Last month, I highlighted offerings from Amtrak’s improved Simplified Dining Service menu, which applies to most long-distance routes. The Lake Shore Limited is not one of them. In September, facing a crunch in Heritage Dining Car availability, Amtrak pressed into service the first of its converted former Amfleet II Lounge cars, now Diner Lite cars. The serving counter area is now flanked by steam tables and a large reefer; the disused smoking lounge was removed in favor of more seating, and a Steward’s office was installed.
I just arrived into Chicago on train 49 from New York, and had the opportunity to sample the Diner Lite offerings for the first time.
Amtrak claims that the Diner Lite setup on the Lake Shore is temporary and that Heritage diners will return once the maintenance situation has stabilized. I certainly hope that’s the case. As the only daily train between New York and Chicago, this is supposed to be one of Amtrak’s key routes, but the current level of service does not live up to that expectation. I give Diner Lite service a D for ambiance and a C for food quality.