Amtrak Superliner Passenger Train Dining Car, including photographs and
detailed descriptions of seats, rooms, train cars, menus and services.
Special note: This page was last updated in 1999 and may be a little outdated. Much of the information on this page
is still useful, but do keep in mind that it has not been updated for some time.
What is the diner like?
Amtrak attempts to make their diner like a finer restaurant. It is
definitely a step above a Denny's. Each table is set with fine linen,
china and fresh flowers. The food itself is prepared fresh in the
downstairs kitchen. This is far above the quality that you will find
in any airline, even first class. The Chef is right on board.
What are the prices like?
If you are traveling First Class, which means
in a Sleeper, then the price of all meals is included in your ticket.
You just need to sign for your meals. With your meal, you can order
soup, salad or both, an entree, desert, a beverage, plus even coffee or
tea after all that. There is no extra charge, even if you order all of
that, which many people do! The only thing you would be charged for is
if you order wine, beer, or other alcoholic beverage with your meal, and
that is usually only $2.50 to $3.50.
What does this cost you if not traveling First Class? If you are traveling
Coach, you are welcome to eat in the Dining Car, but do have to pay the
prices listed in the menu. The main entree at Breakfast or Lunch will run
about $6 while the main entree at Diner will be about $9. This might seem
to be high prices compared to a Dennys, but you will find that the atmosphere
and service is more similar to a fine hotel restaurant where the prices are
much higher. The view is also something that you can't get anywhere else!
Coach passengers do have to pay for any beverages or desert they order,
plus soup or salad except with Diner. Thus, a Coach passenger could
easily end up paying $30 per day for meals considering the total cost for
Breakfast, Lunch and Diner. For two people, that's $60 per day and for
three $90 per day. I'll leave calculating the cost to feed a family of
four as an exercise for the reader. If you can get the Economy Bedroom
(includes meals for 2) for $67 per day, the Deluxe Bedroom (includes meals
for 3) for about $120 per day, and the Family Bedroom (includes meals for
4) for about $99 per day, then the prices of those rooms might not seem
so much when you include the cost of the included meals. However, you can
also get away a lot cheaper by either purchasing food from the Coach
lounge car or bringing your own food along. (Federal Health Laws requires
that any food brought onto the train be consumed at your seat and not taken
to the Dining Car nor the Lounge Car).
Should you tip, and if so, how much? I've read about tipping in two
books about train travel. Both said it was customary to tip just like
you would in a restaurant. I guess that would mean between 15% and 20%
of the bill. Both books suggested that you should tip even if the cost
of your meal is included, as it is if you are in the Sleeping Cars.
The only tipping I have even seen in the Dining Car is $1 per person,
regardless of the cost of the meal. I have often seen people not leave
anything, but never have I ever seen anyone leave more than $1. That
comes out about right for 15% to 20% on the price of breakfast and
lunch which would have cost between $6 and $8. The total food bill for
diner would probably be more like $12 to $18 including beverage and
desert. $1 is a bit low if you are trying to leave 15% to 20%, but I
have yet to see anyone leave anything more than $1 at any meal. Use
your own judgement, but I don't suggest leaving anything less that $1
at any meal for each person in your party.