This brochure is full of lame and clumsy slogans: “Amtrak brings new meaning to the phrase, ‘eating on the run.'” Amtrak’s food service is “Why you should acquire a taste for trains, if you haven’t already.” “Amtrak’s literally a restaurant on wheels.” Some of these phrases might have been forgiven if Amtrak food actually lived up to them.
In 1977, when this brochure was issued, the food on Amtrak’s long-distance trains was a cut above Denny’s. But the food on the day trains, which carried far more passengers, was approximately equal to what you could get in a 7-Eleven, and was certainly not equal to what you could get in a McDonalds or Wendys.
The brochure also claims that, “On all of our trains that have food service cars–and most do–the service is available to all passengers throughout the trip.” It was true that, when the dining car was open, it was open to all passengers. But on overnight trains, the diners were only open a few hours a day–perhaps 6:30 am to 10:30 am, 11:30 to 2:30 pm, and 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm. During other hours, you could get drinks and snacks in the lounge car, but you couldn’t “eat when you are hungry,” the main theme of this brochure, if you got hungry at, say, 11:00 am, 3:30 pm or 10:00 pm.