News & Reviews News Wire Amtrak returns ‘traditional dining’ to Silver Meteor

Amtrak returns ‘traditional dining’ to Silver Meteor

By Trains Staff | June 27, 2023

| Last updated on February 4, 2024

Both New York-Florida trains now offer full dining car service, bringing total of long-distance trains with such service to eight

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A few people eating in dining car.
The evening meal period is winding down in the northbound Silver Star’s Viewliner II dining car on June 22, 2023. Both the Silver Star and Silver Meteor now offer “traditional dining.” Bob Johnston

WASHINGTON — “Traditional dining” — with chef-prepared meals, glassware and linen tablecloths, and new meal options — has returned to the Silver Meteor, Amtrak announced today.

The announcement means both New York-Florida long-distance trains now offer full traditional full dining-car service — albeit only for sleeping-car passengers — and formalizes the “pilot” of traditional dining car service that had been offered on the Silver Star since mid-March [see “Amtrak launches Silver Star traditional dining …,” Trains News Wire, March 15, 2023].

Photo of part of Amtrak dinner menu
The dinner menu on the Silver Star. Bob Johnston

Menu options will include Amtrak Signature Railroad French Toast or a three-egg omelette at breakfast; a Monte Cristo grilled sandwich, natural Angus burger, or vegan chili bowl at lunch; or Amtrak Signature Flat Iron Steak; Atlantic Salmon, or Rigatoni Bolognese for dinner. Meals are included in sleeping-car fares.

Information including the full menu is available here.

The two trains had seen full dining-car service replaced by “flexible dining” meal-in-a-bowl service in 2019. To that point, coach passengers could also purchase dining-car meals.

Café service, which is now the only onboard dining available to those in coach, also features an updated menu.

“We are making significant improvements throughout our network to create a modern and dynamic travel experience,” Fred Gazzolo, Amtrak vice president of product development, said in a press release. “Traveling by train offers a one-of-a-kind journey and the addition of this new service on two legacy routes is something we think our First Class customers will enjoy.”

The two Silver Service trains join Auto Train and five Western routes — the California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, and Sunset Limited — in offering traditional dining. The latter train also includes through service between San Antonio and Los Angeles for Texas Eagle passengers.

21 thoughts on “Amtrak returns ‘traditional dining’ to Silver Meteor

  1. Great!!! But I see no matter what you still won’t be able to get people to dress for dinner. Baseball caps, undershirts, shorts, and sneakers are still the norm.

  2. TYPO in the 2nd post Read The 1st!!

    Meanwhile the Texas Eagle, operating with no traditional dining or a sightseer lounge car, only one sleeping car that has to also accommodate OBS employees and only two coaches continues to suffer as a victim of a cost cutting management. When is Amtrak going to assure all their long haul customers they care about them?

  3. Meanwhile, the Texas Eagle, operating without no traditional dining or a sightseer lounge, just a single sleeping car and two coaches continues to be a victim of a cost cutting focused management. When is Amtrak going to ensure customers among all their long haul routes that they care about them?

  4. Regarding the consist of the Meteor now that full dining has returned: There are reports that the third sleeper has been dropped from the consist. Supposedly because Amtrak didn’t want to overload the dining car staff under the enhanced service with three sleeping cars worth of passengers.
    Yes let’s make the service even better but we will reduce the number of passengers who can access it (sarcasm).

  5. Paul Bunting; What is your version of “traditional attire the dining car”. The world has changed and casual is the norm, these days.

    1. Traditional attire on the Silver Meteor in the mid-1960’s was the men wore at least shirts with a collar and slacks, with coats and ties being common. The women wore dresses, skirts or dress slacks. Military were in mid-uniform, not full dress but not in the work uniforms they often wear today. I can’t recall seeing anyone in jeans in a dinner.

  6. Chris Thompson, With the on-time percentage very low for the Crescent. It could have been a “quick” turnaround for the equipment on that particular trip and probably some others in the past and coming up in the future. What was the weather like last week ? Sure has an influence as does NS RR.

    1. Lakeshore, Crescent, and the Texas Eagle should be routes included with this service. Not running the Texas Eagle with it is absolutely stupid since every other western long haul route has it and since passengers on the thru cars from the Texas Eagle get to enjoy it between San Antonio and LA on the Sunset Limited. The Crescent like the Eagle is one night plus an all day ride, which makes for a very long journey. The Lakeshore, while one of the shortest routes also connects two of the largest cities. It also is one of the highest revenue generating lines in the East.

  7. It’s a step in the right direction for sure but as others have already mentioned the dining car should also be open to the coach passengers. On another note I watched the northbound Crescent pull into Hattiesburg last Thursday and the train was filthy. The windows were covered in dirt and dust and had to be almost impossible to see out. Absolutely no excuse for this as there is a wash rack in New Orleans. A big part of traveling by train is watching the world go by. You’d think Amtrak management would realize this.

  8. Unless the number of High-Speed Rail services increases, the Amtrak traditional dining-car service has a super good chance of surviving!

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

  9. Traditional dining car service has NOT returned until all passengers, first class and coach, are able to eat in the dining car.

  10. Yes, “traditional dining” returns but not traditional attire as illustrated by the slovenly dressed “Bevis and Butthead” couple at the table. They belong in the Am-cafe instead of a dining car. Tired of people disrespecting an establishment because they obviously don’t respect themselves and others.

    1. Amen. Right up until the very end, uniformed Southern Railway conductors and trainmen took their hats off when passing through the dining car.

  11. A typical Silver Meteor consist as of June 2023 is made up of:

    ACS-64 electric locomotive (New York–Washington D.C.)
    P42DC diesel-electric locomotive (Washington D.C.–Miami)
    P42DC diesel-electric locomotive (Washington D.C.–Miami)
    Amfleet II Coach
    Amfleet II Coach
    Amfleet II Coach
    Amfleet II Café/Lounge Car
    Viewliner II Dining Car
    Viewliner II Sleeping Car
    Viewliner I Sleeping Car
    Viewliner II Sleeping Car
    Viewliner II Baggage Car

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

  12. Why are coach passengers prohibited from meals in the dining car ? As long as they meet clothing and hygiene standards they should be allowed to patronize
    the dining car. On my two R/Ts as a coach passenger on the EMPIRE BLDG. I
    was able to enjoy meals in the relative quiet of the dining car instead of the
    cafe car with only one attendant. Loss of potential revenue !!!

    Bill Grant
    Cols, OH
    14th largest metro center in USA with no AMTRAK service.

  13. Great news, especially for gourmet Amtrak fans! Hope that the indispensable full dining-car service will continue uninterruptedly on both distinguished trains!

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

  14. Peasants are still eating Amgrub.

    (Though I did sample the Stromboli last week on the Carolinian and it was tasty, despite being served on a paper towel and still wrapped in the plastic).

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