Dining with a side of Scenery
513-791-7245

FAQ-3

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Pricing Information

Schedule & Reservations

Dinner Menu & Beverage Information

Arrival & Boarding

About the Ride

 

About our Equipment

 


How much does it cost to ride the dinner train?

The cost is $84.95 per person plus Ohio sales tax of 7.0% which totals $90.90 per person. Gratuity not included.

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What does the price include?

The Price includes a four course meal, as well as the unique experience and scenery.

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Can I pay for my tickets when I get there, or do I need to pay in advance?

Payment is due in advance at the time of your reservation. We accept Master Card, Visa, Discover, and American Express. Sorry, we cannot accept checks.

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Do you offer group pricing?

At this time, we do not offer group discounted pricing.

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Are senior citizen discounts available?

Sorry, we currently do not offer senior citizen discounts.

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Can we put our gratuity on our credit card after the meal is served?

Yes, it is possible to put your gratuity on a credit card after the meal is served.  It is not included in the price of the food, alcohol or train ride and is appreciated for the service staff.  A good experience should be rewarded with a 15% – 20% tip on the total bill.

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Can I use an expired gift certificate?

Sorry, gift certificates are no longer valid after the expiration date. Certificate expiration: Certificates shall expire (2) two years from the date it was sold. Certificates used in charitable donations may expire less than (2) two years. Expiration dates are noted on the front of each gift certificate and cannot be altered. Expired gift certificates are no longer valid nor redeemable after the expiration date. No exceptions to this policy.

Do you run year around?

Almost. The Dinner Train runs Saturdays through the entire year with the exception Thanksgiving weekend and the months of January and February.

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Do I need to make a reservation?

Advance reservation and payment are highly recommended for those who want to be guaranteed a ticket. Tickets are sold on a first come basis, and trips often sell out in advance. Occasionally, we will have cancellations, or no-shows. In this event, we are able to accept last minute walk-up guests with full payment via cash or credit card. However, availability cannot be guaranteed for walk-up guests.

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Can children ride the train?

 Yes, children 12 and older are permitted. However, there is one menu available for all ages, and the cost for children is the same as an adult.

Children under 12 are permitted only on private charters in which a whole dining car has been chartered. Parties with children under the age of 12 must purchase tickets that would give them the use of an entire car, i.e., Silver Sword seats 28, thus 28 tickets must be purchased in order to have a dinner party that includes children under the age of 12.  The children must remain in the chartered car, so the guests in other cars can enjoy the ambiance of an adult venue.  Keep in mind, there is no children’s menu nor children’s pricing.  All tickets are $84.95 per person.

If people book online and elect to ignore this rule, we reserve the right to refuse boarding.

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How are seats reserved?

Seating will be made by our staff based on availability at the time of your reservation.  Guests are able to request if a specific table is still available at the time of booking. Simply call us at 513-791-7245.  

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Do you have booth seating?

The majority of our tables have four dining chairs. We do have a small number of tables with a booth on one side of the table which allows for side by side seating. These are at the rear of the dining car. Also available are a few tables with booth seating on one side of the table and two dining chairs on the other side. All tables offer a view of the scenery in route. If interested in a table with a booth, please give us a call at 513-791-RAIL (7245). Our dining chairs and booths have cushioned vinyl seats to be equally comfortable for all guests.

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Can a table be reserved for just the two of us?

We offer only six tables that seat two people throughout the dining cars.  Two tables seating only two people are available in the Milwaukee Road dining car, one table seating only two people are available in the dining area of the Oasis Tavern, and the remaining two tables that seat only two people are available in the lounge area of the Silver Sword.  These tables are requested and reserved quickly.  If they are not available, you can pay for an additional ticket at the $84.95 cost. This will ensure no one else is seated at your four top table. Please contact us before making your reservations at 513-791-RAIL(7245) or by email cdt@cincinnatirailway.com.

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Can you accommodate parties larger than 4?

All of our tables seat four as in the tradition of railroad dining. Parties of 5 are seated with three at one table and two at the table directly across the aisle. Parties of 6 are seated with four at one table and two directly across the aisle. In both of the above cases, there is a chance a party of two will be seated with the remaining party of two. In the case of seven, we will sit four at one table, and three directly across from them. 

