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Here, in spring 1973, members of the Amtrak Design Group – tasked with revitalizing equipment and facilities – examine manufacturers’ prototypes of coach seats recently ordered for many Amtrak routes.
The textile pattern on the seat appears quite similar to what was ultimately chosen for the new Amfleet cars.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, as part of the Capstone Program to support the launch of Acela Regional service (later rebranded Northeast Regional), many of the Amfleet cars were refurbished at Amtrak’s Bear Shops in Delaware.
Electrical and mechanical systems were overhauled; wheels and running gear renewed; and luggage areas, flooring, walls, lighting and seats upgraded.
Early advertisements touted the cars’ “dual temperature control system ... and wider, more comfortable reclining seats to relax in.” Drop-down tray tables allowed passengers to “...
eat, drink or even get some work done, right at your seat.” Seats were covered in a multi-hued, floral-inspired pattern incorporating pink, red and purple.
All-reserved Club car service – known as Turboclub - featured spacious two-by-one seating, large windows, luxurious velour upholstery and a fold-down table and reading lamp at each seat. The streamlined E8s were originally manufactured by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division between 19.
They are similar in exterior appearance to their Amfleet I predecessors, but include only one vestibule and the coaches were modified on the interior for a more spacious layout.
As noted in Amtrak’s employee magazine, a “warm but vibrant blend of red, violet and purple sets the basic mood for friendly mingling.” While refurbishing older equipment, Amtrak also began planning for the purchase of brand new stainless-steel single-level and bi-level cars.
The new single-level cars, later known as Amfleet, were based on the design of the Metroliner cars shown here.
The club car section, also known as Amclub, was staffed by an attendant who provided at-seat food and beverage service.
The other food service cars had coach seating at one end and either tables (Amdinette) or additional coach seating (Amcafe) at the other end.
This eye-catching striped material incorporating red, orange, blue and white was used in the new cars and later became standard for Amfleet.