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Home > Archives > Loading cars on the Auto Train.

Loading cars on the Auto Train.

Color photograph depicting automobiles being loaded onto car carriers for the Auto Train (Lorton, Va.- Sanford, Fla.); photo dates to the 1980s.

Loading cars on the <i>Auto Train</i>.

In October 1983, Amtrak launched the Auto Train, modeled after the popular Auto-Train service run by the Auto-Train Corporation from 1971 to 1981.

Once at the station, passengers drive through a vehicle gate, receive a claim-check number which is also affixed to their vehicles, and then proceed to the loading area. Informational brochures given to passengers have a special section inside the cover with space to write down one’s car loading number and seat number. Travelers continue on foot into the station with their overnight luggage while the vehicles are video-documented and driven into the bi-level auto-rack rail cars, which are split up onto several parallel tracks. After loading, the rail cars and the passenger cars are made up into a single train—measuring approximately ¾ of a mile long—considered the longest passenger train in the world.