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How do you accommodate parties of 5, 6, or 7?

Yes, we can accommodate parties larger than 4. The majority of our tables only seat 4, and we will do our best to seat everyone as close together as possible. Seating will depend on the availability, and parties larger than 4 will be split between tables.

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Are the four dining cars the same in quality and comfort?

In short, yes. We tried to insure each car was restored to the same quality standards as all the others. Each car was restored to the original design as much as possible. The 201 Milwaukee Road dining car seats the most people, 60, and has two large restrooms for men and women. The New York Central 447 dining car is the most authentic, having been restored to exact specs from 1947. It seats 48 passengers and does not have a restroom and is the farthest away from the boarding door. The Silver Sword, like the 201 is the first car you enter when boarding. It seats only 36 passengers with 28 in the main dining area and eight in the smaller lounge section. It has one small unisex restroom. The Oasis Tavern can seat two parties of 4 and one party of 2.  This car has an additional women’s restroom and one unisex restroom.  Ask for a specific car when booking and the reservationist will do all they can to accommodate your request. There is no bad seat on the train. Each car provides a slightly different ride and experience.

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What is your cancellation policy?

7+ day notice (Previous Saturday or prior to it) – full refund or right to reschedule the date.
3-6 day notice (Sunday to Wednesday immediately prior to the Saturday run) – right to reschedule the date only.
0-2 day notice (Thursday, Friday and Saturday immediately prior to or the actual Saturday run) – complete forfeiture of the tickets and no right to reschedule. 

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What is offered on the menu?

We offer a couple of options for menu choices. These can be found on our menu page. You will be asked for your entrée selection(s) when you make your reservation. Please note that we purchase and prepare on board the quantity of food reserved for each run. In most cases, we are not able to change the food you ordered for you and your guests.

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Are vegetarian, vegan and gluten free meals offered?

Yes, we can offer dinners to meet special dietary needs.  Please call 513-791-RAIL(7245) or email us at cdt@cincinnatirailway.com for more information.

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When do I have to let you know my meal selection?

Meal selections are required at the time of reservation. If for some reason you need additional time, we can accept changes and selections no later than 11am on Thursday prior to your ride. If we do not have your selection, we will put your reservation down for our chicken in white wine sauce with the dessert based on availability.

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Will the meals be prepared on the cars?

All food is prepared our our #3999 kitchen car.  This is how we are able to serve our meals fresh out of the oven.

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Is there a bar on the train?

Yes, we have the bar in the Silver Sword car and a second bar in the Oasis Tavern car.  Both bars are available before and during the Dinner Train excursion. Cash is the preferred method of payment, however, we can accept credit cards.  We would be happy to set you up with a bar tab which would be required to be closed out at evening’s end.

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What selections are available from the bar?

The bar offers a wide variety of beers, wines, and cocktails. Wine can be purchased either by the glass or by the bottle. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased at any time throughout the trip.

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Can we bring our own wine or liquor?

Due to the terms of our liquor license, outside alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited.  No beverages of any kind may be carried onto the train.  This includes water bottles.

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Is there a dress code?

The dress code is business casual, however some guests elect to dress in 1940’s period clothing which we at the Cincinnati Dinner Train strongly support and appreciate.  Denim jeans and shorts are strictly prohibited.  For safety purposes while boarding the train and walking between cars, we highly recommend wearing closed toed shoes with low heels. Guests are strongly discouraged from wearing high-heels or sandaled shoes.  We cannot under any circumstance board passengers wearing flip flop sandals.

We reserve the right to refuse boarding if we feel the dress code is being violated.  It is not fair to our other passengers who have observed this rule.

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Is there parking available?

We are pleased to provide free parking including a security guard for the entire time you are onboard the train. Our parking lot is leased from the building owner so therefore is not owned by us. We have four or five marked handicapped parking spaces and several more spots close to the boarding area. Our parking lot attendant/security man instructs passengers to park somewhat close to the next car in an effort to minimize the walk of all passengers. If we allowed passengers to take up one and a half or two spaces, we would run out of spots for those people arriving later in the boarding period. Please follow the instructions of the attendant and try to be considerate of all our passengers. We actually try to reserve some close in spots for senior citizens that do not have handicapped stickers but who would obviously have an issue walking a long way to board the train.

