Amtrak, the passenger railroad servicing the US and three Canadian cities, has just announced its new dining program in two of its sleeper cars. Beginning on June 1, the company will eliminate the dining car on the Capitol Limited and the Lake Shore Limited trains to offer passengers “hand-crafted meals” delivered to their roomettes. The company has ensured that while the service has changed, the quality has not, and the new menus will include dedicated vegan meals for plant-based patrons.
Currently, both trains offer full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus via their dining cars. Meals are prepared onboard, and passengers are required to order in this dedicated meal car. The dining car menu does include a limited selection of vegan options. For example, both trains offer a Black Bean & Corn Veggie Burger for lunch, which the menu clearly states is “vegan compliant.” The Lake Shore Train also provides a Healthy & Flavor Forward Specialities for dinner, which is essentially a vegan chef special.
However, according to The Economist, dining cars have cost Amtrak $834 million over a ten year period. The rail operator is looking to maintain its dining services while curtailing its costs. “Our plan is to provide new and fresh food choices in a contemporary way for these overnight trains,” said Amtrak Long Distance Service Line vice president Bob Dorsch. He added, “Our continued success depends on increasing customer satisfaction while becoming more efficient.”
This customer satisfaction involves catering to the ever-growing number of plant-based travelers, as both the popularity of vegan and veg-curious eaters has dramatically risen in the past few years. The new vegan options on these two trains include a vegan wrap and a sliced seasonal fruit plate. These meals are complimentary with the purchase of a sleeper car ticket and will be prepared offsite just prior to the train’s departure to eliminate onboard preparation.
Both of these trains are part of Amtrak’s Long Distance Service Line, which passengers ride for extended overnight travel. The Capitol Limited travels between Washington, D.C. and Chicago, and the Lake Shore Limited operates from Chicago to New York, as well as to and from Boston. Amtrak has not yet stated if it plans to renovate the dining services in its other long distance trains. However, the company had made a dedicated effort to ensure that customers with specific dietary preferences, including vegans, are taken care of during their travels.