RIP the Amtrak dining car, done in by murderous millennials

Photo: Queserasera (iStock)

First it was mayonnaise. Then it was Applebees and Hooters. And now it’s the Amtrak dining car. The millennial campaign to slaughter all our beloved American food icons just keeps going like a cross-country train.

To be clear, it’s not like millennials intended to kill the dining car, or that they even thought about the dining car at all. They are just a convenient scapegoat for an Amtrak executive to justify to The Washington Post his employer’s decision to stop seating travelers with random strangers at tables covered in white tablecloths.

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“Some people really like [the dining car] and view it as sort of a nostalgic train experience,” the executive, Peter Wilander told the Post. “Some people, especially our new millennial customers, don’t like it so much. They want more privacy, they don’t want to feel uncomfortable sitting next to people [they don’t know].”

Or maybe nobody is eating in the Amtrak dining cars anymore because the food is overpriced and not that great (even if it is cooked onboard) and it’s much easier to eat a prepackaged sandwich—or a bag of junk food—in your seat.

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Amtrak is replacing the dining car with prepackaged meals that “premium” riders in sleepers can have delivered to their roomettes or eat in a private car with booths. (Oh, the horror!) The commoners in coach will be able to eat these same meals starting next year, but in the café car.

The whole purpose of this change is to save Amtrak approximately $2 million a year. Which is maybe an easier way to cut costs instead of, you know, attracting more riders by turning trains into something more than a slower form of air travel (albeit with slightly more leg room) through improvements like cheaper tickets and trains that actually arrive on time.

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About the author

Aimee Levitt

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.