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Author Topic: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report  (Read 76207 times)

ACL1504

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #960 on: February 28, 2021, 10:17:15 AM »
Once upon a time, long long ago, I had a full steak dinner in the diner while traveling to Illinois with my mother. Of course I had to wear a coat and tie to dinner. Later that night, I got to sleep in the top bunk and mom the bottom.

Bygone days for sure.  :'(

Tom  ;D
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GPdemayo

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #961 on: February 28, 2021, 10:48:42 AM »
Good story Bill.....I loved eating in the diner and having snacks in the club car when I was a kid. The food was always great ((and yes expensive, but as a kid I didn't have to worry about that) and the views, as the train went along, were spectacular. Great memories.  :)
Gregory P. DeMayo
General Construction Superintendent Emeritus
St. Louis & Denver Railroad
Longwood, FL

jrmueller

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #962 on: February 28, 2021, 12:18:36 PM »
Please continue the narrative Bill. Good luck with your surgery. As a member of that fraternity, my best advice is to take your pain killers.
In the mid to late 90s my wife and I rode the Amtrak car train to Florida. The change in the quality of the meals went from outstanding to I’d rather go to McDonald’s. On one trip the wait staff was giving out bottles of wine and extra desserts. When asked why, they said that Congress decreed that Amtrak was losing to much money and it was to cut out the amenities. The next year we got pot roast instead of sirloin steak and water. Wonder why ridership declined on the only route that historically made money?
Jim Mueller
Superintendent(Retired)
Westchester and Boston Railroad

Judge

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #963 on: February 28, 2021, 01:40:32 PM »
Jim - Ah, the Auto Train.  It began its trek to Virginia from Sanford in 1971 or 72 while I was a prosecutor in Sanford.  I thought the colors of the GE diesels and the cars, red, white, black, and purple, were a bit tacky, but I realized the colors had been picked from people in New York, so I didn't give it much thought.

One day, one of our investigators (Eddie) came into my office and said, "You know, I heard they have a whole bunch of girls working on that Auto Train."  I said, "You're the investigator, go check it out."  Eddie determined that there were about 10 "hostesses" on each run.   The railroad housed the girls in a hotel in Altamonte Springs that had a pretty swinging nightclub.  Eddie found out that the girls rotated in three shifts and that the girls on the A shift and the C shift never worked together.  That meant we could run two girls at once without them knowing it as long as we didn't date a girl in the B shift.  It was like being able to date two girls in the same sorority and being able to get away with it.   Well, it worked out fine for several weeks until Eddie had one too many one evening and let our nocturnal activities slip to one of the girls on the B shift.  Needless to say, that was the end of that.  But it was fun while it lasted.

jbvb

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #964 on: March 01, 2021, 08:47:30 AM »
My first diner experiences were in 1976, when Amtrak was still using the equipment it had inherited from the now-freight-only RRs.  I recall getting a very nice hamburger plate on the old C&O bound from Chicago to West Virginia.  I think some of the diners Amtrak inherited did still burn coal, but most had been converted to bottled gas.  I rode the Southern Crescent in 1979 when it was still a point of pride for the Southern - beautiful table settings but I can't recall what we ordered.  And in 1993 we were stuck in coach for the Vancouver - Jasper segment of VIA's Canadian and the cafe-observation attendant had a very nice spaghetti sauce.  But every budget cut by the Amtrak- and VIA-haters has diminished the food service first; it was tolerable in 2015 but now I'd seriously consider looking up what's nearby at the "smoking stop" stations or even bringing a cooler....
James

postalkarl

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #965 on: March 01, 2021, 05:35:29 PM »
Hey:

I ate I. A diner once. Can’t remember what RR it was on. That’s how long ago it was. But I can say it was pretty cool.

Karl

S&S RR

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #966 on: March 01, 2021, 10:28:47 PM »
Judge


Best of luck with your surgery and recovery.
John Siekirk
Superior & Seattle Railroad

Jim Donovan

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #967 on: March 01, 2021, 11:44:01 PM »
Same from me, good luck and get well soon.

Jim D
Holland & Odessa R.R.

postalkarl

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #968 on: March 02, 2021, 12:00:26 AM »
Get well soon.

Karl

Judge

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #969 on: March 02, 2021, 06:03:21 AM »
John, Jim, and Karl - Thank you for your best wishes.  I report for surgery at 9:00 a.m. today.  I have great confidence in my surgical team.  My doctor was one of the doctors who developed the minimally invasive surgical technique for this operation.  I'll sign off for now and give you a report when I am able to get back to my computer.

jrmueller

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #970 on: March 02, 2021, 09:50:27 AM »
Judge. Best wishes. You don’t want to rely on luck for this procedure. Jim
Jim Mueller
Superintendent(Retired)
Westchester and Boston Railroad

Judge

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #971 on: March 20, 2021, 06:03:38 PM »
I am slowly recovering from surgery.  I am able to do things this week I could not do last week, such as take a shower without help.  I am trying to ween myself off of my walker and revert to using a cane full time. If my stamina improves sufficiently, I may be able to spend at least some time railroading on the A&S.                                                                                           

This somewhat late edition of the Saturday Report is provided to complete my little essay on railroad diners.  Please remember, the monetary amounts stated are in 1941 dollars.

