'Lake Shore Limited' to temporarily lose dining cars

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Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited pulls into downtown Chicago on Monday, July 25, with two Amfleet II diner-lounge cars in the consist. Recently discovered structural problems forced Amtrak to remove heritage diners, ones built in the 1940s and 1950s, and reassign structurally OK diners from certain trains, including the Lake Shore.
Bob Johnston
CHICAGO — Amtrak is removing heritage dining cars from the daily Chicago to New York Lake Shore Limited to help it deal with a shortage of the classic passenger cars. The passenger railroad began withdrawing dining cars in June because of structural issues.

Amtrak managers are temporarily replacing the cars with Amfleet II diner lounges until diners on order from CAF USA arrive on the property. Managers expect six of the new cars to complete testing on the Northeast Corridor in the coming months.

Amtrak managers tell the National Association of Railroad Passengers that they chose the Chicago-New York overnight train to take the temporary service downgrade because the westbound train only serves dinner and breakfast, and the eastbound Lake Shore just offers breakfast and lunch.

This leaves the New York-Miami Silver Meteor and the New York-New Orleans Crescent as the last Amtrak trains with heritage dining cars. Both of those trains serve up to four meals on each trip and require four trainsets.

The hand-me-down heritage dining cars were all built between 1948 and 1957 and are expensive to rebuild.

Because Amfleet II cars only have microwave and convection ovens instead of a full kitchen with a grill and steam tables, the Lake Shore menu now mirrors what passengers get on the tri-weekly Cardinal, which has been without a dining car for more than a decade.

Amtrak officials tell Trains News Wire that full service dining cars will return to the Lake Shore and other single-level long-distance trains — some which currently don’t have them — but the type of service provided is likely to vary by train.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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