As Amtrak drops dining cars, here’s where fine dining still rides on the rails
USA Today | September 27, 2019
Amtrak is moving away from traditional meal service next week on several long-distance trains, replacing cooked-to-order meals with prepackaged fare.
Rail travel enthusiasts lamented the cost-saving move, but they may have alternatives that offer better food, service and scenery.
Starting Tuesday, Amtrak will replace dining cars on most trains in the eastern half of the country, including the routes from New York to Chicago and Florida and from Chicago to New Orleans, with what it calls “flexible dining service.”
Most of Amtrak’s long-distance trains west of Chicago and New Orleans will retain their traditional dining car service.
Amtrak cites changing consumer preferences for the move, but for years, it has faced criticism for the cost of its food service, particularly from Capitol Hill. Amtrak depends on lawmakers to renew its annual operating subsidy.
In contrast, dinner trains across the country serve a fine-dining experience that replicates what once was a showpiece of the golden age of rail travel, often aboard rail cars from the first half of the 20th century.
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