TrainFood

Page: 1234 > Showing page 1 of 4
Author
BT
Filet Mignon
  • Total Posts : 3589
  • Joined: 2004/07/03 13:19:00
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Status: offline
2005/01/12 03:27:16 (permalink)

TrainFood

I’ve just returned from a trip from Tucson to Florida and back, via New Orleans, on AMTRAK’s Sunset Limited. I thought those of you who have not traveled by train might be interested in the food. In the past, different AMTRAK trains have had different menus that included some specialties of the areas they pass through. I’m not sure if this is still the case as I was on only the one route. The food on this train (considered one of AMTRAK’s more Spartan runs) I’d rate acceptable but not much more. It’s maybe on a par with a decent family dining restaurant chain.
Breakfast offerings were the usual suspects: eggs cooked your way, pretty good pancakes and French toast, cereal (oatmeal, grits or assorted cold cereals), fresh fruit, yogurt, bacon, and sausage. The accompanying coffee was quite good (I chose decaf).
The lunch menu included hamburger (with or without cheese--somewhat dry, but not bad when doused as I like to do with lots of mayo and ketchup), a quite good tuna sandwich, tasty but dry jambalaya (this, I assume, being the regional choice), a veggie burger and some other options I can’t recall.
Dinner choices included a pretty darned good steak (NY strip on the eastbound train, T-bone on the westbound--cooked medium rare as I asked), a dry salmon steak, penne with Alfredo sauce, excellent braised short ribs, and baked half chicken. Veggies available included mashed or baked potato (very good), broccoli, corn kernels, and rice. Desserts were excellent including killer chocolate cake and good ice cream sundaes.
All meals are included with a sleeping car reservation. Wine and beer are available but cost extra (hard liquor is available in the “lounge car” but not the dining car). Soft drinks, coffee and tea (iced or hot) come with all meals.
#1

107 Replies Related Threads

    The Travelin Man
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3947
    • Joined: 2003/03/25 02:02:00
    • Location: Central FL
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 09:41:07 (permalink)
    BT,

    As a frequent flier, I have noticed a severe drop off in the quantity and quality of food on airlines. I am going to assume that this was not your first train trip, so I would ask how this food compared to what you had experienced prior. One reason that I think AMTRAK is more inclined to offer solid food choices (if not "roadfood quality") is that the cost of their tickets has not plummetted the way airline tickets have. Would you agree?

    Steve
    #2
    BT
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3589
    • Joined: 2004/07/03 13:19:00
    • Location: San Francisco, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 10:57:20 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by stevekoe

    BT,

    As a frequent flier, I have noticed a severe drop off in the quantity and quality of food on airlines. I am going to assume that this was not your first train trip, so I would ask how this food compared to what you had experienced prior. One reason that I think AMTRAK is more inclined to offer solid food choices (if not "roadfood quality") is that the cost of their tickets has not plummetted the way airline tickets have. Would you agree?

    Steve


    Well, AMTRAK loses gobs of money with the fares the way they are--and they aren't really cheap unless you travel ONLY by coach. I gotta sleep, so I get a sleeper and pay the price. The food is about the same as it has been for years though the choices seem to be narrowing. Trains have a reputation for good food and AMTRAK has always seemed to be trying hard to sustain that as a marketing tool.
    #3
    Michael Hoffman
    Double-chop Porterhouse
    • Total Posts : 23297
    • Joined: 2000/07/01 08:52:00
    • Location: Gahanna, OH
    • Status: online
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 11:30:44 (permalink)
    My introduction to corned beef hash came courtesy of the Pennsylvania Railroad aboard the Southerner from New Orleans to New York. The hash was made with big chunks of corned beef, onions and potatoes -- all cooked till crisp -- and served with poached eggs on top. That was heaven, and it began a love affair that continues to this day.
    #4
    The Travelin Man
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3947
    • Joined: 2003/03/25 02:02:00
    • Location: Central FL
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 11:40:58 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BT

    quote:
    Originally posted by stevekoe

    BT,

    As a frequent flier, I have noticed a severe drop off in the quantity and quality of food on airlines. I am going to assume that this was not your first train trip, so I would ask how this food compared to what you had experienced prior. One reason that I think AMTRAK is more inclined to offer solid food choices (if not "roadfood quality") is that the cost of their tickets has not plummetted the way airline tickets have. Would you agree?

