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Home > Archives > Working on the underside of a Superliner, 1977.

Working on the underside of a Superliner, 1977.

Black and white photograph from the February 15, 1977 issue of Amtrak NEWS showing a welder working on the underside of a bi-level Superliner car.

Working on the underside of a Superliner, 1977.

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.

Once the first car body was completed, Pullman Standard undertook a variety of tests to confirm it was consistent with specifications. Testing focused on collision post strength to evaluate the strength of car ends; compression resistance in the event of an accident; water-tightness to guarantee no moisture entered through joints; and evaluations of trucks, brakes and car clearance. Luckily, the first car passed its tests without the need for significant design revisions.

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. The final car in the Superliner I order arrived in 1981—representing a six year, $313 million capital investment on Amtrak's part.