                                                                                                   Meals in Route - ACL  - Part II

The menu on the typical ACL diner includes both table d’hote or ala carte.  On the typical $1.25 dinner there is a fresh shrimp cocktail as a starter, followed by a choice of two kinds of soup and South Florida mangos.  The entre provides for the choice of panned fresh fish in parsley butter, imperial crab with cole slaw, half a fried chicken prepared Southern style or roast leg of lamb with mint jelly.  A broiled sirloin steak would require an upcharge to $1.75.
The diner’s steward is trained carefully in acquiring and storing a variety of meats and vegetables in a limited space.  For example, the salad for the day may be composed of hearts of lettuce with thousand island dressing followed by a choice of Georgia peach pie and ice cream. Potato rolls, baked by the chef are served with the salad.  In addition, there are a variety of cold cuts and sandwiches.  The salad for the day is, of course, only one of the choices on the menu and the menu changes from day-to day.  The logistics of planning and acquiring the food and related items for each trip can be daunting.
Unlike the normal restaurant owner, the dining car steward cannot place an emergency order with a local grocery store when he finds that his customers are making a run on some particular dish on the menu.  Only experience teaches him just how much of a thing he must order in advance so he will not have to tell a person he cannot have something on the menu. 
   The steward places his orders through the dining car commissary.  Every morning at 5:00 a.m. the storekeeper takes all of the requisitions received during the night and assembles the orders for transfer to the trains. 
   The amount of perishables consumed each month is staggering.  In one month, the ACL purchased 3700 lbs. of bacon, 22,000 lbs of beef, 11,200 lbs of poultry, 5400 dozen eggs, 15,000 lbs. of fish, 1300 lbs. of lamb legs, and 1000 lbs. of shrimp.  The total cost of foodstuffs for that month came to about $50,000.  Ice and fuel each month costs about $3,000.  Beer, wine, and liquors cost $3,000. 
   Customers expect to have clean tablecloths, napkins, and to see clean waiter’s coats and aprons.  The bill amounts to between $5,000 and $6,000 per month.  Replacement items such as silverware ($600), kitchen utensils ($2200), crockery and glassware ($$1600), and silverware ($650) only begin the replacement cost list.  The bill for linen repairs comes to about $3,000 per month even though much of the repair work is done by ACL employees at the commissary. 
   Service of alcoholic beverages to customers requires the railroad to pay the license fees in each state in which the railroad operates.  These fees amount to thousands of dollars.
   The job of the dining car steward is no bed of roses.  Stewards have special situations brought to their attention, such as the woman with three children who spent her last dollar on rail fare.  Sometimes the steward reaches into his own pocket and buys lunch in such situations. 
   The steward must be a walking storehouse of information.  Passengers expect him to know the arrival times for every stop on the map, the names of good hotels and restaurants, and even how to prepare baby formula and deliver the bottles to the mother on schedule.  Sometimes passengers bring items onto the train that need to be stored during the trip.  A passenger from Miami once brought several large grouper (fish) with him that had been caught offshore from Miami Beach.  The steward made room for the fish in the refrigerated locker and returned it to the passenger once the train reached New York. 
   The dining car crew works well into the night after the last passenger has been served, making up requisitions for the next day and cleaning up the kitchen and dining area in anticipation of breakfast in the morning.  Each member of the crew has duties.  The cooks in the kitchen polishing the pots and getting everything in order; the assistant pantryman will be organizing his area and noting items that need to be restocked; and the waiters will be polishing silver, making up the laundry bag, and thoroughly cleaning the car.  The crew finally rolls into their bunks in the dormitory car around 10:00 p.m., knowing they will be up ag 5:00 a.m. and ready for duty.
   It is no wonder that the Atlantic and Southern owns no passenger equipment except for the single heavyweight solarium car used to transport officials and dignitaries to University of Florida football games each fall.  The cost of dining service would be prohibitive for a local railroad like the A&S, which is located mostly in a Florida swamp and operates on a shoestring budget. 

For those who are interested in this subject, here are two links to videos you may want to watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2c83p0I_eo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMi7z4hJxGE



Dennis Bourey

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #972 on: March 20, 2021, 06:10:05 PM »
Thank you Judge. Very interested.  8)
Dennis Bourey
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Lake's Region RR
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BandOGuy

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #973 on: March 20, 2021, 08:19:11 PM »

Glad to see the Judge recovering and thank him profusely for his efforts during recuperation. I used to ride the C&O George Washington to and from college.
The Judge discussed the liquor problem quite well. Two sections of the George Washington joined at Ashland, KY about 9 PM. We then continued eastward bound for Richmond, VA where it again became two trains. I always traveled at holiday time which, at Christmas, meant discharged soldiers from Ft. Knox at Louisville, flush with cash who had to drink between Ashland at the West Virginia border as the C&O refused to pay tax in West Virginia on alcohol that had all ready been taxed in Kentucky. Made for some VERY interesting trips.

Working on my second million. I gave up on the first.

deemery

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Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« Reply #974 on: March 20, 2021, 08:39:08 PM »
Glad to have you back at the keyboard, be careful and stay current with the rehab instructions!


dave
Modeling the Northeast in the 1890s - because the little voices told me to

 

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