    Steve


    Well, AMTRAK loses gobs of money with the fares the way they are--and they aren't really cheap unless you travel ONLY by coach. I gotta sleep, so I get a sleeper and pay the price. The food is about the same as it has been for years though the choices seem to be narrowing. Trains have a reputation for good food and AMTRAK has always seemed to be trying hard to sustain that as a marketing tool.


    I am inclined to think that AMTRAK loses money because AIRLINE fares are the way they are, not because of their own fares. I think that direct competition for people willing to fly, most are going to choose planes because of the speed and the price. You can get almost anywhere in this country nowadays for about $250 r/t. AMTRAK cannot compete with that and make money. So, their market then becomes limited to people who will not fly -- and I just don't know if there are enough of them around.

    That said, I have always been fascinated by train travel and would love to do some sort of cross country trip on a train. So far, the cost has been somewhat prohibitive for me, but I will keep checking and hope to do it someday soon.

    Steve
    #5
    Lone Star
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1730
    • Joined: 2003/05/22 10:02:00
    • Location: Houston, TX
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 11:52:49 (permalink)
    I have always wanted to take a trip by train. How long does it take to get from AZ to FLA via train?

    This is how I would really like to travel:

    #6
    chezkatie
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1331
    • Joined: 2001/06/24 11:08:00
    • Location: Baltimore and Florida,
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 12:00:43 (permalink)
    We are looking forward to a short train trip this weekend........from Baltimore to NYC. The two year old is all excited about her first train ride. Unfortunately, we will have only a snack car so will pack a picnic breakfast of Scotch eggs and fresh fruit.
    #7
    tiki
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4140
    • Joined: 2003/07/07 18:31:00
    • Location: Rentiesville, OK
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 12:40:44 (permalink)
    LoneStar--Oakland Ca to Boston Ma by train is 4&1/2 days when we did it. two and a half Chico Ca to Dallas---just about exactly what it takes to drive it if you stay in hotels and sleep---but you DONT have to drive--and they have a lounge! and ice. Bring the same foods along you would on a car trip---breakfast on the train are usually good---table clouths--service-good coffee-dinners CNA be really good but are usually ok----MUCH better then anything i ever got on a plane!!! You can also save money on sleeping cabins if you get a Trais "Schedule" fo the rte---the big one that list EVERY town on the rte!--they have them---you can then buy tickets for coach in the daytimes when you dont NEED the bed--and get sleeper tickets only for times you do want the bed. Havent done this in a while--but havent heard you couldnt any more either. I bought sleeper tickets foam a town on the rte at about 8 pm to a town we would pass at about 8 am and get breakfast brought to the room at 7. It was cool--we left all our clouths in the baggage and carried a small knapsack with a days worth of clouths that we would swap at our luggage once a day for a another bag of clean,--which can be done btw--trains are fun! especially with NO KIDS!!!--but even with them---they can run around---and they LOVE to explore and mostAmtrac folks are REALLY good with them. I have folk singer friend who actually spent one year going up and down the west coast as entertainment on the traoh well--i wull shut up now---except to say that my fisrt train trip---honeymoon was great--and the food was awesome---had any earlybird dinner that we remember to this day---roast duck al orange--wild rice pilaf-steamed brocalli with Hollandaise-good coffee and strawberry shortcake made with freash in house maid sweet short-biscuits that was excellent!--and cheap too---$5.95---and 25cents extra for the shortcake with any meal!
    #8
    aleswench
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 686
    • Joined: 2004/02/18 10:19:00
    • Location: Franklin, NJ
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 12:46:53 (permalink)
    Thanks, Tiki, for that info on the sleeper cars. My parents refuse to fly and they do visit a dear friend in AZ once every couple of years or so. They take the train, but because of the expense only go coach. It's a pretty uncomfortable ride after a while. I'll look into purchasing the sleeper cars when needed and see if you can still do that. Thanks again!
    #9
    BT
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3589
    • Joined: 2004/07/03 13:19:00
    • Location: San Francisco, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 17:26:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by stevekoe



    I am inclined to think that AMTRAK loses money because AIRLINE fares are the way they are, not because of their own fares. I think that direct competition for people willing to fly, most are going to choose planes because of the speed and the price. You can get almost anywhere in this country nowadays for about $250 r/t. AMTRAK cannot compete with that and make money. So, their market then becomes limited to people who will not fly -- and I just don't know if there are enough of them around.

