Amfleet is a series of intercity railroad passenger cars built for the operator Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 by the manufacturer Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

 in two series during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Today, Amfleet cars are used extensively throughout the Amtrak system outside the western United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Because of their distinctive rounded appearance, in contrast to the rectangular appearance of the Heritage Fleet
Heritage Fleet
Heritage Fleet was a program started by Amtrak in 1977 to convert its older, mainly streamlined, cars from steam heating to head end power. Head end power conversions were performed at Amtrak's heavy repair center in Beech Grove, Indiana, outside of Indianapolis...

 and Horizon Fleet cars, they are known among railfans as "Amcans" or "Amtubes".


The cars were built in two series for Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 by the Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

  • Amfleet I, consisting of 406 coaches and 86 cafes, was ordered on October 12, 1973 and delivered August 5, 1975 through 1978.
  • Amfleet II, consisting of 125 coaches and 25 lounges, was delivered in 1981–83.

The Amfleet cars were intended to replace many of the variety of aging, sometimes incompatible, streamlined passenger cars inherited from Amtrak's predecessor railroads. The Amfleet II cars were intended to replace rolling stock on Amtrak long-distance trains, featuring larger windows, more legroom, and a door at only one end of the car.

Amfleet cars were constructed in varying layouts known as the Amcoach, the Amcafe, the Amdinette, the Amlounge and the Amclub. The Amcafe cars had 53 Coach seats with a snack bar in the middle of the car. The Amdinette had 23 coach seats, a snack bar in the middle, and 8 tables, seating 32 passengers, at the other end of the car. The Amclub cars had either 6 tables or 23 coach seats, a snack bar in the middle, and 18 Club seats. The Club seats were more spacious and usually required an upgrade to Business Class or other deluxe service. Some cars also were in a full club layout, with Business Class seats at both ends.

Originally, there were two main Amcoach I variations, 84 seat cars for use on shorter routes, and 60 seat cars for use on longer (generally overnight) routes. The 60 seat cars have all since been converted either to coaches or business class cars, having been displaced from longer routes by the Amfleet II and Superliner Coaches.

The cars are largely based upon the 1969 Metroliner
Budd Metroliner
The Budd Metroliner car was an electric multiple unit train designed for first-class, high-speed service on the Pennsylvania Railroad's route between New York City and Washington, DC....

 design. Amfleet cars are designed to operate at speeds up to 125 mph (201 km/h).


Because Amfleet cars can fit through the tunnels and under catenary of the northeastern United States, Amtrak uses them heavily in that area.

Amfleet rolling stock mostly disappeared from service in California when the San Joaquins
San Joaquins
The San Joaquin is a passenger train operated by Amtrak as part of the Amtrak California network in California's Central Valley. Twelve trains a day run between its southern terminus at Bakersfield and Stockton, where the route splits to Oakland or Sacramento...

switched to the Horizon Fleet in the 1990s and then to "California Cars" later in the decade. The San Diegan
San Diegan
The San Diegan was one of the named passenger trains of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, and a "workhorse" of the railroad. Its 126-mile route ran from Los Angeles, California south to San Diego. It was assigned train Nos. 70–79 The San Diegan was one of the named passenger trains of the...

also stopped using the Amfleet when their Pacific Surfliner
Pacific Surfliner
The Pacific Surfliner is a Amtrak regional passenger train route serving communities on the coast of Southern California between San Diego and San Luis Obispo....

 cars were delivered (with the exception of a single trainset that runs during the Del Mar Racetrack
Del Mar Racetrack
Del Mar Racetrack is an American Thoroughbred horse racing track at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in the seaside city of Del Mar, California, 20 miles north of San Diego. Operated by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, it is known for the slogan: "Where The Turf Meets The Surf." It was built by a partnership...

 season in July and August, and during Thanksgiving week). The Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

 Cascades now use Talgo
Talgo is a Spanish manufacturer of railway vehicles. It is best known for a design of articulated railway passenger cars in which the wheels are mounted in pairs, but not joined by an axle, and being between rather than underneath the individual coaches...

 train sets instead of Amfleet.

Car types

Amtrak currently operates Amfleet I and Amfleet II cars. Amfleet I cars are now in several different configurations. Coaches are configured as either Regional Coachclass or Regional Business Class. Food Service Cars are either Club-Dinettes or Full-Dinettes. Amfleet 2 cars are either Coaches or Diner-Lites.

The Regional Coachclass seats 72 passengers per car, Regional Businessclass seats 62. Amfleet 2 coaches seat 59 passengers per car. North American standard (120 V, 60 Hz) electrical outlets are provided in most cars. Amfleet I cars are normally used on corridor trains, such as the Downeaster
The Downeaster is a 116-mile regional passenger train service managed by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority and operated by Amtrak, connecting North Station in Boston, Massachusetts, to Portland, Maine...

or Northeast Regional while Amfleet II cars are used in long-distance trains, such as the Cardinal or Silver Star
Silver Star (Amtrak)
The Silver Star is a 1522-mile passenger train route in the Silver Service brand operated by Amtrak, running from New York City south to Miami, Florida via the Northeast Corridor to Washington, DC, then via: Richmond, Virginia; Raleigh, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia;...

. A difference between the two cars is that Amfleet II's only have one vestibule (door to enter car from outside) per car, while I's have two.

The Club-Dinette cars have 6 tables at one end and a snack bar in the middle, followed by 18 business class seats. The Full-Dinette cars have tables on both sides of the snack bar and seat 56. Originally, the Amfleet II Lounge contained 17 Lounge Seats on one end, a snack bar in the middle, and 8 tables at the other end of the car. All Amlounge IIs have been converted into diner-lites with additional tables added where the lounge seats once were.

