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Home > Archives > Upper level of a Superliner I coach, 1980s.

Upper level of a Superliner I coach, 1980s.

Color photograph showing the upper level of a Superliner I coach; probably dates to the 1980s.

Upper level of a Superliner I coach, 1980s.

In 1974, Pullman Standard won the contract that, as amended, called for production of 284 new bi-level cars. Manufactured at a plant in Hammond, Ind., the order included 102 coaches, 48 coach-baggage cars, 25 café/lounge cars, 70 sleepers and 39 diners.

Amtrak accepted the first Superliner in October 1978, and it was used for the training of on-board service and maintenance crews. Built to be pulled at speeds up to 100 mph, the cars measure 85 feet long (to the ends of the couplers), approximately 10 feet wide and 16 feet high. A reporter for Amtrak NEWS described the cars’ “subdued” color scheme of browns, beiges and greys, noting that “seat upholstery is inspired by designs of the Southwestern Indians.” Interiors were carpeted on both floors and side walls to dampen sound and provide a quiet atmosphere. The final car in the Superliner I order arrived in 1981—representing a six year, $313 million capital investment on the part of the company.

Compare this image to one of an unfinished coach shell.

Photographer unknown for Amtrak.

From the Blair Slaughter collection.