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Regular Dining Car to Return to Crescent

May 17, 2024

By Jim Mathews / President & CEO

The Crescent is getting its dining car back, effective June 1.

This is incredibly welcome news for passengers on the Crescent. Up to now, this train has offered its Sleeper passengers Flex dinners in a box, prepared in a Cafe car with very little real seating available and passengers encouraged to eat in their rooms. And, of course, Coach passengers were out of luck entirely.

Although a regular dining car will be on the consist beginning June 1, the food offered on this dining car will be Flex dining rather than a Traditional menu, and in the beginning it will be limited to sleeping-car passengers only.

However, we confirmed with Amtrak senior leadership Thursday afternoon that the railroad is in the process of identifying, hiring, and training additional on-board service crew so that within a few months, or perhaps by next year, coach passengers on the Crescent might be able to enjoy a dining-car meal.

When they do, they'll experience another innovation aimed at improving the Flex experience with slightly different menus and portion sizes, as well as getting rid of the plastic and cardboard box in favor of traditional plating and tablecloths. This so-called "Flex Plus" model is already being tried out now on the Lake Shore Limited.

Prices for Coach passengers to “buy in” to a dining-car meal would be correspondingly lower than those being charged for Traditional dining on the Western overnight trains, executives told us, acknowledging that Flex meals – regardless of how presented – would have to command a lower price point.