Good foods to bring for a long rail journey

Upcoming long train trip down to FL over the holidays – about 15 hours or so on Amtrak. We’ve done it before and we kind of liked it – much less stressful than flying, and cheaper, though obviously much longer.

So we want to bring foods that are reasonably tasty, will not go bad, and are not messy. We’d like to avoid complete junk (i.e. candy, potato chips, etc.). Any ideas?

Bananas/fruit, Cheese/crackers/peanut butter, mixed nuts, and at least one meal in the dining car or cafe car.

Sandwiches, cold chicken, salads in containers, cold cuts, wedges of cheese, small baguettes, a small container of butter, olives (black and green), sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and those little tins of chicken and tuna salad that come with crackers.

Cold chicken and
‘coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscresssandwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater’ … all in a wicker basket.

I take all my travel food tips from riverside rodents.

I came in to same pretty much this. Add a bag of those pre-cut, baby carrots and a few pieces of whatever fresh, out-of-hand eating fruit you like and you’re golden.

As a student I used to take a lot of long rail trips. My go-to food was the Bagel – The Magical Waybread of the Jews. You can’t accidentally crush it or break it, because it’s already squashed into a dense ring. it’ll stay fresh through a journey of less than a day without refrigeration. (If your journey lasts more than a few hours, put it in a ziplock bag to keep it fresh) You can eat it without any topping (although sometimes I’d put butter on it).

Add a bottle of water (or a can or bottle of a drink. If you want milk or chocolate milk get the pasteurized-in-the-sealed box kind that doesn’t need refrigeration) and you’re all set.

Limburger and garlic sandwiches. Filling, and may allow you to have the whole car to yourself :smiley:

We once started this FL train ride with a big bucket of fried chicken. Everyone hated us.

What are the rules regarding alcohol? I have heard they sell drinks onboard, but can you BYOB?

A fifteen-foot hero sandwich. Each of you start at your own end.

You can bring YOB, but you can’t consume it in “public areas” of the train (including dining and lounge cars). If you’re in coach, you’re stuck with what you buy from them.

Day trip or overnight?

To add to what others have said, toilet paper.

No one follows that rule if its done discretely. Just don’t do it in front of a conductor which is very easy to do. And don’t act up.

I just popped in to applaud andy w/a few i’s for traveling by train. I’m jealous - I often drove down to our favorite funky FLA shack/“motel” on the beach (24 hrs from Chicago), just because I find air travel so demeaning and claustrophobic. So 15 hrs on a train sounds idyllic!

Last long train trip (to Seattle) we just pretended we were going on a picnic. Baguette with cheese and Italian meats for first day, peanut butter and jelly for second. Lots and lots of fruit and carrots and trail mix.

Overnight, and that’s a good idea. Thanks for everyone’s ideas so far!

Get yourself a soft-sided cooler, freeze some juice on plastic bags to act as Blu-packs, and go all Calvin Trillin:
In his food writing, Trillin exhibits the kind of obsessive behaviour any food lover will recognise, but to a much higher power. In one story he buys and eats a plane picnic of caviar, stuffed cold breast of veal, paté, and praline cheesecake (among other dishes) washed down with Puligny-Montrachet (move over, M&S train picnics).

Hit your favorite places for cold food, package them in plastic bags, slip in a couple of small bottles of wine and some plastic wineglasses and enjoy the trip!

Fig Newtons.

Beer and Jerky. Good to bring pretty much anywhere, actually.

(My bolding) – an oft-practised, fine old stratagem. Post brought to mind the memoirs of a – recently deceased – British railway enthusiast, who as a young teenager travelled from Paris to Switzerland by a crowded and uncomfortable overnight train in 1947; when the organisation of things in France, including on the railways, was often still in something of a mess in the aftermath of World War II’s havoc. He writes: “One crafty Frenchman…had ensured his private occupation of an entire second-class compartment by munching his way through a pile of raw onions on the seat beside him, smiling sharkily and breathing heavily at any entrant.”

Geez, I’d just shell out for the dining car.