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Home > Archives > Prototype Viewliner Sleeping car during assembly, 1986.

Prototype Viewliner Sleeping car during assembly, 1986.

Black and white photograph taken in April 1986 showing prototype Viewliner Sleeping car No. 2300 being assembled at the Amtrak Beech Grove, Ind. maintenance facility.

Prototype Viewliner Sleeping car during assembly, 1986.

In 1982, Amtrak management laid the foundation for the Viewliner development program with the purpose of creating a new single-level, long-distance car to replace those in the Heritage fleet. An interdepartmental task force was put together to develop a “design concept that could be used for various car types [including] coaches, sleepers, diners, lounges, baggage cars and bag dormitory cars.”

Once Amtrak completed work on the drawings and specifications, it solicited quotes from manufacturers to build three prototype units: two Sleeping cars and one Dining car. The Budd Company, which had produced the popular Amfleet cars in the mid-1970s, won the contract to manufacture the car shells, while Fiber Source of Salt Lake City made the interior modules. Amtrak installed system components from various companies in order to test designs and parts.

Completed shells were sent to the Beech Grove, Ind. shops between September 1985 and early 1986 where Amtrak employees installed the interior modules, wiring and car systems.

Photographer: William Kratville (American, 1929-2011) for Amtrak.

From the Blair Slaughter Collection.