    That said, I have always been fascinated by train travel and would love to do some sort of cross country trip on a train. So far, the cost has been somewhat prohibitive for me, but I will keep checking and hope to do it someday soon.

    Steve


    I "will" fly--if I absolutely have to--but for me it is a scary, unpleasant experience which only got worse by the changes after 9/11. It's not something I want to do for fun and, being retired, saving time is not that important. On this trip, when I got to FL 12 hours late I know some of my family thought, once again, I was nuts. Then came the news around Christmas about all the fliers stranded around the MidWest and others whose luggage went missing for days (or forever). Actually, I didn't mind at all that rather than arriving in FL at 6:30 PM, I got there at around 7 AM the next morning after a very restful night's sleep on the train (in a sleeper, I sleep great on trains).

    If you want a long-distance train trip, much as I am thankful for AMTRAK, I'll suggest a consideration be given to Canada's ViaRail. The ride between Vancouver and Toronto is spectacular (through the Canadian Rockies, the northern plains and northwoods of Ontario), and uses refurbished old "stainless steel" cars bought from US railroads which used them in the "golden age"of passenger rail travel in the 40's and early 50's. The best US alternative is probably either the "Califonia Zephyr" between Chicago and San Francisco (they arrange the schedule to transit the Rockies and Sierra in the daytime and the boring scenery at night) or the "Coast Starlight" between Los Angeles and Seattle (free wine and cheese in the afternoon in the club car, great CA coastal and Cascade mountain scenery). Of course, you could do what I've done and take the train I just road, the "Sunset Limited" from FL to LA, then go to Seattle on the Starlight, on to Vancouver by what amounts to a commuter service in the northwest, then take ViaRail to Toronto, an available train connection to New York, and down the East Coast on the "Silver Star" back to FL, having circumnavigated the continent by train.

    PS--AMTRAK doesn't make money and never will. Niether do the airlines--or at least they wouldn't if the full costs of the FAA, airports and all the other requirements of plane passenger service were billed to them. AMTRAK has to pay for all of its facilites including use of stations and tracks and for "dispatching" by the freight railroads. It gets one large (and highly controversial) Federal subsidy every year--usually just a fraction of what it asks for and really needs to provide high quality service. The airlines get many forms of subsidy including several entire Federal agencies (FAA, ATSB, and now the "Homeland Security" screeners in airports) and the use of airport facilites for far less than those facilities really cost. And then, of course, there are the billions being "lent" to inevitably bankrupt large carriers like US Air and United.
    #10
    BT
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3589
    • Joined: 2004/07/03 13:19:00
    • Location: San Francisco, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 17:37:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Lone Star

    I have always wanted to take a trip by train. How long does it take to get from AZ to FLA via train?

    This is how I would really like to travel:




    The schedule calls for a morning departure on day 1, arrival in Florida in the evening of day 2, making the trip roughly 33 hours. But that particular route, the "Sunset Limited" is AMTRAK's worst for on-time service and the train commonly runs many, many hours late (on my recent trip, we were 12 hours late going east, 2 hours late going west). That is because of very heavy freight traffic (much of what we import from China--which these days means much of what we consume--comes through the Port of Long Beach and gets distributed around the country over these same tracks). Surprisingly, much of this track is single-tracked, "one lane" if you will, and when trains are coming from both directions, one of them has to pull over onto a siding and wait for the other to pass. These days, often the very long freight trains won't even fit onto the sidings, so the shorter AMTRAK trains end up pulling over--and sitting motionless--a lot. And this isn't helped by accusations by, among others, the Wall Street Journal, that the freight lines which own and manage these tracks--the Union Pacific and CSX--aren't very well run.

