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Changes Ahead for Amtrak's Silver Star?

07 Apr 2015 9:47 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

UPDATE 4/11/2015:

Yesterday's NARP Hotline indicated that Amtrak has said that the Silver Star will retain its sleeping car service but changes to food service are on the way. Amtrak will announce these changes on Monday, 4/13/2015.

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Not that we believe in rumors, but there are several interesting ones afloat about possible changes in the amenities offered onboard Amtrak's New York-Florida Silver Star.

Amtrak's East Coast rolling stock is in transition, with new Viewliner II baggage cars, sleeping cars and dining cars on the way (some of the baggage cars are already in service). This will of course enable Amtrak to retire some older equipment, including a few dining cars dating to the late 1940s. 

Amtrak is also under extreme pressure to cut food service costs, in part because of severe criticism from Florida Congressman John Mica. 

So when sleeping car space became un-bookable on the Silver Star recently (for trips beginning July 1, 2015 and beyond; Amtrak.com says "None Left" in the Premium/Sleeping Car room column when a booking is attempted) the rumor mills began to run wild.

What's next for the Star? Amtrak told Trains Magazine's Bob Johnston that it was an "equipment manipulation" matter. Fair enough. 

But if you want to follow the discussion along, have a look at these threads on popular Amtrak forums:

http://discuss.amtraktrains.com/index.php?/topic/63630-silver-sleepers-sold-out/

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=159220

Now, we're inclined to take Amtrak at its word--that this is a temporary issue regarding equipment availability. Delays in the delivery of Viewliner II cars must be making for scheduling nightmares. However, forgive us for wondering just a bit with each passing day. 

We hope Amtrak clarifies this issue soon.

--Jackson McQuigg


Comments

  • 10 Apr 2015 11:41 AM | Anonymous
    Scuttlebutt is that Amtrak will make an announcement on Mon., 4/13 along the lines of "Nothing could be finer, than to run without a diner, in the morning." Presumably, sleeper fares will be adjusted accordingly.
    Link  •  Reply
    • 10 Apr 2015 8:54 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)
      That's what we've heard, although this may be the "diner lite" concept come to life again.

      Longtime Amtrak riders perhaps remember the old Tampa section of the northbound Silver Star and its lounge car-served tray meals at dinnertime. We'll see if the equivalent returns...
      Link  •  Reply
    • 14 Apr 2015 5:14 PM | Anonymous
      I'll side with Mike on this one; see other posted comments.
      Link  •  Reply
  • 14 Apr 2015 5:26 PM | Anonymous
    Now you'll have to bring your own food along to cook over the open campfire on the roof aka Polar Express Hobo Willie. Cafe car fare is out of sight. Check and compare prices at your Local Fast Food venue or the local 7/11. Congressman Mica must really be running the "show" in Washington, DC.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 23 Apr 2015 4:04 AM | Anonymous member
    I'll be going to NC and back on the Silver Star just before the diner service is changed, and tehn making another trip later this year again in October, so I'll get a good chance to compare.
    Link  •  Reply
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