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Rail Passengers Applauds Amtrak Food & Beverage Team Efforts

March 16, 2023

Rail Passengers Applauds Continued Amtrak Food & Beverage Team Efforts To Restore Coach Dining

For Immediate Release (23-2)
Contact: Madison Butler ([email protected])

Rail Passengers Applauds Continued Amtrak Food & Beverage Team Efforts To Restore Coach Dining

Washington, D.C. — Dining Car service restoration will continue along the five major Western Long-Distance routes and also be expanded to include the Silver Star and potentially more routes to the East, Rail Passengers confirmed with Amtrak management today.

Representing the 40 million Americans who rely on passenger trains and rail transit, the Rail Passengers Association has been working closely with Amtrak management and others as part of the congressionally mandated Food & Beverage Working Group aimed at improving on-board food and beverage experiences in all classes of service and on all types of trains.

RPA Communications Manager Madison Butler helped draft the legislation that brought the Working Group into existence. Butler has worked alongside onboard Amtrak staff, Amtrak management, and other transit advocates to create service improvement proposals to be submitted to Congress at the end of May.

Rail Passengers Association has been working to restore dining access to coach passengers since 2019. With the elimination of amendments previously added to Amtrak’s authorizing legislation by former Rep. John Mica, and the new funding allocated by the Infrastructure and Jobs Act / Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, better onboard service is becoming a reality for many passengers.

Even though it’s really only been a few days, the numbers coming out of the effort to restore coach passengers to the dining car have been impressive. Onboard the Empire Builder, the Southwest Chief, the Coast Starlight, the Sunset Limited and the California Zephyr, within the first ten days more than 1,300 coach passengers were served. It’s a strong signal that passengers want the elevated dining experience emblematic of historic Amtrak service. As Amtrak continues to ramp up onboard staffing, the Food & Beverage Working Group has slated additional improvements and is reinforcing the need to move forward. Growing this effort in a sustainable way has been a crucial factor in its initial success.

Upon receiving confirmation of expanded dining pilot programs, Butler stated “We’re optimistic that this restoration pilot could lead to an improved passenger experience with continued accountability measures and monitoring of staff bandwidth. The challenges faced by Amtrak Food & Beverage teams are unique and can not be easily compared with airlines, cruises, or stationary service models. As we prepare our recommendations to Congress, we will factor in what the passenger response to this program has been like and how Amtrak can continue to actualize a realistic service model that caters to passengers regardless of ticket class. Rail Passengers is looking forward to continuing our relationship with these teams and seeing how they progress towards exemplifying the desires of customers and taxpayers who rely on our national interstate passenger rail network.”


About Rail Passengers Association

The Rail Passengers Association is the oldest and largest national organization serving as a voice for the more than 40 million rail passengers in the U.S. Our mission is to improve and expand conventional intercity and regional passenger train services, support higher speed rail initiatives, increase connectivity among all forms of transportation and ensure safety for our country's trains and passengers. All of this makes communities safer, more accessible, and more productive, improving the lives of everyone who lives, works, and plays in towns all across America.