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In connection with the start of Amtrak service in May 1971, the company handpicked approximately 1,200 cars from a total pool of 3,000 held by the two dozen predecessor railroads that had handed over their passenger service obligations to Amtrak.

Many of these inherited cars wore various paint schemes, which is why these early years are sometimes referred to as Amtrak's "Rainbow Era." A lot of effort was put into modernizing the cars, as seen in this 1973 image of a refurbished dome-pub car, which had originally been built in 1947 by the Budd Company as an observation lounge for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad’s Twin Cities Zephyr (Chicago-Minneapolis).

The Metroliners were used as a prototype due to their popularity among travelers on the high-speed Metroliner service between Washington, D. Starting in late 1973, Amtrak ordered the first of what was ultimately 492 Amfleet cars, touting their “Floor tracks permitting variable seat spacing and other configuration changes [that] will allow us to maximize revenue as well as to provide varying interior arrangements.” The Amfleet featured five-car configurations, two of which were coaches: an 84-seat version for use on short-distance corridor services and a 60-seat version used on long-distance routes.

Shown here is a view into an Amclub, which had two-by-two coach seating on one end, a standard food service unit in the center and two-by-one club car seating on the other end.

The Amfleet cars, which first entered service in 1975, are still used across the national system, especially on trains east of the Mississippi River. Most likely produced for promotional purposes, this photograph shows a passenger service representative and engineer in new uniforms created by fashion designer Bill Atkinson. DOT in the late 1960s as part of a program to explore the future of high-speed rail service. New York Penn Station occupies two full city blocks in West Midtown and is served by Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and Long Island Railroad trains.

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.

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.