Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Search the Archives
Browse the Archives

Route Name

Follow Amtrak Online
Home > Archives > Dining car, 1970s.

Dining car, 1970s.

Black and white photograph showing the interior of a dining car; dates to the early 1970s.

Dining car, 1970s.

Updating the existing fleet of passenger cars and locomotives was one of Amtrak’s biggest challenges as it assumed responsibility for America’s intercity passenger rail system. In preparation for the start of service in May 1971, Amtrak handpicked approximately 1,200 cars from a total pool of 3,000 held by the two dozen railroads that had been relieved of their passenger service obligations. Among the cars Amtrak purchased were 140 dining cars of differing configurations, including the one shown in this photograph.

Almost 90 percent of the cars chosen by Amtrak were either constructed of, or sheathed in, stainless steel, which meant lower maintenance costs. Not surprisingly, Amtrak gravitated towards newer cars such as those belonging to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and the Union Pacific. Mechanical and electrical overhauls were needed on roughly a third of the fleet, as were refurbishments to the interiors.

Photographer: Unknown for Amtrak. From the Amtrak Corporate Collection.