• Virginia Tolles

Update on Rail Cars

Siemens Venture Trainset - California Department of Transportation - public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Word came down yesterday that Amtrak has chosen Siemens to build its new intercity passenger rail cars. This is good news. Siemens makes good products.

Already, the California-based company has been building replacements for Amtrak's older locomotives. Now, they will work to replace Amtrak's desperately aged Amfleet I coaches. The picture shows a Siemens passenger railcar that was manufactured for Amtrak / CalTran's San Joaquin rail line.

These will be the first intercity coaches to be acquired by Amtrak since the purchase of Budd Amfleet I and II coaches in the 1970s and 1980s. Now, approaching fifty years in age, the Amfleet Is have served well, but we all get old, as those venerable coaches have done. They may be leaving, but they will not be forgotten.

Amfleet I - Mark Levisay - creativecommons 2-0 via Wikimedia Commons

QUESTION. What's the easiest way to distinguish between Amfleet I and Amfleet II coaches?

ANSWER. Amfleet I coaches have doors at both ends of the cars, as seen in the picture, above, while Amfleet II coaches have doors at only one end of the cars.

QUESTION. What is the easiest way to distinguish Budd coaches from other manufacturers' coaches?

ANSWER. Budd's coaches have stainless steel scallops not only on the sides, but also on the roof.

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