I had my first meal in an Amtrak dining car. Although the cuisine was just average, the overall experience made me eager to return.

I sat with three other travelers despite the fact that the majority of the tables in the dining car were empty at lunch.

My sleeping car’s attendant told me to hurry because I got on the train right after 2 p.m. and I could get lunch if I did. I went to the dining car for the first time soon after setting my luggage down in my roomette.

I noticed tables on either side of the car as I entered. Since most were unoccupied, I figured I would be by myself. The attendant, however, seated me between three other passengers who had also just boarded the train in Portland.

The other diner was staying in the roomette adjacent to mine, and two of my lunch companions were also traveling together.

Although I was astonished to be seated among strangers, it turned out to be an intriguing chance to talk to them and hear about their trips and work.

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