Meal changes in store for 'Auto Train' passengers; possibly other Eastern Amtrak trains

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Superliner lounge used as coach diner awaits dinner guests on southbound Auto Train in 2015. Breakfast and dinner have been included in the fare price for all passengers since Amtrak started its version in 1983.
Bob Johnston
WASHINGTON — Complimentary dinners are on their way out for Auto Train coach passengers. Food prepared onboard may be, as well, on other Amtrak trains in the Eastern U.S.

Starting Jan. 15, 2020, the Auto Train’s coach travelers will choose between purchasing meals, snacks, and beverages on board, or buying from food trucks at the stations in Lorton, Va., or Sanford, Fla., “to offer a variety of dining options before their journey begins,” according to an Amtrak news release.

Continental breakfasts will continue to be served to all travelers before arrival, and sleeping car passengers’ dinners will still be served in their own dining car, with “a new menu and the addition of complementary wine to the dinner service.”

Amtrak representative Kimberly Woods tells Trains that the railroad is still working on menus for Auto Train passengers in the sleeping cars.

The announcement says the company intends to expand sleeper accommodations on each train and customers “will notice enhancements such as upgraded towels and bed linens and other pleasantries in each room.”

As for other potential changes, the Rail Passengers Association’s Hotline reported last week that beginning with Amtrak’s new fiscal year on Oct, 1, the New York-Miami Silver Meteor and New York-New Orleans Crescent would switch to the same pre-prepared and boxed meals that were introduced in June 2018 as a replacement for items prepared onboard the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited.

Originally limited to cold food, the menu was later modified to include one hot-meal option.

On both trains, dining cars were restricted to sleeping car passengers, with coach passengers limited to cafe car meals.

An Amtrak representative declined to confirm whether those changes would take place.

Amtrak did reveal, however that Auto Train coach passengers would no longer have separate dining and lounge/cafe cars.

Amtrak prohibits outside food to be consumed in Amtrak dining and cafe cars, so passengers eating from food trucks will likely have to dine in their seats.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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