    Most other AMTRAK routes, especially those on the East Coast, do a lot better.
    #11
    BT
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3589
    • Joined: 2004/07/03 13:19:00
    • Location: San Francisco, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 17:39:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by chezkatie

    We are looking forward to a short train trip this weekend........from Baltimore to NYC. The two year old is all excited about her first train ride. Unfortunately, we will have only a snack car so will pack a picnic breakfast of Scotch eggs and fresh fruit.


    Frankly, I think packing a good "Roadfood" meal--such as the muffaletta I packed with me on leaving New Orleans--isn't a bad way to go. Even if you plan on having some meals in the dining car, it gives you options if you don't like what's on the menu.
    #12
    BT
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3589
    • Joined: 2004/07/03 13:19:00
    • Location: San Francisco, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 17:47:39 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by aleswench

    Thanks, Tiki, for that info on the sleeper cars. My parents refuse to fly and they do visit a dear friend in AZ once every couple of years or so. They take the train, but because of the expense only go coach. It's a pretty uncomfortable ride after a while. I'll look into purchasing the sleeper cars when needed and see if you can still do that. Thanks again!


    I'm pretty sure you can do this, but it works best if you only move once. For example, on my trip I could have got a sleeper only on the Tucson to New Orleans leg. Then gone coach New Orleans to FL which isn't supposed to include an overnight. But, if the train is very late and you do end up spending all or most of a second night on it, you are stuck--sitting upright in coach.

    One other thing. I think the sleeper fares are for the room, whether there are one person or more in it--so 2 people travelling in a sleeper might not be too unreasonable. It pays to explore the options. AMTRAK can be a little cagey about exactly what part of the fare is for what. It might pay to go through a good travel agent who can decipher their arcane price structure.
    #13
    aleswench
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 686
    • Joined: 2004/02/18 10:19:00
    • Location: Franklin, NJ
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 17:53:20 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BT

    quote:
    Originally posted by aleswench

    Thanks, Tiki, for that info on the sleeper cars. My parents refuse to fly and they do visit a dear friend in AZ once every couple of years or so. They take the train, but because of the expense only go coach. It's a pretty uncomfortable ride after a while. I'll look into purchasing the sleeper cars when needed and see if you can still do that. Thanks again!


    I'm pretty sure you can do this, but it works best if you only move once. For example, on my trip I could have got a sleeper only on the Tucson to New Orleans leg. Then gone coach New Orleans to FL which isn't supposed to include an overnight. But, if the train is very late and you do end up spending all or most of a second night on it, you are stuck--sitting upright in coach.

    One other thing. I think the sleeper fares are for the room, whether there are one person or more in it--so 2 people travelling in a sleeper might not be too unreasonable. It pays to explore the options. AMTRAK can be a little cagey about exactly what part of the fare is for what. It might pay to go through a good travel agent who can decipher their arcane price structure.


    Thank you very much for more great advice! You should be "dubbed" choo-choo Charlie instead of BT! What wonderful travels to read about and something to look forward to. I am actually now considering a train for our NJ to FLA trip - hadn't thought of that.
    #14
    rmcielwain
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 623
    • Joined: 2004/07/26 20:56:00
    • Location: Chipley, FL
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 19:41:37 (permalink)

    BT: On that schedule for the Sunset Limited going west, it takes four
    hours to get from Bay St. Louis, MS (5:18 AM) to New Orleans (9:30 AM);
    and they're less than 75 miles apart....
    #15
    BT
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3589
    • Joined: 2004/07/03 13:19:00
    • Location: San Francisco, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 19:52:39 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by rmcielwain


    BT: On that schedule for the Sunset Limited going west, it takes four
    hours to get from Bay St. Louis, MS (5:18 AM) to New Orleans (9:30 AM);
    and they're less than 75 miles apart....


    That's called in the biz "schedule padding". That's so when the train is 4 hours late getting to Bay St. Louis, it'll be only 2 hours late getting to NO (it does take some time to back into the station in NO).

