03/03/2010 AT 07:10
The re-introduction of full china service —and the move away from disposable plastic dinnerware— is one result of a comprehensive Route Performance Improvement (RPI) analysis undertaken by Amtrak to enhance Coast Starlight customer service, product quality and market performance.
“Amtrak listened to what passengers were telling us when they said ‘a premium train service deserves a premium place setting for meals—not throwaway plastic',” said Brian Rosenwald Chief of Product Development. “We are committed to customer satisfaction and in favor of eliminating plastic in favor of ‘green' alternatives wherever possible.”
Fiscal year 2009 was one of the most successful ridership years for the Coast Starlight, welcoming over 432,000 passengers, a 22.3 percent increase over the previous year. Customer satisfaction scores during the year also showed improvement, with 83 percent of customers ranking Coast Starlight service as excellent, up from 79 percent in fiscal year 2008.
The RPI analysis has resulted in Amtrak making other changes to Coast Starlight service. For example, sleeping car passengers may experience the Pacific Parlour Car, a lounge venue featuring alternative meal service, specialty coffees, a daily wine tasting, and private movie theater. In addition, Amtrak upgraded sleeping cars, enhanced room service, and re-trained employees to focus on high-level customer service delivery.
Other Amtrak trains that feature full china service include the Empire Builder (Chicago – Seattle/Portland), and Auto Train (Lorton, VA. – Sanford, FL). In addition, this year Amtrak is performing an in-depth evaluation of other long-distance routes to identify and implement changes where possible to improve key measures such as customer service, ridership, and financial performance. The five routes being analyzed are the Sunset Limited (Los Angeles – New Orleans), Cardinal (New York – Cincinnati - Chicago), Texas Eagle (Chicago – San Antonio), Capitol Limited (Chicago – Washington, D.C.), and California Zephyr (Chicago – Emeryville/San Francisco).
Stressing the importance of its intercity passenger rail service in Michigan, Amtrak announced it will perform a high-speed rail improvement study that will focus on determining what infrastructure upgrades are needed to provide 110 mph train service on the Norfolk Southern-owned rail corridor.
Amtrak announced today it has awarded a $104.7 million contract to Cianbro/Middlesex VII of Littleton, Mass., for the replacement of the 102-year old movable bridge over the Niantic River in East Lyme, Conn.
Amtrak trains operated under a contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation are providing a way to overcome the unpredictable costs of driving and drew more than 1.8 million passengers to state-supported routes in Fiscal Year 2009.
Amtrak is making major investments in the New York area to bring its bridges, tracks and other infrastructure up to a state of good repair, increase track speeds and improve operations, including a soon to start $10 million project to rehabilitate the Pelham Bay Bridge.
Amtrak passengers have more destinations in Wisconsin to begin or end their trips, thanks to an agreement between the national passenger railroad and Jefferson Lines, an intercity motorcoach operator.
Amtrak is using $25 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to replace transformers and other electrical equipment—some of which date to before World War II— at 40 substations that deliver the power needed to propel passenger trains on the electrified tracks.
Alstom has been selected by Caltrans to renovate all 66 bi-level intercity passenger vehicles from its California car fleet.
Travelers may now use Google Transit — Google's public transportation trip planning function — to plan their journeys on Amtrak as five of the railroad's routes were recently added to the Google Transit system.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Province of British Columbia and Amtrak announced today that the long awaited second daily Amtrak Cascades train between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. will begin service on Wednesday.
Amtrak unveiled the first of 81 passenger rail cars to be removed from storage, restored to good condition, and returned to service as part of a program to add seating capacity to trains across its national system using funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.