer tasting (Ales on Rails) and wine tasting trains (Grape Express). Those events are not held aboard the Scenic, instead¬†operating as “extras” once a month. Each is devoted to a particular type of beer or wine.

The cost of a ticket for the Ales on Rails is $50 for a coach seat, $70 for a seat at a one of the table cars used for breakfast and brunch trains and $94 for a seat in the lounge car Paul Revere.

Tickets for the wine tasting trains are slightly more expensive at $60, $80 and $96.

The departures for both types of alcohol trains alternate by month between Independence and Akron. The alcohol trains tend to operate at night so you may not see much scenery unless y are riding during the summer.

Passengers get five samples of beer or wine plus appetizers.

I’ve never ridden one of the food service cars or purchased any food items aboard a CVSR train.

Most of the images shown with this post were made in Akron during the station stop while the concession car photo was made during an Akron Railroad Club outing on the CVSR in March 2012.

I was able to get make a few images from the vestibules of the food service cars with the permission of a CVSR trainman.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Snacks and sandwiches are for sale in the concession car.

Snacks and sandwiches are for sale in the CVSR concession car.

These two ladies noticed me making photographs on the platform at Akron and began waving.

These two ladies noticed me making photographs on the platform at Akron and began waving without being prompted.

The car that serves brunch.

The car that serves brunch upon departure from Akron.

Inside the car that serves breakfast.

Inside the car that serves breakfast upon departure from Rockside Road station in Independence.

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