    Check the sched in the other direction--the same distance takes 1 hour and 25 minutes.
    #16
    michaelgemmell
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 673
    • Joined: 2004/03/17 16:53:00
    • Location: San Francisco, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/12 20:06:49 (permalink)
    Last April I took the California Zephyr from Emeryville CA, the western terminus, to Galesburg IL, my home town, to visit relatives, and rode back home to SF with my cousin. Amtrak provices a nice bus that picks you up or drops you off at several locations in SF and takes you to/from Emeryville at no extra charge. Why should I fly into O'Hare in Chicago and have to rent a car and drive 4 hours to Galesburg when the Zephyr, just as in its original runs, stops at Galesburg? I especially enjoyed the brasied lamb shank I had the second dinner. No, by SF standards, the food isn't great, but it's good, and so is the service. Try Amtrak's website and enter several different possible days you might want to travel. I left CA on Easter Sunday and had a roommette, which meant, as BT says, all meals were included. I paid $311.10, but if I left the Thursday before, it would have cost about $625. My travel agent admits she doesn't know that much about Amtrak, so see what you can find out on your own, well in advance of your trip.

    Yes, Congress surely does complain about those miserly payments they make to Amtrak. They should shut up and write a check for the full amount Amtrak needs. This country was built by the railroads, and Amtrak is trying to preserve the wonder of traveling by rail. No, It isn't what it once was, but at least there's something left. Cruise ships are't like the "Mauretania" or the "Normandie," but it's better than nothing, isn't it? I remember my first trip on the Zephyr from Galesburg to Chicago in 1959. Amtrak is doing the best they can and deserve our support.
    #17
    harriet1954
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1208
    • Joined: 2003/03/29 18:24:00
    • Location: Edgewater Park, NJ
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/14 19:46:34 (permalink)
    This thread is interesting. I can't really remember the last time I've taken Amtrak, but my daughter has best friends who are triplets and who moved up to Johnstown, PA. Last Easter she rode up there with them, and took the train back to 30th Street Station in Philly. I was a nervous wreck the entire time, as she was only 15 at the time and had never travelled anyplace all by herself (awww!). Anyway, she called several times from her cellphone during the 6 hour trip, and I asked her if she would go into the dining car (I guess it was a snack car). She was actually afraid to get up, and had heard the food was "nasty" (I'll show her this thread to show that it's not). The triplets' mother had packed her two sandwiches anyway, so she ate those and I can't remember what she drank.

    She also took the Three Rivers back on the Sunday right before school started back this year after Christmas (January 2). This was absolutely the most expensive day she could have taken that train. When normally it's roughly 33.00 with the AAA discount, on that day it was $53 because of the holidays. Oh, well. This train actually started in Chicago (the one last Easter started in Pittsburgh) and she couldn't even put her suitcase in the overhead, it was so packed. She also didn't get up to eat and had the packed sandwiches once more. Maybe she'll change her mind next holiday.

    However, she loved the train experience both times, and this one was right on time; the one last Spring was about 45 minutes behind. I have met her both times in Philadelphia and we then take public transportation back here to South Jersey.

    I think I'd probably rather take the train or drive than fly in the future, unless I have to.
    #18
    BT
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3589
    • Joined: 2004/07/03 13:19:00
    • Location: San Francisco, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/14 20:01:46 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by shaynas_mom

    This thread is interesting. I can't really remember the last time I've taken Amtrak, but my daughter has best friends who are triplets and who moved up to Johnstown, PA. Last Easter she rode up there with them, and took the train back to 30th Street Station in Philly. I was a nervous wreck the entire time, as she was only 15 at the time and had never travelled anyplace all by herself (awww!). Anyway, she called several times from her cellphone during the 6 hour trip, and I asked her if she would go into the dining car (I guess it was a snack car). She was actually afraid to get up, and had heard the food was "nasty" (I'll show her this thread to show that it's not). The triplets' mother had packed her two sandwiches anyway, so she ate those and I can't remember what she drank.