A equipment shortage in the late 1970s led Amtrak to convert two Amfleet coaches (#22900 and #22901) into sleepers
Sleeping car
The sleeping car or sleeper is a railway/railroad passenger car that can accommodate all its passengers in beds of one kind or another, primarily for the purpose of making nighttime travel more restful. The first such cars saw sporadic use on American railroads in the 1830s and could be configured...

. Two prototype Superliner
Superliner (railcar)
The Superliner is a double decker passenger car used by Amtrak on long haul trains that do not use the Northeast Corridor. The initial cars were built by Pullman-Standard in the late 1970s and a second order was built in the mid 1990s by Bombardier Transportation...

 roomette modules were installed, displacing twelve seats. The cars were used on the Washington
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio. Cincinnati is the county seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located to north of the Ohio River at the Ohio-Kentucky border, near Indiana. The population within city limits is 296,943 according to the 2010 census, making it Ohio's...

Shenandoah (Amtrak)
The Shenandoah was a daily passenger train operated by Amtrak between Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati, Ohio. The Shenandoah shared the former Baltimore & Ohio route with the Blue Ridge, which ran as far west as Martinsburg, West Virginia....

. Regular sleepers returned to the Shenandoah in 1979 and the two coaches were returned to a standard configuration. These conversions were termed "Ampad."

Paint schemes

The Amfleet I cars are the only Amtrak rolling stock to have carried all five normal paint schemes. These paint schemes are referred to as "Phases". Phase I-painted Amfleet cars had large red and blue stripes around the windows with thin white stripes on each end of the pattern, and featured the Amtrak "Pointless Arrow" on one end of the car.

Amtrak's Phase II paint scheme eliminated the arrow logo, allegedly due to the reference of "Pointless Arrow." The Amtrak logo and coach number were printed in white.

Phase III paint is still in service on some Amfleet cars. It also features stripes that border the windows, and had red, white, and blue stripes, in same-sized increments. The Phase III paint scheme marked a switch to black Amtrak logos and coach numbers.

Phase IV (aka "NortheastDirect") paint departed more noticeably from the previous designs. This scheme consists of a large blue stripe outlining the windows, and smaller red and white stripes above the blue stripe. On more recently painted cars, a red stripe runs along the bottom of the car.

For a short period of time in the early 2000s, some Amfleet cars were painted in the Phase V style, also known as the Acela Phase. The Acela paint scheme varied depending upon the type of car, with the different types having different colored "splotches" on them. The Coach class cars were decorated by a turquoise
Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium, with the chemical formula CuAl648·4. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gem and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue...

 window stripe and a darker-shaded turquoise splotch, and the Business class cars were decorated by a navy blue window stripe with a light-turquoise splotch. Cafe cars were decorated with light-turquoise splotches and navy blue window stripes, and instead of a window where the snack bar was, there was a splotch of spring green.

All active Amfleet cars are currently painted in the Phase IVb scheme.

Specifications and build

An Amfleet car is 12 feet 8 inches tall (relative to the railhead), 10 feet 6 inches wide, and 85 feet in length over the vestibule
Vestibule (architecture)
A vestibule is a lobby, entrance hall, or passage between the entrance and the interior of a building.The same term can apply to structures in modern or ancient roman architecture. In modern architecture vestibule typically refers to a small room or hall between an entrance and the interior of...

 diaphragm faceplates. The carbody itself is built up from spot-welded
Spot welding
Spot welding is a process in which contacting metal surfaces are joined by the heat obtained from resistance to electric current flow. Work-pieces are held together under pressure exerted by electrodes. Typically the sheets are in the thickness range...

 stainless steel
Stainless steel
In metallurgy, stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French "inoxydable", is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5 or 11% chromium content by mass....

 sections, resulting in an exceptionally strong structure that is resistant to corrosion. Due to the length of the car, a noticeable arch is built into the carbody to prevent sagging when carrying a full passenger load.

A cafe car weighs about 110,000 pounds, while a coach weighs approximately 116,000 pounds. Amfleet seats have swing-down tray-tables for at-seat food service, overhead and underseat luggage storage (similar to that on a commercial airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

), and all cars (including cafes) are equipped with at least one restroom. Electric heating and air conditioning
Air conditioning
An air conditioner is a home appliance, system, or mechanism designed to dehumidify and extract heat from an area. The cooling is done using a simple refrigeration cycle...

, operated by head-end power from the locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

, are used to maintain passenger comfort.

A feature inherited from older Budd-built cars is the use of dual disc brake
Disc brake
The disc brake or disk brake is a device for slowing or stopping the rotation of a wheel while it is in motion.A brake disc is usually made of cast iron, but may in some cases be made of composites such as reinforced carbon–carbon or ceramic matrix composites. This is connected to the wheel and/or...

s on each axle
An axle is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. On wheeled vehicles, the axle may be fixed to the wheels, rotating with them, or fixed to its surroundings, with the wheels rotating around the axle. In the former case, bearings or bushings are provided at the mounting points where the axle...

, with electronic anti-slide
Anti-lock braking system
An anti-lock braking system is a safety system that allows the wheels on a motor vehicle to continue interacting tractively with the road surface as directed by driver steering inputs while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up and therefore avoiding skidding.An ABS generally offers...

controls to prevent wheel lockup during full service or emergency brake applications. Although this braking system is more costly than the traditional wheel tread shoe braking design, experience has shown it to be a better-performing and lower maintenance alternative.

External links

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