locked Re: Dining Car Crew Cycles
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The original Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 included the following authorization for the Interstate Commerce Commission:"SEC. 801 ADEQUACY OF SERVICE. The Commission is authorized to prescribe such regulations as it considers necessary to provide safe and adequate service, equipment, and facilities for intercity rail passenger service. Any person who violates a regulation issued under this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not to exceed $500 for each violation. Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense."
A 1976 amendment added a caveat regarding food service:
HOURS OF FOOD SERVICE SEC. 108. Section 801(a) of the Rail Passenger Service Act (45 U.S.C. 641(a)) is amended by inserting immediately after the first sentence thereof the following new sentence: "No regulation issued by the Commission under this section shall require the Corporation or any railroad providing intercity rail passenger service to provide food service other than during customary dining hours.".
The ICC's Adequacy of Service Rules required railroads to post standard notices on the entrance doors of all passenger equipment advising passengers of their right to request the infamous "complaint form" from conductors. These notices were identical on Southern and Amtrak, except for their corporate logos and signatures of the respective CEOs.
I'll try to find a copy of the complete ICC Adequacy of Service standards.
From: Bill Schafer <bill4501@...>
To: email@example.com <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io>
Sent: Tue, Mar 16, 2021 6:11 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Dining Car Crew Cycles
Southern wanted out too; it just was sneakier about it. Before Amtrak, box meals were often offered after dining cars were removed from Southern trains. This was a good news/bad news situation - the good news was that the box meals were way cheaper than dining car prices (but without the ambience) and the food was usually good ole Southern cooking. The bad news was that the locations where box meals were available were not always convenient and the food was usually good ole Southern cooking.
In 1974, Southern operated eight regularly scheduled passenger trains: 1/2 Southern Crescent; 3/4 Asheville Special; 5/6 Piedmont and 7/8 unnamed remnant of the Birmingham Special between Washington-Lynchburg - the single FP7 and heavyweight coach were sandwiched between heavy-duty road power and a lot of freight cars at Alexandria.
Food service on these trains: we have discussed 1/2; I don’t know how Southern got away with no food service on 3/4, but apparently they did. 5/6 had a coach-lounge that served light meals and beverages Washington-Atlanta. 7/8’s coach was equipped with a vending machine. “Chips ’n’ Snacks” only; for moisture, there was a water fountain.
Going from memory here, the ICC got fed up with complaints about the quality of railroad service somewhere around 1969 or so. The target was the Southern Pacific, which had been overzealous in discouraging passengers, especially on the LA-New Orleans Sunset, which at the time ran daily but featured only coaches and an automat car. To get the ICC off its back, the SP agreed to restore dining car and sleeping car service to the Sunset if the ICC would let them reduce frequency to tri-weekly. The ICC agreed. Southern and SP started operating a through New York-Los Angeles sleeper via New Orleans - the November 20, 1970 timetable was the first to advertise it - which continued for a few years into the Amtrak era.
The ICC food service dictum was codified and applied to all U.S. railroads, and I think these “creature comfort” regs carried over into the Amtrak era. For trains that didn’t run overnight, I think there was a requirement for food service if the train exceeded a certain distance in its route. Atlanta-Birmingham = 166 miles; Asheville-Salisbury = 141 miles; Washington-Lynchburg = 173 miles. Something tells me that if the train’s journey exceeded 150 miles, food service was required. That would explain 3/4 without food. Can anyone verify this?
Whatever they did, it would be a lot better than the food service on the Southern Pacific toward the end of its passenger train service. I heard that they just provided vending machines on the café car, and half of the time they didn’t work. Unlike the Southern, Southern Pacific supposedly really wanted to get out of passenger service starting about the late 1960s.
I thought that I saw an advertisement somewhere for the Southern when they talked about bringing in a box to lunch for everyone of fried chicken. I forget which stop it was.
Did I imagine it, or was it some possibly some other railroad?
On Mar 16, 2021, at 4:50 PM, Robert W. Grabarek, Jr. <grabarek@...> wrote: