Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Search the Archives
Browse the Archives

Route Name

Follow Amtrak Online
Home > Archives > TurboTrain on nationwide tour, 1971.

TurboTrain on nationwide tour, 1971.

Black and white photograph showing the TurboTrain during its national tour; image dates to 1971.

TurboTrain on nationwide tour, 1971.

The TurboTrain was an articulated, lightweight trainset with gas-turbine propulsion. Funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of a program to explore the future of high-speed rail service in the 1960s, the TurboTrains were designed by United Aircraft and built by Pullman-Standard. They entered service in 1969 for Penn Central and were later operated by newly formed Amtrak where they were primarily used between New York and Boston until their retirement in 1976.

The two trainsets built for service on the Northeast Corridor were made up of two power dome cars and an intermediate coach (additional cars were later added) that together accommodated 144 customers. The bi-level power dome cars housed six turbines and seating on both levels. From the seating area in the dome, passengers could directly view the engineer and the controls, allowing an unparalleled look at train operations.

Amtrak took the TurboTrain on a national tour in 1971 to show off the new high-speed technology. Early the next year, Amtrak assigned one trainset to the Parkersburg, W.Va. - Washington experimental route, which it promptly renamed the Potomac Turbo.

Photographer: Unknown; Courtesy of Kalmbach Publishing Co.