    She also took the Three Rivers back on the Sunday right before school started back this year after Christmas (January 2). This was absolutely the most expensive day she could have taken that train. When normally it's roughly 33.00 with the AAA discount, on that day it was $53 because of the holidays. Oh, well. This train actually started in Chicago (the one last Easter started in Pittsburgh) and she couldn't even put her suitcase in the overhead, it was so packed. She also didn't get up to eat and had the packed sandwiches once more. Maybe she'll change her mind next holiday.

    However, she loved the train experience both times, and this one was right on time; the one last Spring was about 45 minutes behind. I have met her both times in Philadelphia and we then take public transportation back here to South Jersey.

    I think I'd probably rather take the train or drive than fly in the future, unless I have to.



    Long distance trains have BOTH a snack car and a dining car. I rarely get anything more than a Coke or Lipton bottled iced tea from the snack car (soft drinks used to be free in the sleeping cars, but AMTRAK too is trying to save money), but I've seen some things being eaten there that qualified as "nasty". If you can afford it, I'd splurge and use the dining car.
    #19
    tiki
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4140
    • Joined: 2003/07/07 18:31:00
    • Location: Rentiesville, OK
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/14 20:13:26 (permalink)
    I agree with BT---the dining car food is SO much better then the snack car---pack your own snacks--and just buy drinks.
    #20
    BT
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3589
    • Joined: 2004/07/03 13:19:00
    • Location: San Francisco, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/19 12:30:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Peachpie9


    BT:

    I certainly hope that those responsible for traffic control of all these train machinations are drug tested regularly! Sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

    I wasn't aware that trains were responsible for so much traffic in the nation. In our area, those few tracks that used to trace across the land have mostly been torn up and turned into bike paths. Trains don't do much around here.

    My daughter is spending January and February in Europe, so I will be interested to hear her review of the train service there. In the early years, Europe's train system had much better planners and much better support than America's. And shorter routes that pay better, I suppose.

    Catherine


    Not all the tracks in your area (or, at least, your state) have been torn up. I've taken the "Empire Builder" from Seattle to Chicago with a stop in Sandpoint, Idaho. This, like nearly all the other AMTRAK routes, uses freight railroad track and I'll bet plenty of freight gets hauled across this part of the country (lumber and maybe coal, especially).

    I've also taken plenty of trains in Europe and they were very efficient. You are right that part of the reason is the smaller distances--which makes the time required to take a train city center to city center very competitive with flying and landing in an outlying airport somewhere. But another reason that European train service is efficient and pleasant is that, like much else there (including air service), it's heavily subsidized by the governments.
    #21
    kland01s
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 2835
    • Joined: 2003/03/14 07:01:00
    • Location: Fox River Valley, IL
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/19 13:33:07 (permalink)
    I took the train from Chicago to Lamy, New Mexico (Lamy is the closest stop near Santa Fe)and really enjoyed the experience. I remember the food being pretty good in the dining car but the neat thing I liked was that the seating was "assigned" somewhat in that if there are just 2 of you you can expect to have 2 other people at your table. It was fun meeting people that way! We sat once with a young marine going home on leave and another time with a man from England who was on his way to see the Grand Canyon!
    #22
    BT
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3589
    • Joined: 2004/07/03 13:19:00
    • Location: San Francisco, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/20 19:47:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Peachpie9

    quote:
    Originally posted by BT

    quote:
    Originally posted by Peachpie9


    BT:

    I certainly hope that those responsible for traffic control of all these train machinations are drug tested regularly! Sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

    I wasn't aware that trains were responsible for so much traffic in the nation. In our area, those few tracks that used to trace across the land have mostly been torn up and turned into bike paths. Trains don't do much around here.

    My daughter is spending January and February in Europe, so I will be interested to hear her review of the train service there. In the early years, Europe's train system had much better planners and much better support than America's. And shorter routes that pay better, I suppose.

    Catherine


    Not all the tracks in your area (or, at least, your state) have been torn up. I've taken the "Empire Builder" from Seattle to Chicago with a stop in Sandpoint, Idaho. This, like nearly all the other AMTRAK routes, uses freight railroad track and I'll bet plenty of freight gets hauled across this part of the country (lumber and maybe coal, especially).

