Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak sleepers’

Amtrak Sleeper Passengers Can Pre-Select Meals

October 1, 2020

Amtrak has begun giving sleeping car passengers the ability to choose their meals in advance of travel.

The option is now available for those riding the Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, and Lake Shore Limited.

Passengers will be sent an email informing them of the option as well as offering an opportunity to view menus before selecting their meals.

Amtrak expects the ability to pre-select meals to be extended to the Silver Star and Silver Meteor in the coming weeks.

The meals on all of those trains are prepared off the train and heated onboard in a microwave oven.

Sleeping car passengers can have their meals delivered to their rooms or eat in a dining car reserved for the use of sleeping class passengers.

Amtrak currently only prepares meals onboard the Auto Train, having suspended the practice for Western long-distance trains during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the passenger carrier has said the suspension of on-board food preparation for Western long-distance trains is temporary and a notice on the carrier’s website indicated that full-serving dining on those trains is suspended through Dec. 15.

Your Sleeping Car is Waiting For You

October 25, 2019

Railroads have been operating sleeping cars since the 19th century and the sleeper is most associated with overnight train travel.

If you look at the total number trains that Amtrak operates daily, only a relatively small percentage have sleeping cars.

Once widely known as Pullmans, sleeping cars and dining cars are the glamour experiences of rail travel.

They also can be quite costly. If you want to travel by sleeper between Chicago and Cleveland the least expensive room will cost you $184 compared to the cheapest coach ticket of $59.

But there is something about the sleeping car experience, about being able to close the door and feeling like you have the train to yourself, and blocking out the rest of the world as you watch the countryside roll past your window.

Shown is one of two Viewliner sleepers in the New York section of the Lake Shore Limited at Chicago Union Station.

Amtrak Holding BOGO Sleeper Sale

June 5, 2019

Amtrak has announced a buy one, get one sale on sleeping car roomettes and bedrooms on selected routes including the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited.

Tickets must be purchased between June 4 and 10, and travel must take place between Aug. 1, 2019, and March 21, 2020.

Amtrak said the fare is available on all trains with sleeping cars except the Auto Train.

The full fare adult and traveling companion must travel together on the same reservation.

Other terms and conditions include no changes to a trip itinerary once travel has begun and a 25 percent cancellation fee will be imposed on all cancellations.

Reservations must be canceled at least 15 days before travel and reservations canceled after that will receive a non-refundale eVoucher.

There are no blackout dates, but space may not be available on all trains at all times.

Amtrak Ending Full-Service Dining Service on Capitol Limited, Lake Shore Limited in Favor of Cold Meals

April 20, 2018

Amtrak is ending full-service dining car service on the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited.

In a news release posted on its website, the passenger carrier said that effective June 1 it will begin offering sleeping car passengers on the two trains what it termed “contemporary and fresh dining choices.”

That means cold meals delivered to the passenger’s room or consumed at a table in a lounge car.

Trains magazine said Amtrak did not respond to question about whether hot meals would be offered on either train, but a separate service advisory indicated that café car fare will continue to be available, some of which is heated in a microwave oven.

The news release said the service is intended to replace traditional dining-car service.

Meals will be delivered to the trains just before they depart their end terminals. The cost of these meals will continue to be included in the ticket price of a sleeping car room.

Among the mean choices, the news release, said are chilled beef tenderloin, vegan wrap, chicken Caesar salad and turkey club sandwich.

Breakfast options will include assorted breakfast breads with butter, cream cheese and strawberry jam; Greek yogurt and sliced seasonal fresh fruit.

A Kosher meal will be available with advanced notice.

Passengers will receive unlimited soft beverages; a complimentary serving of beer, wine or a mixed drink; and an amenity kit.

Previously, sleeping car passengers wanting an alcoholic beverage had to pay for it.

“Our continued success depends on increasing customer satisfaction while becoming more efficient,” said Bob Dorsch, Amtrak’s vice president of its long distance service line, said in the news release.

The service advisory said that after boarding, sleeping car attendants will continue the standard procedure of asking passengers to select a preferred time for dining with reservations available in 15-minute increments.

Tables in sleeper lounge and café/lounge cars will be first come, first serve for seating and there will be no at-table dining service.

Sleeping car passengers will also be offered complimentary morning coffee, chilled water and juices, in-room meal service, turn-down service for their beds, and shower facilities.

They will be provided pre-boarding privileges and same-day access to lounges, such as Club Acela in the Northeast Corridor and the Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago.

Business class passengers on the Lake Shore Limited will be offered a la carte purchases from café/lounge menu, an alcoholic beverage and unlimited soft beverages, and a complimentary comfort kit.

Amtrak said coach passengers may purchase on a limited basis the pre-packaged meals served to sleeping car passengers. The existing café car menu will continue to be available to all passengers.

The news release also quoted Dorsch as saying, the meal service will continue to be refined and Amtrak looks forward to hearing from its customers about it.

What it all adds up to is that Amtrak is looking to cut costs by eliminating onboard kitchen staff and servers, and offering airline style meals that are provided by a catering company.

Trains magazine quoted the Rail Passengers Association as saying that the change reflects outside directives to the passenger carrier.

“It’s important to remember that this is simply an outcropping of the congressional mandate to eliminate losses on food and beverage service,” said James A. Zumwalt, director of policy research at RPA.

Zumwalt said the new meal policy “contradicts other successful models such as in the cruise industry, and proves unpopular with passengers. The mandate prevents best practices and should be removed.”

Once Upon a Time Aboard Amtrak

January 22, 2018

It used to be that Amtrak tried to please sleeping car passengers with small touches.

Sitting on a shelf to my left as I write this is the Capitol Limited commemorative glass mug that I received aboard that train.

I have in my camera bag a small travel bag of about, oh, 5 inches in width that I also once got while riding in a sleeper that I now use to hold my lens cleaning supplies.

Then there were such things as route guides, individual route schedules, a newspaper in the morning, small chocolate mints and even a personal greeting from your car attendant.

This image made aboard the Lake Shore Limited upon leaving Chicago in June 2010. I have not ridden in an Amtrak sleeper for three years but from what I hear small touches such as these are gone.

Amtrak Trial Includes No Meals With Sleeper Fare

April 22, 2015

In what may be a precursor of things to come, Amtrak said it will conduct a trial period of selling sleeping car accommodations that do not include meals.

Between July 1, 2015, and Jan. 31, 2016, the New York-Miami Silver Star will carry a café-lounge rather than a full-service diner.

Amtrak said sleeping class fares on Nos. 91 and 92 will be 25 and 28 percent lower for Viewliner bedrooms and roomettes, respectively.

“Customers have been clear they want more options,” said Mark Murphy, Amtrak’s senior vice president and general manager responsible for the long-distance trains. “From this summer through early next year, passengers will be able to opt for different service levels between our two daily trains to Orlando and Miami.”

Murphy was referring to how those who travel between New York and Miami aboard the Silver Meteor will still have full-service dining and meals included in the price of sleeping class fares.

For several years Amtrak has included meals in the price of a sleeping car ticket on all long-distance trains.