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Where do we park, board and pick up tickets?

For our regularly scheduled Dinner Train departures, parking and boarding is from the rear parking lot of the Green Sales Company located at 2172 East Seymour Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45237.  Look for the directional signs on the telephone poles.  Please keep all valuables hidden from view when locking your car.  Tickets can be picked up at our booth just outside the train.  Check-in begins no earlier than 5:00 pm.  Train departure is 6:00 pm promptly.   If you arrive prior to 4:30 pm, our directional signs and staff will not be in place to assist you.

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Are you handicap accessible?

Due to the historic nature of the railroad equipment, Cincinnati Dinner Train cars are not handicapped accessible. Historic and antiquated rail passenger equipment, like that used on this excursion, are exempt from ADA regulations under U.S. Code: Title 42: Section 12184. Platforms, boarding areas, stairs, step-boxes, seating, and especially doorways, passageways, aisles, and on-board restrooms may not accommodate all passengers. We will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate differently abled passengers who desire to ride the train. Motorized wheelchairs and/or scooters cannot be accommodated on-board any of our trains at any time.  We are able to accommodate some narrow wheelchairs and walkers; however, guests must be able to negotiate the steps for boarding.  People with difficulties boarding and debarking, please have consideration for people with babysitters etc. and wait to board and debark after everyone else has gotten on/off the train, so that your group can take their time getting on/off the train taking it nice and slow.

To board the train, guests must step up onto a step box approximately 8-10″ above the ground, then step up to the first step on the car, which is approximately 6-8″. Guests then will proceed up 4-5 individual steps that are approximately 6″ high. There are handrails located next to the steps, and in the entry ways to the cars. Our staff will be on hand to assist guests as necessary.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 513-791-RAIL(7245) or cdt@cincinnatirailway.com

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What is your suggestion for seating a larger sized person?

Regarding larger sized people, the most comfortable seating would be at our four top table in the Silver Sword lounge area. The four chairs are capable of moving away from the table to allow more space between chair and table. Keep in mind our tables seat four people so another couple could potentially be seated with you. If you’d like to insure the table is yours alone, you’ll need to purchase a 3rd ticket and we will not seat anyone at the 3rd or 4th seat.  Thus allowing us to move away the 3rd and 4th chair allowing for more space at the table.  If due to your size another couple could not be seated at your table, then you would be required to purchase the 3rd ticket in order to have the table to yourselves.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 513-791-RAIL(7245) or cdt@cincinnatirailway.com

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What if I left something on board after leaving the train for the night?

If you’ve realized you’ve left something on the train after leaving for the night, please don’t hesitate to call our office and leave a message.  We won’t be retrieving the message until Monday morning.  Once the item has been confirmed that it was placed in our Lost & Found, you are more than welcomed to come back to the train the next Saturday between the hours of 4:45 pm and 5:45 pm to retrieve your item.  If it is inconvenient for you to return to the train, then we would be happy to mail the item to you for the cost of Shipping and Handling.  Shipping cost would be equal to charges incurred either from U.S.P.S. or U.P.S. and Handling cost would be an additional $12.00 to cover the cost of shipping materials and time.

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What is your policy regarding a service animal?

Passengers are permitted to board the dinner train with a service animal. The service animal must fit under your seat, at your feet, and cannot block the aisle.  The service animal must be always under the control of the handler while on board.  Keep in mind, that during the entire train excursion there is no opportunity for the train to stop in order for the service animal to relieve itself (approximately 3 ½ hours.)  

Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA.

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Where does the train go? 

We shove the train down to the Theodore Berry Park and after sitting for ten minutes at the park, we will pull our train back to the boarding location.

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How long is the excursion?

The excursion is 25 miles round trip, and will last approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes in length. The Cincinnati Dinner Train makes every effort to maintain its schedule, but reserves the right to alter schedules or equipment as operating conditions demand.