    I've also taken plenty of trains in Europe and they were very efficient. You are right that part of the reason is the smaller distances--which makes the time required to take a train city center to city center very competitive with flying and landing in an outlying airport somewhere. But another reason that European train service is efficient and pleasant is that, like much else there (including air service), it's heavily subsidized by the governments.



    BT:

    This whole train thing is fascinating. You obviously know your transportation of choice very well. Are you interested in model trains at all? I love how the model ones are often replicas of historic cars from the golden age of trains.

    Isn't Sandpoint beautiful? It's on the shores of Pend Oreille Lake, where I used to take my kids camping and cook them one-eyed-jacks over the campfire. A really good ski area, Schweitzer Mountain, is just about 8 miles up the road--STRAIGHT up! I've spent some happy times in and around (and above) Sandpoint.

    If you ever come through again, let me know and I will treat you to lunch or dinner. I read of your gastronomic adventure on your recent trip to New Orleans, so I know I am being foolhardy here. I wouldn't bring you to Moscow--you would scoff. But I THINK I could make you happy in Spokane, WA, which is MUCH closer to Sandpoint anyway. There are some good restaurants there.

    I am currently going to Spokane once a week to take my Mom to medical appointments, and we have dinner afterward. We tend to eat at the same familiar places, so I have resolved to try a new restaurant this Friday, in honor of Roadfood. I will do my homework in case you or any other Roadfoodie comes by.

    Thanks for all the great information on trains and places to dine.

    Catherine


    I wouldn't scoff. I spend my winters these days in a place in Arizona that's probably smaller than Moscow and I'm nearly certain has less in the way of dining options.
    #23
    sizz
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1690
    • Joined: 2004/02/12 00:12:00
    • Location: San Jose, CA
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/21 12:44:11 (permalink)
    Awesome thread............ makes my head spin with the romance of rail travel. Thanks to all you contributors. ....................
    #24
    mayor al
    Fire Safety Admin
    • Total Posts : 15787
    • Joined: 2002/08/20 22:32:00
    • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/21 13:50:38 (permalink)
    My dad was a telegrapher and station "helper" as a kid in the small town in Ohio where he grew up. Some of his love for the Rails must have carried over in the genes to me

    As a kid I rode trains each year between SoCal and my grandparents in Michigan. As I got older my parents allowed me to work out a trip that would let me see "other" parts of the country rather than the LA-Chicago-Detroit straight line. One summer that meant the Sunset Limited to New Orleans, then Chatanooga, Cincinnati to Detroit. The next it was the the Zephyr from Chicago to SF and the Coast Daylight down to L A. This was all Pre-Amtrak travel. In the early 60's when I came home from my S E Asia Tour ('63)I rode the El Capitan ( my usual summer choice). The train was a shell of what I had enjoyed just a few years early. The demise of Passenger service prior to the creation of Amtrak is/was a sad era in American Transportation History.

    Since that time I have developed a burning passion for recording my memories of the rails on film. My nickname "Mayor" came about due to my hanging out in the abandoned rail "stations" around the Desert area of SoCal. The buildings are long gone, but in many places the foundations or other remanents are still visible. I never cease to be surprised at the finds we make when visiting a site where the tracks divided or a siding branched off to go to a mine or other remote location. Tracing those historic times and shooting some modern photos when i can can be a real time consuming hobby. Our roadtrips West...when we are following the "direct route" tend to stick to the old S F tracks from Texas west. We love to turn on the scanner to hear the trains crossing the various signal points and trouble-detectors, Plus that tells us when a train is coming...or sneaking up on us from behind. I must have a couple of thousand train shots in my photo library now, and with the new digital that will increase this summer I am sure.

    Many of our summer trips center around following those other lines around the country. The old D T & I (Henry Ford's railroad) in Ohio has some neat places to shoot along the rails....New Mexico Arizona and California- both North and South have tons of locations where one can sit and watch the magic of the rails in action, while enjoying that Take-out chicken or BBQ or sandwiches. When we talk train food now, we are usually referring to the stuff we take with us on a train-chasing or photgraphing expeditions.

