Amtrak Superliner Manual

Amtrak’s Superliners were more reliable than the worn-out long-distance cars Amtrak inherited from the private railroads, but that’s about all the good I can say about them. Amtrak selected the wrong builder–Pullman instead of Budd–which delivered the cars late and overweight. The coaches were far less comfortable than the Santa Fe Hi-Level coaches they were patterned after, and the sleeping cars were a dim reflection of the Hi-Level sleepers that Budd had originally proposed to build in the 1950s.

Click image to download a 3.9-MB PDF of this brochure.

Placed in every room in the Superliner sleeping cars, this manual described the four different types of rooms, but the “operating instructions” focused mainly on the economy bedrooms. Though Amtrak now calls these roomettes, they are more like sections with sliding doors than roomettes, as they have two bunks and no toilet or sink. The deluxe bedroom is more like the double bedrooms of old, and are the only rooms with their own enclosed toilets and, in later versions, showers. The family and special bedrooms extend the full width of the cars, allowing passengers to see out the windows on both sides of the train.

Superliner sleeping cars have twice as many beds as typical single-level sleepers, so the attendants must have been annoyed that they were expected to do twice as much work. These operating instructions indicate that Amtrak originally expected purchasers of the economy rooms to make up their own beds at night, but that apparently didn’t work out, as attendants make up beds in the economy rooms as well as the more expensive rooms. This effectively renders the instructions redundant.

The manual is undated, but would have been originally issued in 1979 when the first Superliners were put into service.


Amtrak Superliner Manual — 1 Comment

  1. Compared to the old P-S cars built post WW II, the ride quality of the Superliners isn’t that great. Not sure if it’s the higher center of gravity, loss of the old timers’ car-building skills, or track maintained to freight standards only, or a combination of all three.

Leave a Reply