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How fast will we go?

We will travel between five and seven MPH on the way down during dinner and ten to twenty MPH on the way back, in accordance with restricted track speeds of which we must comply.

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Does the train stop anywhere along the route?

There are no stops along the route in which passengers are able to de-board the train. We will make a stop to change our direction near Theodore Berry Park and occasionally make a stop en route to give our passengers the chance to view significant sights.

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Are there restrooms on the train?

Yes, there is one men’s room and one women’s restroom in the Milwaukee Road #201 dining car, a unisex restroom in the Silver Sword dining car, and one women’s restroom in additional to another unisex restroom in the Oasis Tavern.

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Is the train air conditioned and/or heated?

Yes, all Cincinnati Dinner Train cars have a climate controlled environment. Please keep in mind that the dining cars are over 60+ years old, and regulating the temperature to an exact degree is difficult. Cars tend to be more cool than hot, so if you are cold natured, you will want to dress accordingly.

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Is smoking permitted on board the train?

Ohio state law dictates that we do not allow smoking anywhere on board our train. This includes in the restrooms and in the vestibules. If a person is caught smoking on board, the state has the ability to fine both the smoker, as well as the Cincinnati Dinner Train. We also enforce the no smoking rule for the comfort and safety of all passengers.  This rule applies to vapor smoking also.

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Can I travel between the rail cars?

Yes, dining passengers can travel between the rail cars, however, we do ask guests to refrain from walking through the cars when entrees are being served. Passengers should remain seated at all times and be aware that the servers can not see the area directly below their trays at their feet so please keep your feet and the legs of your chair tucked in as much as possible in order that the servers do not trip over items you may have in the aisle way. 

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Do I need to be aware of sudden jolts & bumps?

Please know we are on a moving train which at times, will be stopping and starting. Caution should be used at all times while on board.  Although we are typically only travelling at 5 to 10 MPH, there will be occasional jolts and bumps. We strongly suggest you stay seated when we are approaching our final stop back at the boarding area. With occasional jolts when stopping, it is just not worth the risk to stand up to try and exit the train first.  Patience is always best. Wait for the train to come to a complete stop before exiting.

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Will the scenery be perfect and will we be rolling through downtown streets?

The answer to both is no. We do not own the tracks nor do we dictate where they go. We are fortunate to have operating rights on tracks owned and maintained by our host short line railroad. The host railroad only controls the land fourteen foot to either side of track center. Therefore the property owners that elect to dump trash in their backyards are the ones responsible for any unsightly views and ultimately for any required clean-up. In the few sections of our route where we have noticed excessive trash, we have reported it to the applicable city management for them to resolve with the home owner. Even if we wanted to organize a track clean-up party ourselves, we would not be permitted by the host railroad due to liability concerns. In regards to rolling down city streets or across the bridges to Kentucky, we can only operate where there are established tracks. There are no tracks in downtown Cincinnati.

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Why don’t you blacktop your parking lot?

We are fortunate to be able to rent the parking lot from the Green Sales Company who owns and operates their business from that location Monday through Friday. It would not be financially feasible for us to pay thousands of dollars to pave and then maintain a parking lot that we rent forty four Saturdays a year.

What kind of engine will be pulling the train?

We usually have a 1960’s era GP-30 Diesel Locomotive pulling the train. We will occasionally use different engines.

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What kinds of rail cars are used?

The dinner train consists of a 1947 Budd built New York Central dining car which can serve up to 48 people, a 1947 American Car & Foundry table car which can serve up to 60 people, a 1952 Budd built dining car which can seat up to 28 guests in the dining area and up to 8 in the lounge area, and finally the 1950 Budd built Oasis Tavern which can seat up to 10 guests in the lounge area .  Also included in our consist is the 1984 MHC power car and the 1960 Pullman baggage car 3999 that has been converted into our kitchen car.  Finally, we will soon be adding our final car, the 1937 Silver Fountain, rear end rounded observation dining car late 2019.

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The Cincinnati Dinner Train diner cars were constructed in the 1940’s, and therefore are not handicap accessible.