    Last year the CP ran a Nostalgia-special to the Kentucky Derby. A 1950's Locomotive and passenger cars full of Celebs coming to Louisville. As it passed thru Bedford Indiana, one of the few towns where trains still mix with car traffic on the streets, I shot the photo below. This is how I enjoy the rails these days. !!

    #25
    chezkatie
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1331
    • Joined: 2001/06/24 11:08:00
    • Location: Baltimore and Florida,
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/21 13:51:29 (permalink)
    BT,

    Have you ever taken any train trips in Canada? One wonderful trip that I have taken there was the Polar Bear Express from Cochrane, Ontario to Moosenee on the Hudson River. It was so much fun that I do not remember the food, if any. I do remember having Artic Char at the hotel for dinner that night and it was really outstanding.

    Another train trip that I loved was the train from Winnipeg to Churchill (I think it was about 1000 miles). This was a wonderful chance to see lots of roadless land.........unreal and loads of beautiful polar bears. I remember that we were more than happy with all our meals on this expedition.

    Oh, then there was the train that we took from Sept Illes, Quebec to Wabush-Labrador City. This train even stopped at fishing lodges where the cooks were waiting for the train so that they could pick up food supplies.

    Train trips are a great adventure and I admire the knowledge that you have about them.
    #26
    zataar
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1443
    • Joined: 2004/04/05 15:08:00
    • Location: kansas city, MO
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/21 14:15:21 (permalink)
    This thread is most enjoyable. I used to take the train to Los Angeles often. The food was very enjoyable. The plates had Kachina designs on them and the dining car was in desert colors. Do you still fill out your own order with a tiny wooden pencil? I always met very interesting people. Most of the time would be spent talking about food and restaurants. The bartenders in the bar cars were always friendly and one even made a whiskey sour and gave it to me at no charge because I'd never had one before. And when finding out that I was from Kansas City they would always asked me if I liked Bryants or Gates the best. Train travel has always appealed to me more than flying.
    #27
    tmiles
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 2803
    • Joined: 2004/10/01 15:59:00
    • Location: Millbury, MA
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/21 16:19:57 (permalink)
    As a travel agent in my day job, I sell a little Amtrak. It is as other posters have said, expensive if you do the sleeper car option. If you want to experience a train (vice just get someplace) there are other options such as The American Orient Express, with it's beautiful 50 year old fully restored cars and white tablecloth dining, or the Montana Daylight that gives you great views during the day and stops at a hotel for the night. Trains in Europe or Japan as you often hear are excellent, but the taxpayers support them more than we do for Amtrak. I doubt that congress is willing to support a really great passenger train system in the USA anytime soon.
    #28
    1bbqboy
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 5911
    • Joined: 2000/11/20 16:52:00
    • Location: Rogue Valley
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/21 16:20:10 (permalink)
    As recounted somewhere on these forums, my family all worked for the Santa Fe. Free Pass!
    Rode many trains as a kid, especially being allowed to ride to Chicago alone to see my sister when I was 14. Riding the Katy in about 60 or 61 down through Kansas and Oklahoma to Austin stands out.
    In '92 we took the Pioneer from Portland back to Omaha and KC. It was a tremendous experience, as it was a small train and the crew fell in love with our then baby daughter. Great food. Went from Portland to Pendleton and Ontario, then through Idaho to meet up with the Main Line on the north side of the Great Salt Lake. Absolutely stunning scenery, through canyons and mountains not touched by roads; alas, killed by budget cuts.
    #29
    1bbqboy
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 5911
    • Joined: 2000/11/20 16:52:00
    • Location: Rogue Valley
    • Status: offline
    RE: TrainFood 2005/01/21 16:46:15 (permalink)
    http://www.lcbo.net/traingo.html
    This train has run the last couple of years and will again, if you are history fans coming to Oregon.
    Bill
    PS: you can ride these trains along the Lewis & Clark route also.
    http://lewisandclarktrail.com/trailadventures/tours/amtrak.htm
    #30
    Page: 1234 > Showing page 1 of 4
    Jump to:
    © 2019 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.5